A feature-film anime version of the Hans Christian Andersen story was released in 1975 with the title Andersen Dowa Ningyo Hime (Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tale Princess Mermaid) and in 1978 it got an English-dubbed release as Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid.
This movie's pretty much a cult classic at this point, and one of the most famous and well-remembered versions out there. I grew up with the English-dubbed film myself, and back when I first started this website, the sheer amount of response from people who loved this film was wonderful surprise.
In many ways this film is the antithesis of the Disney film that came out more than ten years after it. Though I obviously love the Disney version, this film fills that niche for a well-made, aesthetically beautiful and haunting adaptation that addresses the melancholy cost of the little mermaid's journey, albeit with its own emotional interpretation. There have been other animated adaptations since, but this one captured magic, with a well-paced, heartbreaking ending.
In this movie, the blonde little mermaid's name is Marina, and she comes from a loving family, including her father the sea king, her grandmother, and her five elder sisters. She also has a best friend Fritz the dolphin, who supports and follows her, so much so that he helps her visit the surface before she's of age. Marina actually sees and is smitten with a statue that resembles the prince before she sees the prince proper and rescues him from drowning, and once she makes her decision to pursue her love, she goes for it whole-heartedly.
The prince is even loving and kind towards Marina, and at one point defies his own parents for her sake. But the twists of fate would have it that the prince's heart is set upon another dark-haired girl who'd "saved" his life, and later turns the knife one more time to have Marina be given her due, but a heartbeat too late.
It's a melodramatic and bittersweet adaptation, depicting the little mermaid's maturity as she learns the price of love, and with just enough glimpses of violence to drive home the depth of her sacrifice. All those good things!
The cover and back of the video above were sent in by visitor Jal.
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