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Mermaid Arc Emergence

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Ariel's splashing to the surface with style.

A character who was underwater (usually a woman with long hair) emerging in a massive splash, bending their spine and throwing their head back in a way that makes all to almost all of their hair flip backward and fling some water droplets from the splash over themselves in an arc, occasionally having their eyes shut and mouth hanging open.

While some examples existed before, Princess Ariel from The Little Mermaid is without a doubt THE Trope Codifier. The visual of Ariel striking this pose became one of Ariel's most famous moments and basically guaranteed that it would forever be associated with mermaids. Ironically, when Ariel performed this hair flip/splash combination she wasn't a mermaid. It was when Ariel was turned human for the first time and emerged from the ocean after almost drowning. This is why characters having their eyes shut and mouth hanging open like they're struggling to breathe is often part of this pose, even if it doesn't make much sense like when it's a creature who can breathe air AND water.

This is not an uncommon pose to see in scenarios involving water for a lot of reasons.

This trope can be subject to Rule of Cool (and/or Rule of Sexy if it's being used for Fanservice) at times, due to how hard it would be to have most of your body rise above deep water like this.

In the instances where this is played for Fanservice, this counts as a Sub-Trope of Sexy Surfacing Shot for when a character who was subermged underwater gets out of the water in a way that is meant to draw the audience and/or other InUniverse character's attention to their physical attractiveness.

See also Everything's Better with Sparkles, Hair Flip, Sexy Surfacing Shot and Shaking Her Hair Loose.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Great Battle of the Mermaid King have the new character, Princess Sophia of Aquadia, an alien mermaid who's stranded on earth. While bunking at Shizuka's place, she emerges from the water in Shizuka's bathtub while flipping her hair out, splashing water in an arc.
  • Go! Princess Pretty Cure: In the transformation sequence of Cure Mermaid, she bends backward and pulls her now longer hair out of a blob of water, splashing it away. It's also worth noting that this Power Makes Your Hair Grow moment (which the series usually shows from the front, the back, or all-around) is shown from the side.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion: In 3.0+1.0, Mari does this at the end when she emerges from the water after Shinji resets reality.
  • Sailor Moon Crystal: The first time we see Michiru she is swimming in her apartment and climbs out of the pool while throwing her head back in this fashion.

    Comic Books 
  • This is a pretty common pose for Aspen Matthews to strike in Fathom. Due to her Making a Splash powers, it is likely that she is manipulating water around her to make these poses look as dynamic as they are.
  • In Genął: Rainmaker does this when surfacing out of the water while Skinny Dipping in front of her teammates.
  • Starfire once struck this pose in Red Hood and the Outlaws . Her red hair combined with her purple outfit actually makes her bear something of a resemblance to Ariel herself while she's doing it.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Little Mermaid:
    • The most famous example of all occurs in The Little Mermaid, where a human Ariel emerges from the sea and desperately gasps for air after almost drowning in Ursula's lair. Alongside Ariel as a mermaid singing "Part of Your World" on a rock with waves crashing behind her, this is arguably Princess Ariel's most iconic moment.
    • The sequel shows Ariel's daughter, Melody, strike a similar pose at the beginning of the movie while she's swimming in the ocean.
  • After Mulan jumps into the lake, she resurfaces throws her hair in an arc, droplets flying everywhere. Though unlike many cases of the trope, her hair is realistically VERY messy after she does this, and she's just striking this pose for fun, not any "dramatic" reason.
  • In Ralph Breaks the Internet as a callback to this famous moment, Ariel (once again as a human, not a mermaid) happily performs her signature hair flip and gasp for breath near the end of the film. This time it's done as a head-to-toe full-body shot of Ariel with a brief slowdown effect so you can really take it in. Notably, Ariel making the biggest splash possible and getting water everywhere is important to the context of the scene as she needs to make sure the top of Moana's water pillar is a certain shape so Elsa can freeze it to create an ice slide that helps save Ralph.
  • Wonder Woman (2009): After Deimos throws Diana into a fountain, she's seen throwing her hair in a backward arc before doing an Action Dress Rip revealing her Wonder Woman uniform under her dress.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • Dave the Diver: Duff is the Gadgeteer Genius who can build and upgrade weapons, and one Forging Scene shows him jumping in a pool to test the gun he has just enhanced. He emerges triumphantly with this move. Of course, he has comically little similarity with a graceful mermaid: Duff is a fat, sweaty, conventionally unattractive Otaku.

  • In El Goonish Shive, Nanase strikes this pose in the background while jumping out of the water in a mermaid form.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in Big City Greens episode "Fill Bill". Bill, a hefty older man, learns a lesson about not needing to change who he is to fit in, has his merman tail turn back into legs, then swims to the surface and throws his head back in a direct Shout-Out to the transformation scene from The Little Mermaid. He then wakes up in a diner and gags on a mouthful of drool, in a further parody of a Catapult Nightmare (which the dream isn't, but it's there).
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Ocean Commotion", while the family is at the beach, Dee Dee swims in the ocean, wearing a bathing suit that looks like a mermaid tail. At one point, she swims to the surface and throws her head back as a direct Shout-Out to The Little Mermaid.
    Dexter: [unimpressed] Seen it.
  • Justice League Unlimited: In "Destroyer", when the Watchtower sends out an "Omega-level alert" to the entire League and begins teleporting them, Fire is seen emerging from a pool in a bikini and throwing her long green hair in a backward arc before she "flames on" and is teleported away.
  • In The Little Mermaid, as a throwback to the movie, Ariel does this towards the end of "T'ank You for That Ariel". Notably, this is only time Ariel strikes this pose as a mermaid instead of a human.
  • A comedic example occurs in The Fairly OddParents! episode "Just Desserts!", where Mr Bickles does this after high diving into a swimming pool.
  • In Samurai Jack, Ashi does this while trying to scrape off the ash covering her body in a pool of water.
  • Storm Hawks: In "Dark Waters", when Aerrow escapes from underwater riding on a creature's back, they rise into the sky dramatically; at the peak, the crouching Aerrow raises his head to take in a gasp of air, his hair flipping back.


Video Example(s):


Emerging From a Lake

Zoe emerges out of a lake, throwing her hair in a backward arc and splashing water all around her.

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Main / MermaidArcEmergence

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