Bubble is a visually impressive film made by Studio Wit and available on Netflix, a relatively young studio that has been making waves in the anime scene thanks to the fluidity and quality of their productions. From a visual point of view, the film is just gorgeous to look at. Wit also manages to create one of the best anime settings in recent memories by making the city of Tokyo into a flooded wasteland.
Bubble does have a couple of issues when it comes to its narrative. Writer Gen Urobuchi seems to have problems writing under the constraints of a 2-hour movie and because of it many things happening in the film are not very clear at all. He is better when doing a long form narrative, like for example his famous Psycho-Pass show.
Still, the film offers enough clues as to speculate something that can fit the wholes in the narrative and makes some sense of it all. We which that Urobuchi could improve this side of writing, but here we are. The following paragraphs contain spoilers for the entire movie, so proceed under your own risk.
When the movie starts, we are presented with a fantastic setting where the city of Tokyo has become a flooded environment. It is here that we meet our main group of characters. The Blue Blaze are a faction inside Tokyo, and they compete with other factions for provisions. Parkour is the way these competitions take place, and our main characters are very good, but not that good.
Thankfully, the Blue Blaze have Hibiki, our main protagonist, in their team. Hibiki is perhaps the best parkour runner in all of Tokyo, and the Blue Blazers keep winning thanks to him and his ability to run. However, Hibiki doesn’t celebrate his wins, he keeps to himself, and it is very quiet. However, it isn’t shyness that keeps him from connecting to others.
In this apocalyptic version of Tokyo, the flooded streets are not the only danger. There are several gravitational anomalies throughout the city. Makoto, a scientist in our main group of characters, loves to research the anomalies, but she hasn’t been able to come up with an answer to the mystery.
We are told that five years ago, bubbles started to fall from the sky around the world. No one knew where the bubbles came from, they seemed harmless at first, but then, soon after they started to fall from the sky, an explosion occurred in Tokyo. This explosion created the gravitational anomalies. Furthermore, the city became encased inside a large bubble, and while the bubble rain stopped around the world it kept happening in Tokyo, which would eventually end up flooding the city.
We learn that Hibiki is being attracted for some reason to these anomalies, especially the one located at Tokyo Tower, where five years later, he lost his mother in the explosion. Hibiki goes to investigate the strange voice once again, but he makes a mistake and falls to his death. However, before drowning, we see a bubble following him, and we see it transforming into a girl. The girl saves Hibiki from dying, and he takes her back to his home with the Blue Blazers.
Hibiki names the girl Uta. At first, the girl cannot speak, and she seems to behave more like an animal than a human. She seems to be impressed by basically everything she sees. However, with time she starts maturing, starts developing a relationship with other members of the crew and even starts participating in the parkour races, where she does very well.
Things go for the worse when a competing faction kidnaps Makoto. The Blue Blazers are, of course, ready to fight for their friend and go to the rescue.
It is in this part of the movie where we start getting some answers about what happened in the world. We learn that Uta is possible a being from another dimension that came to Earth, maybe just for curiosity, and ended up being stranded here. We also learn that Hibiki could have possibly triggered the first explosion when trying to touch the bubble that was Uta and, without him knowing, a being from another universe.
Uta has a conference with a strange being that she seems to be related to, the entity warns Uta that she needs to go back to her home or terribly things might happen. Possibly, the complete annihilation of Earth. Of course, Uta doesn’t want to go back, she now has friends here, and she has the possibility of starting something romantic with Hibiki. It isn’t the best timing for this warning.
During Makoto’s rescue, Hibiki and the rest of the team do some impressive jumping all over the place, but it isn’t enough to compete with the opposing faction and the dangers from another dimension. Uta sacrifices herself to protect Hibiki, and she goes inside the vortex looking portal in the sky. A sort of transformation takes place and the big bubble encasing Tokyo finally disappears as the bubbles start raining all around the world once again.
Hibiki laments the death of his friend. However, sometime later the movie implies that Uta isn’t at all dead, she has only transformed into bubble form once again. This time, though, a bubble that belongs in this world, and it is all around Hibiki and the rest of her friends. It is the definition of a bittersweet ending.