Lots of Air: Our Review of ‘Bubble’ (2022) on Netflix

Posted in What's Streaming? by - April 24, 2022
Lots of Air: Our Review of ‘Bubble’ (2022) on Netflix

Bubble, which we shouldn’t confuse with the other Netflix release The Bubble. It reimagines Tokyo in a few years when the city’s only residents are teenage boys, which already makes this movie a dystopia, sorry not sorry. It takes a long time for the movie to finally explain why Tokyo is in ruins. But it eventually explains that a large bubble covers the city, making the sea level there rise higher than normal. This becomes a haven for said teenage boys who have parkour teams and challenge each other in tournaments. Hibiki (Jun Shison’s voice) is one of those teens who practice alone instead of with his team, and during one of those solo sessions, he almost dies. A girl rescues him, and we all know what happens when a boy meets a girl in an anime.

This anime movie, to its credit, has competent design and has an effective way of expressing light, which is useful in depicting Hibiki’s practising sessions throughout Tokyo. What changes between the first twenty minutes and the next is that he spends those sessions with his savior Uta (Rina). She picks up parkour in seconds. Hibiki’s team is The Blue Blazers (Mamoru Miyano, Sayaka Senbongi, Yuki Kaji). They’re noticing that they’re becoming inseparable. The visual competence also comes across in designing and animating the other members of the Blue Blazers. They run the gamut from pre-teen to what I think are two adults in their thirties. All of them do useful things to do in the ship where they live and practice.

Another element that’s wroth crediting here are the voice actors behind the characters. I watched Bubble in full with the English dub – a crime, yes – and parts of it in Japanese. The latter makes more sense with the characters’ ages and cultures, duh. And this is where the positive criticism stops because the actors can only do so much with a terrible script. The movie has two female characters, one of them being Uta and the other being Makoto (Alice Hirose), a scientist. Both talk with the Asian girly voice. As an Asian who have family members who sometimes talk like this, the key to that voice is that you use it while saying something shady. I know it’s a genre trope but it’s sad to see examples of the genre that make female characters say things of little substance.

Tokyo exists as a backdrop for these two teen lovers, and I try to get the smallest amounts of spoilers possible, but Bubble reveals that their love goes deeper through flashbacks. That’s not enough flesh for me. The movie also incorporates those flashbacks in an action-y third act that’s too sloppy and confusing. Both make it difficult to care for two characters who apparently lover each other even if they met just days ago. Again, it’s understandable that that’s a trope that comes with the genre but why rely on those? This makes me almost take back all the nice things I wrote about Netflix. A subplot involving a third female character (Marina Inoue) doesn’t pan out. Lastly, the music is forgettable but passable.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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