Did this 1975 anime inspire Disney's Little Mermaid?


the sad detail from the original tale whereby the mermaid consents to experiencing constant excruciating, knife-like pain from her new human legs and feet.


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The mermaid keeping and swooning over the prince’s statue is also in the original story (as well as collecting articles from ship wreckage).

The thing I miss most from the original story that was completely altered in the Disney version is that there are no true antagonist in the original. The human girl who ends up with the prince is not an evil ‘other woman’ figure; she mourns the death of the mermaid along with the prince. Even the sea witch doesn’t have some grand, evil agenda, she merely gives the mermaid what she demands for a price that the mermaid accepts.


In a way, I agree with you - stories with no clear villain are interesting and in a way more relateable.

On the other hand, the villain they gave us was one of the more memorable ones. :smile:


Oh, olde tyme fairy tales, your moralizing on how people should not disobey authority is so reassuringly anvilicious!

The interesting thing about this for me is that the reason this was an anime before it was a Disney was probably because of the popularity of Dutch fairy tales in Japan after the Tokugawa era. It’s interesting to think that we have a period of draconian foreign policy to thank for such an American cultural product. But history is like that I suppose!

I hate to say it, but I find Disney’s artwork a good deal more charming.

That can’t be argued: Ursula rocks. And I do enjoy the Disney version quite a bit. I just find interesting that they feel it’s necessary to add an archvillain to nearly every story. Beauty and the Beast is another one that didn’t originally feature a nemesis (unless one counts Beast himself at the beginning of the story as the villain). Then again, villains are fun.

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I guess it makes it easier to tell a story with a nice action-filled dramatic arc to drag the kids along?


“…from the heroine’s fish companion…”

Well, technically dolphins are mammals, not fish. But your point is still valid, and Flounder does have very rounded, dolphinesque features. :slight_smile:

I grew up with this Reader’s Digest version, also from 1975. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxbqGrHlazw
The animation isn’t nearly as cute but at least it doesn’t have the terrible voice acting of the 70s. Instead the whole thing is narrated by Richard Chamberlain. It is simple, stark, and hauntingly beautiful. This and an animated version of Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince, perhaps also by Readers Digest, were my two favorites. They were on TV once a year. Both stories about self sacrifice. Both so sad and beautiful.
(The Happy Prince: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIwupcYwimY )

The original story tale, by Hans Christian Andersen is Danish, not Dutch. It was published in the 1800s (late Tokugawa, and not likely known in Japan during that time). I hate that the Disneyfied “Good vs Evil, all ends happily for the Good” has so completely replaced the original tale of discovery, love, and self-sacrifice. (The original is also nothing about authority)

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Character design is very similar to Kaitei Shōnen Marin, specially Neptina the mermaid and Splasher, the dolphin.


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Gaston certainly was.

That’s what I’m saying: There is no Gaston in the original tale; no mob with pitchforks either.

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