Adventures of the Little Mermaid
|Adventures of the Little Mermaid|
(Ningyo Hime Marina no Bouken)
|Genre||Fantasy, Adventure, Romance|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Takehiro Miyano|
|Studio||Fuji Eight Co., Ltd.|
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original run||February 2 – July 27, 1991|
Adventures of the Little Mermaid (人魚姫マリーナの冒険 Ningyo Hime Marina no Bouken?, The Adventures of Mermaid Princess Marina) is an animated series produced by Fuji Television in the early 1990s, based on upon the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Little Mermaid.
This 26-episode TV series was originally a Japanese/French co-production created by Jean Chalopin and directed by Takehiro Miyano. In Japan was the series was broadcast on Japan's Fuji TV network from February to July 1991. As in the 1975 feature-length movie version produced by Toei, Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid (with which this series may be confused), the mermaid protagonist was drawn as a blonde in this version and given the name Marina. It also added a new ingredient to the story: a magic potion given to the prince which he could use to breathe underwater and be with Marina.
Released in America for Saturday morning and weekday afternoon syndication by Saban Entertainment in the summer of 1991, the series wasn't nearly as popular as Disney's version. Only 26 episodes were produced which is a standard number for many of Saban's moderately successful series.
Marina is a mermaid who is in love with Prince Justin, a human prince from a kingdom on the shore. Marina saves Justin when he almost drowns after a chase from a giant Cyclops and a shipwreck attack from a three-headed sea serpent. She then makes a deal with Hedwig the sea witch to become human temporarily to try to win Justin's love. Justin and Marina become close but Justin thinks that Princess Cecily, a human princess, was the one who saved him from drowning and therefore he gets engaged to her. Justin eventually remembers that Marina was the one who saved his life but by then Marina becomes a mermaid again. The two continue to secretly meet and try to find a way to be together while dealing with Hedwig's plans to take over the kingdom, and Cecily's attempts to get Justin to marry her. Marina and Justin are aided by their underwater friends, Winnie the seahorse, Bobo the tropical fish, and Ridley the sea otter. They are also aided by the wizard Anselm and by Chauncey, Justin's page.
Characters and cast
- Marina (Sonja Ball): A mermaid with waist-length blond hair and green tail, who is the protagonist of the show. After she saves Prince Justin of Gandor she falls in love with him and wishes to become human.
- Prince Justin (Thor Bishopric): Prince of Gandor and Marina's boyfriend.
- Winnie (Anik Matern): Marina's seahorse friend. Unlike real world seahorses, she has the ability to scream at very high pitches which causes people to pass out, and to fly when she is out of water.
- Bobo (Carlyle Miller): Marina's tropical fish friend. He often spies on Hedwig and reports back to Marina and the rest of the gang.
- Ridley (Arthur Holden): Marina's sea otter friend and Anselm's companion. Unlike real world sea otters he seems to be able to breathe under water indefinitely.
- Anselm (Aron Tager): Prince Justin's tutor and secretly a sorcerer who was once in love with Hedwig in their youth.
- Chauncey (Gordon Masten): Prince Justin's short, goofy, and loyal page.
- Hedwig the Sea Witch (Sonja Ball): The sea witch who acts as the main antagonist of the show. She was once a sorceress who was in love with Anselm until her hunger for power forced him to banish her to the sea. She comes up with plot after plot to capture Marina and Justin so she can exchange them for the Amulet of Power which would make her the most powerful person on both land and water and therefore rule the world. Just like a mermaid she doesn't have legs but her tail resembles that of a snake rather than a fish's tail. The power that she uses most often is to release prehensile vines from her long fingernails.
- Dudley (Ian Finlay): Hedwig's dimwitted hammerhead shark lackey. His role is a lot more prominent than the other minions of Hedwig and he serves as the comic relief among the antagonists.
- Ray: Hedwig's manta ray. He acts as her means of transport and spy. He is heard speaking sometimes but other times he is shown to only be able to mumble (though Hedwig can understand him even then). It's not clear what his name is as Hedwig once calls him Ray and another time she calls him Manta.
- Hugo: Hedwig's giant octopus who acts as her strongman.
- Cecily: A mean aristocratic girl who likes Prince Justin even though he doesn't reciprocate her feelings. She was his promised bride before he met Marina.
- Prince Lothar (Richard Dumont): Prince of Brakston (Gandor's enemy country) and Justin's sworn enemy. He often cooperates with Hedwig.
Secondary and minor characters
- Queen Catherine (Kathleen Fee): Prince Justin's mother. She is very interested in her son's love life and tries to act as his matchmaker.
- Barnabas: Marina's younger brother. He is a very good inventor and his tail is blue.
- Coral: Marina's bossy older sister. Her tail is pink.
- King Nestor: King of the world's oceans. He is extremely strong as can be seen when he easily beats Hugo, a giant octopus, with his bare hands. His tail is dark blue.
- King Charles (A.J. Henderson): Prince Justin's father.
- Orcus: A whale who helps Marina and her friends a few times.
- Marina's grandmother: She lives in the same castle as Marina. She is seen briefly in two episodes and her voice can be heard in another one.
- Return to the Sea
- In the Wrong Hands
- Water Water Everywhere
- A Leopard and Her Spots
- Lothar's Revenge
- What's Cookin'?
- Be Careful What You Wish
- A Day In the Country
- Safe Deposit
- Sugar and Spice
- A Friend Indeed
- Song of the Sea Witch
- The Valley of the Volcanoes
- Quest for the Golden Tablet
- A Case of Mistaken Identity
- Beauty and the Beastly Prince
- A Man's Beast Friend Is His Dogfish
- A Mortal In Mermaid's Clothing
- Nature Hike
- My Bonnie Lies Under the Sea
- The Trojan Seahorse
- A Rose By Any Other Name
- X Marks the Spot
- One Man's Bread Is Another Man's Poison
- Hold That Thought
- Waste Not, Want Not
The series uses two pieces of theme music for the original Japanese version. The opening theme is called "Yumemiru Mermaid (夢みるMERMAID lit. Dreaming Mermaid)" and the ending theme is called "Pearl-no Kimochi (パールな気持ち lit. Pearl Feelings)", both by vocalist Yumi Hiroki, who also portrayed the voice of Winnie in Japanese version of the show. Rachelle Cano performs the theme music for the English dub version.
Music from the English version was used for the English dub of Digimon Adventure.