My name is Andres. Leo-Virgo. I am an Art Education major at San Jose State University. I like art, illustration, black & white photography, children's classics, and guys. Here are some images and things I find pleasing.
Reblogged from mermaids-and-anchors
The Little Mermaid is a tale by author Hans Christian Andersen about a young mermaid who gives up her life in the sea to gain a human soul and the love of a human prince. Over the years it has been adapted many times in various forms of media. The most well-known adaption was a 1989 film by Disney. The film was a very loose adaption, and featured a much happier ending than the original story. However, before the Disney’s version, another animation studio, Toei Animation in Japan had adapted the story. Twice.
The first adaption was the 1970 TV series entitled Mahou no Mako-chan (The Magic of Mako) and ran for 48 episodes. It was the third “majokko” (witch or as it’s commonly called magical girl) series by Toei Animation. Mako is a 15 year old mermaid who is fascinated by the human world. One night she sneaks up to the surface, and sees a handsome man on a ship. A tsunami hits, and the ship goes down. Mako rescues the young man and falls in love. Determined to be with him, she begs the old crone of the sea for help and becomes human. She is taken in by an old man in Yokohama, where she searches for her beloved Akira. Her parents keep in touch with her, and give her a magical pendant called “The Life of a Mermaid”. It’s magic powers are activated when pointed to the sunlight or moonlight. While unreleased in America, the series was broadcast in various Spanish speaking counties, Poland, France, and Italy.
The second adaption came a few years later in 1975. It a film adaption called Andersen Douwa Ningyo Hime (Andersen’s Fable The Princess Mermaid - or simply Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid). The main attraction of the summer Toei Manga Matsuri (Toei Animation Festival) which was a much closer adaption than Mako-chan. The story followed the Andersen fable fairly closely, with a few changes and additions. The subplot of the mermaid desiring a soul is omitted, and various characters were added in - such as Marina’s talking dolphin sidekick Fritz. The film was dubbed in various countries, including America. The English dub was completely uncensored, although credits were changed and some dialogue (nothing major) was worked around. The biggest change was making the narrator male (the original narrator was the same actress who voiced Marina) and giving him additional dialogue. The English actress for Marina, Kirsten Bishopric ended up voicing major villains in Sailor Moon - Zoisite, Emerald, Kaori Night and Lady Badiyanu.
I wanted to discuss some differences between these three adaptions, and also how Disney Studios might’ve been influenced by Toei Animation’s work. In the original story, a mermaid can visit the surface when she turns 15. The narration in the first episode of Mako-chan makes reference to this. The narrator explains once upon a time, a young mermaid could visit the surface when she came of age. Now it is completely forbidden. No reason is given, other than “for the sake of peace”. Mako’s father is very strict about this, and punishes his daughter when she even entertains the idea of going. The 1975 film shares the same idea as the original fable. When a mermaid “comes of age” she is given a pearl hairpin, which acts as her passport to the surface. In the original fable, the little mermaid waits for permission to visit the surface. This is not the case for the other mermaids. Mako, Marina, and Ariel all sneak to the surface and are later scolded for it.
I should bring up another major character - the sea king. I guess he isn’t a major character in the original story or the 1975 film. But he is a pretty big deal in the other two adaptions. Mako’s father is The Dragon King (Ryuu-Ou). Clearly this is a reference to Chinese mythology, in which the Dragon King is said to be the ruler of the sea. The Dragon King without a doubt, is very much like King Triton. Disney studios had to have been inspired by him. He absolutely hates humans, and finds the human world disgusting. During the series he visits Mako on the surface, in the disguise of a business man. He typically shows up to get her our of trouble or lend her some advice. He had a very difficult time giving up Mako. Ultimately at the end of the series he accepts she no longer belongs to the ocean.
I should note The Dragon King has a wife. She doesn’t appear much in the series and seems to be forgotten by the last episode. She accepts Mako has grown, and lets her go. She is the one who gives Mako her magical pendant. Both Marina and Ariel lost their mothers earlier on in life. Although the sea king is a widower, his mother is by his side. The “grandmother” is not present in Disney’s film. Mako does not have a grandmother, but the roles of “grandmother” and “sea witch” are combined to create the character Obaba (old woman/hag/crone). Mako goes to Obaba to become human. Obaba becomes furious and punishes Mako saying it’s against the rules. She gives into Mako’s demands, when she attempts suicide. Obaba appears with The Dragon King through out the series checking on Mako and guiding her. She’s the one who forces him to accept Mako’s humanity.
The prince differs slightly in each version. Akira Shigeno fills the role of the prince in Toei’s TV series. He is rescued by Mako in the first episode when a cruise ship goes under. Mako searches for Akira through out the series, and bumps into him rarely. Unfortunately, he is always working different jobs so he’s never in the same place. He believes someone - possibly a mermaid saved him that faithful day, and wants to meet her. Should I mention Akira’s color scheme is very much like Eric’s?
In the 1975 film, the prince belongs to the Fjord Kingdom. Much like the original story, he thinks a girl with black hair saved him during that storm. She’s the one he wishes to marry. He proposes to Marina since he has grown an affection for her, and because he cannot find this ‘girl with black hair’ (*ahem*). He does meet the girl he believes saved him, who turned out to be a princess and marries her.
There are a few other coincidental little things that appear both Toei’s film and Disney’s film but not in the original story. There’s an adorable scene where Ariel mistakes a smoking pipe for a flute. While visiting the ruins of a sunken ship, Marina finds a pipe and also mistakes it for a flute. The character Carlotta is a comical heavyset maid that works at Prince Eric’s palace. The Toei film also has a comical heavyset maid! Both are very similar in both personality and appearance. Without a doubt Disney took a note from Toei here.
Both Marina and Ariel have ‘talking animal sidekicks’. In this case, Toei was inspired by Disney. Clearly they were taking a note from Disney’s earlier films like Cinderella, which feature talking animals that assisted the title character. Marina’s best friend is a mischievous dolphin named Fritz. Ariel has her sometimes cowardly fish friend Flounder. Personality-wise both characters are completely different. Fritz doesn’t scare too easily, and boldly kills a giant clam that tries to devour Marina. He’s also very against Marina seeing the sea witch and becoming human. While Flounder and Sebastian are kind of like “oh well, she’s gonna do what she wants” - Fritz takes losing his best friend very hard. Which brings up a major thing point about the original fable, Mahou no Mako-chan, and the 1975. They’re not all that happy.
In the fable the little mermaid’s tongue is cut off, and she feels extreme pain whenever she walks. The prince sees her as more of a sibling than a lover. In the end he marries another instead. Mako-chan is less of a magical girl series than it is a human drama. Mako witnesses first hand how cruel and heartless the human world can be. In the second episode she is kidnapped by crooks, and is almost killed twice. Mako is dealing with death left and right, one of which is the suicide of her neglected classmate. She also faces strong issues like racism and domestic violence. In the last episode Mako’s true love and humanity are put to the test. While it’s never stated Marina feels extreme pain while walking, she has the entire kingdom against her. The prince has a cat that hates Marina, and the Queen does not want him marrying her. Like the original fable, the prince does marry another and Marina turns to sea foam. Unlike the original fable, the prince does realize Marina was the one who saved him after all. Out of these three adaptions, the Toei film is the only one that (mostly) follows the original fable’s ending.