Bubble (2022) -- Review
In the world of anime, there aren't many stories that define the genre and bring something new to the table. That rarely happens, but most of the time that it does happen, WIT Studio is at the front and center of that particular event. This is a studio filled with creative geniuses and artists that revolutionize the industry with every anime they create. They have been consistently doing so for years. Attack on Titan, Vinland Saga, Ousama Ranking, Spy X Family, and now Bubble. The consistently amazing studio is back with yet another fantastic anime. Bubble is the latest in a long line of incredible work done by WIT Studio, and it seems that this is the one anime where nothing is holding them back. They have the budget, the time, and the talent all under one roof.
Bubble, has a peculiar little story, the story of a young girl and a young boy in Tokyo where Gravity has become broken. The two are drawn to each other in this distorted reality, where Gravity breaking bubbles have rained down on planet earth and destroyed its gravitational field of the Earth. Tokyo is now cut off from the world and it has become a concrete jungle for young people who are looking to do parkour team battles and have the time of their lives on the destroyed skyscrapers and buildings.
While the world itself revolves around a larger ensemble with big parkour battles and large set pieces, the actual story is about two people. Hibiki is a hardcore runner always doing the most dangerous things with his abilities. However, one day he manages to push himself beyond the envelope and ends up falling into the gravity-bending sea. In his last moments, he is saved by a girl named Uta. The story then focuses on these two characters and their relationship, and it is genuinely phenomenal the way it occurs.
It’s not all perfect. The story starts a little lackluster and doesn’t provide enough information as to how this world functions. It’s a bit more abstract in most cases that would be fine, but here it just stagnates the story and slows down the whole process. Instead of providing you context as to what the characters are going through, you are sent in blind and have to unravel the story. It doesn’t work that way when the story doesn’t provide an ample amount of explanation as well.
The saving grace of this series is the characters, and they are written to absolute perfection. The main selling point of this anime is the relationship between Hibiki and Uta, which pushes the plot further, making us fall absolutely in love with them throughout the anime run time. The Makoto Shinkai-styled character's exploration is fantastically executed, each of them gets an ample amount of time to become the center of attention, then they are pushed into the core of the plot.
That’s the best thing about this anime, the characters have deep-rooted stories that are created to make them feel realistic and lovable. There’s a reason why so many veterans are working on this anime. There’s no character here that stagnates along with the start of the story, they remain consistently entertaining throughout the anime. The characters are the best thing about this series in particular.
It’s not just their stories that are great and fleshed out, but also their personalities as well. These characters have some of the best personalities in anime, they speak like regular people and they are full of bristling character details that make them unique. They will have random peculiarities to them, like Hibiki has a certain taste in music, whereas Uta has her special powers. There’s a consistent theme to all of these characters and they have the unique peculiarities that make them fundamentally different from one another.
Art & Animation:
Now the art style is also part of the things that make these characters so unique. The characters have their personalities written in their character design. It’s a fantastic choice to have this anime completely done by WIT Studio, a studio so good at its job that this anime is mesmerizing to look at. The characters all have distinct designs. Every character looks different from the another, and each one has their personality showcased in their clothing, hair, and overall design.
This year's fluidity of the movement in these characters is phenomenal. The vibrant and striking colors here push the envelope for what should be shown in a modernistic anime that truly tries something different. The animation smoothness is phenomenal here, the characters move in a life-like way. A ton of rotoscoping, hand-drawn animations, and CGI animation techniques make them feel well realized. This anime has some of the best eyes I’ve seen in recent memory, coming close to the eye close-ups in Attack on Titan Season 4.
Hiroyuki Sawano is back in action with a soundtrack that will leave you speechless. The man has a penchant for creating soundtracks that demolish the competition. He truly brings the heat here with some fantastic tunes that are done in genres that he hasn’t typed into before, but there are also familiar tunes such as the orchestral set pieces and larger medley.
While the soundtrack isn’t as amazing as his work in Attack on Titan, it does a lot to elevate the story of Bubble. If anything, this anime would have been quite lackluster if it wasn’t for the fantastic music coming in clutch during the slower moments that hinder its pacing.
In conclusion, Bubble is an anime that relies heavily on its phenomenal art style and its distinctive characters. The setting is unique and different the story itself focuses on the boy meets girl aspects way too much and starts quite slow. Instead of getting people interested and excited from the get-go, it focuses on slower character development, which works better in the long run. Though overall, it does get quite stagnating throughout some of the slower moments.
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