+ movie + series + sequel + prequel +

Ariel is the Little Mermaid of the title, a spirited and rebellious lass whose curiosity and hot-headedness oftens gets the better of her. She is the youngest daughter of King Triton, ruler of the merpeople, and as such is probably his favourite daughter and his greatest headache. Ariel is passionately curious about all things have to do with the wonderful world up above, and goes out of her way to collect human things for a tremendous collection she keeps in her secret grotto. It is this curiosity that eventually leads her to cross paths with Eric, a human prince that captures her heart.

Ariel's best friend is Flounder, a friendship forged (according to the series) from when they were children. The series reveals other factoids about the mermaid, such as that, unsurprisingly, Ariel's passion for all things having to do with humans makes her an outcast among the merpeople. But Ariel never seems to be affected by this, and has never considered changing the way she feels just because certain others think that it's the right thing do. In that vein, Ariel has a soft spot for all other outcasts, and befriends them easily.

The first sequel sees a drastic change in personality as Ariel effectively becomes her father, coddling and over-protective over her daughter, Melody. Just as Triton did, or maybe worse, Ariel makes questionable decisions that ultimately cause a rift in the relationship between her and her daughter. In all original animated incarnations, Ariel's voice is provided by Jodi Benson.

Eric is a human prince of an unnamed kingdom that exists near the fabled mercity of Atlantica. He is an adventurous sort, and the first Disney prince to be more than just a cypher. Merpeople are a legend, but Eric has a close encounter with one when Ariel saves him from drowning. Then in the aftermath he finds that the mysterious woman who saved him has left a mark on him that he cannot explain. In the original film he is voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes, in the series he's voiced by Jeff Bennett, and in the sequels he is voiced by Rob Paulsen.

Ursula is a devious and cunning villainess who knows how to spot weaknesses in others and exploit them for her own gain. Unlike the other merpeople, she is half octopus, and depending on the sources you search in, this form is either the way she was born, or what she was cursed to be. Ursula was banished from the kingdom of Atlantica for using black magic, but she craves the throne above all else and seeks to get it by whatever means necessary. When Ursula discovers that Ariel has fallen in love with a human, she contrives to trap her in an unbreakable deal, the way that she has trapped many others. And once in her grasp, she'd be that much closer to trapping King Triton. In all her animated incarnations she is voiced by Pat Caroll.

Vanessa is the name that Ursula calls herself when she takes on human form to distract Eric from Ariel, because Ursula doesn't play fair. Vanessa's physical form is a beautiful slim brunette whose physical appearance resembles a slightly wicked Ariel, and whose voice is Ariel's. Thusly, she is voiced by Jodi Benson.

Sebastian is a Jamaican crab with apparent prominence in the royal court of Atlantica. At first he appears a staunch advocate of King Triton's distrust of humans, but it's hard to battle wits with someone as passionate as Ariel. Over the course of the movie he becomes a close friend and protector of Ariel. He is mostly remembered for being a musical whizz, as evidence by his participation in the royal concert, and later using song to do the work for him. In the series he's much closer with Ariel, and is almost always by Ariel's side. Though he's rarely supportive of whatever mischief she gets up to, he's much more tolerant of her adventurous ways than he was in film, often taking part of the adventures himself. (He's much more uppity in the movie.) In the sequel, he becomes the guardian of Ariel's daughter, Melody, because he really wanted to has the experience of his previous time holding that type of job. He is voiced throughout all his animated incarnations by Samuel E. Wright.

Flounder is Ariel's best friend whose simple (understandable) cowardice is almost always outweighed by his loyalty to his best friend. It might be hard for outsiders to imagine what a cautious fish like Flounder can have in common with the outgoing Ariel, but their friendship surpasses social expectation for the pair trust each other implicitly and are willing to go the distance to ensure that the other is happy. Flounder has been voiced by various people: Jason Marin in the movie, Bradley Pierce and Edan Gross in the series, and Cam Clarke in the first sequel.

King Triton is the ruler of Atlantica, an aged and experience merman who harbours a deep fear and distrust of humans and everything that comes from their world. His fear is not unfounded, but because of it he constantly locks horns with his youngest and most unpredictable daughter, Ariel. Like fathers everywhere he only wants to keep his daughter safe, though unfortunately his good intentions get lost in translation and have the effect of driving Ariel to do exactly the opposite of what he wants. He is more laid-back in the series, and in the sequel is completely open to humans. He is voiced in the movie, the first sequel and certain episodes of the series by Kenneth Mars.

Scuttle is an absent-minded seagull who (at the beginning of the movie) is Ariel's only link to the human world. Being a mermaid, there is so much that she wants to know about humans and their strange-looking things, and Scuttle claims that he knows everything and becomes her source of information. Unfortunately more often than not he gets things wrong, often leading to hilarious consequences. However, Scuttle does mean well and always comes through in the end when it's important. He is voiced in the film and first sequel by Buddy Hackett, while in the series he is voiced by Maurice LaMarche.

Flotsam and Jetsam are Ursula's eel minions or pets. They are inseparable and often interchangeable. They also have the magical ability to act as Ursula's external eyes, for whatever they see is transported back to what I can only refer to as Ursula's viewing bubble. Ursula is protective and affectionate towards her eels, though in the series their relationship is more disfunctional and mildly abusive. The eels are voiced in the film by Paddi Edwards.

Grimsby appears to be Eric's advisor and unofficial father figure, one of the few individuals whom Eric seems genuinely comfortable around. Though while Eric is more easy-going and relaxed, Grimsby seems to find pleasure in being proper and respectable. In the movie he is voiced by Ben Wright and in the first sequel he is voiced by Kay E. Kuter.

Carlotta is in charge of the domestic forces in Eric's castle, and it is hinted that, if Grimsby is Eric's father figure, then she is his mother figure. Carlotta is bubbly with efficient enthusiasm as she carries out the simple tasks that keep the castle going, such as overseeing the royal meals and making sure that the royal guests have bubble baths to their satisfaction. She is voiced in the film and the first sequel by Edie McClurg.

Chef Louis is the royal chef who loves his art, and though he doesn't contribute anything to the plot, he's given a comedic show-stopper in the form of "Les Poissons" and a brief rivalry with Sebastian the crab. He is voiced in the film and the first sequel by Rene Auberjonois.

Max is Eric's shaggy dog who becomes a key component in the event that lead Eric to almost drown in the ocean. Later, Max immediately recognises Ariel as the girl who saved Eric's life, but unfortunately he doesn't speak human. His doggy voice in the movie and first sequel is provided by Frank Welker.

Introduced in the series...

Urchin is Ariel and Flounder's close friend, a lonely orphan who would've turned bad if it hadn't been for Ariel's good influence. Urchin has no specific interest in human things, but he does love having adventures and there is always an adventure to be had whenever anyone hangs around Ariel. Urchin is a quick thinker in times of trouble and can be counted on to do the right thing when it's important. Urchin eventually becomes an unofficial part of the royal family, welcomed in the palace by King Triton and affectionately tolerated by Ariel's sisters. He is voiced by Danny Cooksey.

Gabriella is a deaf and mute mermaid who appears in the series episodes Wish Upon a Starfish and Ariel's Treasures. She is adventurous and outgoing, and is one of the few merpeople who openly accepts Ariel's fascination with the human world without prejudice. Her best friend and translator is Ollie, a blue octopus who reads her sign language. Ollie is voiced by Whitby Hertford.

Arista is one of Ariel's sisters, and though she officially appeared in the film, she only really gains personality in the series. Through various episodes it is revealed that Arista is prideful, outspoken and constantly butts-heads with Ariel over their differing points-of-view. However, Arista very briefly reveals a softer side when she confesses that she admires Ariel's adventures and close friendships, making their sisterly bond a close (albeit tempestuous) one. She is voiced by Mary Kay Bergman.

The Evil Manta is a villain who, when he was first introduced, is hinted that he is very old and was sealed in a dormant volcano by ancient Atlanticans in order to protect the underwater city. Ariel's unfortunate good intentions lead the Evil Manta to escape and wreck havoc upon the citizens of Atlantica. The Evil Manta is voiced by Tim Curry.

Lobster Mobster and Da Shrimp are a pair of undersea gangsters who think more highly of themselves than they probably are. The initially try to get Urchin to join their gang in the episode Urchin, but that endeavour failed. They continued to target Ariel and King Triton, hoping to somehow someway get the famed royal treasure for themselves. Lobster Mobster is voiced by Joe Alaskey and Da Shrimp is voiced by David Lander.

Spot is a baby killer whale that first appears in the pilot Whale of Tale, and who is seen in the opening credits jumping over the surface of the ocean with Ariel. He is the first of many new characters introduced in the series, highlighting Ariel's warm and friendly nature. In the opening of the pilot, baby Spot is separated from his family when they are attacked by whalers. He ends up near Atlantica, and is adopted by Ariel. He also appears in the later episode Save the Whale.

Stormy is wild Giant Seahorse featured in the episode Stormy. When Ariel first discovers him, he's tied down in an isolated corral, where he isn't having any fun at all. He's released by Ariel, who thinks she can ride him, and though he does care for Ariel (and saves her life), he's just too wild to keep as a pet.

Pearl is a minor character that appears in the episodes Red and Eel-ectric City in a tiny but memorable role. Pearl is the cool and popular chick that teen girls (even mer ones) aspire to know or be like. Even Ariel is enamoured of Pearl, and wants to impress her. Pearl rides a squid cycle with her crew and likes to party. She is voiced by Cree Summer.

Emperor Sharga is a villainous character and the leader of the Sharkanians, a race of creatures that are related to sharks, just as merfolk are related to fish. He is cunning and tricky, and wants to take over Atlantica. He, and his Sharkanians, appear in the episode The Great Sebastian. He is voiced by Jim Cummings.

Glowfish is a small time villain who appears in the episode Red. Seems like whoever does the hiring in King Triton's palace doesn't do a great job screening possible employees, because in the episode, Glowfish is seen to be working as a treasurer for the Atlantican king, when what he really wants is to have the treasure all for himself. He is voiced by Jim Cummings.

Sorceress (or The Lady in the Cave) is a spooky villainess who appears in the episode Red as a disembodied head. She was cursed to be trapped in a cave by King Triton himself, and conspires with Glowfish to get the trident and set herself free. She is voiced by Linda Gary.

Introduced in the sequel...

Melody is Ariel's daughter who is dark-haired like her father, but retains the insatiable curiosity of her mother. Just as Ariel was obsessed with land, Melody is obsessed with the sea, and because she grew up not knowing the truth of her heritage, that obsession leads her down a path that almost destroys all that she cares about. Melody as a princess is considered a "weirdo" who talks to animals, and before everything is revealed, she angsts endlessly that there is something strange and awful about her... which can't be further from the truth. She is voiced by Tara Strong.

Morgana is introduced in the first sequel as Ursula's crazy sister, and like all characters that appear in sequels, there is no mention of her in the original film. Morgana doesn't have the intelligent deviousness that Ursula was known for, but she tries to make up for it by being insanely off-the-bend. Just as Ursula targeted Ariel's weakness, Morgana targets Melody's weakness, using the young princess against her own family. Morgana is voiced by Pat Caroll, who also voiced Ursula.

Tip is one of two marine friends that Melody gains over the course of the first sequel. Tip is a blow-hard penguin who is mocked by his fellow penguins for being a coward in genuinely dangerous situations. Despite Tip's constant bragging he knows in his heart that he's not worth much and wants to become better. With Melody's help, he manages to get there. Tip is voiced by Max Casella.

Dash is the mellower second half of the duo consisting of Titanic Tip and Daring Dash. Dash himself is a lovable walrus who knows very well that he doesn't amount to much on the bravery scale, but it is he who first finds the courage in himself to save Melody when it really counts. Dash is voiced by Stephen Furst.

Undertow is Morgana's wise-cracking sidekick or second-in-command, a once-humongous shark that was zapped into a guppy in the opening sequence of the first sequel. The experience left Undertow bitter and angry, so he is often more devious and conniving than Morgana herself. Undertow is voiced by Clancy Brown.

Cloak and Dagger are Morgana's other minions whose function is slightly similar to that of Flotsam and Jetsam, but not quite. Cloak and Dagger are a pair of manta rays that don't talk, but occasionally snicker. They tend to do the simpler tasks that don't require much thinking.

Introduced in the prequel...

Marina Del Rey works in the royal palace for King Triton. She starts out as the governess of King Triton's seven daughters, but what she really wants is to be the king's second in command (THE POWER) and she'll do anything to get it. Marina certainly likes to dress up with her own brand of style in a way that reminds me of Yzma (The Emperor's New Groove). She is voiced by Sally Field.

Benjamin is Marina's assistant, a manatee (I think) who is the sane half of the duo that is Marina-and-Benjamin. He's amiable, listens to all of Marina's griping, feeds her pets, dances to her singing and gives her manicures (among, I think, a gajillion other tasks) which make him the perfect personal assistant. Put that together with his classic deadpan delivery of comments, and you get a package of Awesome. He is voiced by Jeff Bennett.

Queen Athena is Ariel's mother, wife of King Triton and Queen of the underwater kingdom of Atlantica before she was taken away from them. She brought joy the everyone who knew her, which is what made her loss all the more difficult. Yes, I know that she looks like a clone of Ariel. She is voiced by Lorelei Hill Butters and sung by Andrea Robinson, making it the first time in animated The Little Mermaid franchise history where they needed a separate actor to provide a character's singing.