Forgotten Mermaids part 2

More mermaids lost at sea!
June 29, 2011
I got a really positive response from my first article, so I decided to write the follow-up! I had already planned this article out, but I was waiting to make sure I would have readers.

Anyhoo, in my first article, someone commented about the movie "Splash".

Now, I had the movie in the back of my mind, but I knew that Madison couldn't really be considered a "Forgotten Mermaid", what with her movie being rereleased on DVD recently. That, and she wasn't from the '90s. But it did make me think; for one, my next article would cover not just the '90s, but the '70s and '80s as well! And it also reminded me of the little known Chinese remake, "Mermaid Got Married".

While the movie wasn't an exact replica of Splash, it did borrow quite a bit from it; the main character falls out of a ship as a kid, he's saved by a "big fish", the same fish saves him again years later and is revealed to be a mermaid. The mermaid, played by Christy Chung, even sports an orange tail and gets legs when she's dry.

Now, for the differences. In this movie, the mermaid saves the man's life by taking out a pearl and placing it against his lips. She then kisses it, and it's magic revives him. The only problem is, he swallows it! And without her pearl, the mermaid remains a human when she enters the ocean, so she can't go back home. The rest of the movie has her trying her best to get it back, going so far as to pose as a merchant's niece and attending the school in which the man she's stalking teaches P.E. Long story short, she gets her pearl back, but also attracts the attention of people who want to make money off the "big fish", she angers the jealous Campus Queen, she has to go back home, she comes back, she marries her man, the end.

Now, I thought this movie was pretty good. I do, however, have a few problems. For one, there's a plot hole; the mermaid doesn't return to her mermaid form when she goes back in the ocean because she lost her pearl, but then it's later said that every once in a while she has to "recharge". To do this, she must get in water, like the school showers or a fountain. And whenever she does recharge, she gets her tail. Self explanitory, yes? *cough*

My other problem is the film's very limited availability. I got my copy off of Ebay, and let me tell you it's not the best. The picture and sound qualities are okay, but the subtitles?! Have you ever put text to a video using Windows Movie Maker? Well if you haven't, get a video up on WMM, put white subtitles on it. Sucks, doesn't it? Well that's how the subs on the DVD are. The other problem is, this is the only copy of this movie available. It's a very rare find, and not many people know about it. And if you want to see it but don't want to pay for a crappy bootleg, the whole movie's on YouTube.

Next on my list is another movie; Goodtimes' The Little Mermaid.

Released in 1992, this was a time when a company called "Goodtimes" was having a kind of "Let's copy Disney!" craze. If you look up all of their animated movies, you can see the resemblences. In the midst of all these Goodtimes Princesses was Lena, the blonde haired youngest daughter of King Neptune (see? SEE?!). Together with her dolphin companion Vink, she gets trapped by a whirlpool while on her way to her birthday party, gets thrown up to the surface, and (you guessed it!) saves a handsome (?) prince from a terrible storm.

I know you all know the story of The Little Mermaid, so I'll skip the rest. Anwayz, the prince in this version is named "Stephan", and let me tell you, he could be Eric's twin! Expect, y'know, he has a ponytail. The other woman is named "Anna", and the sea witch is named Cassandra. Now towards the end, it seemed like the movie was going to keep in line with the original fairy tale; Stephan was gonna marry Anna, and Lena would be turned into seafoam. But at the last minute, it turns out that Vink told King Neptune about it, and he decided to come to the surface and sink the ship in a storm to prevent his daughter from suffering a horrible fate. Cause, y'know, a ship-full of drowned people plus Lena is better than Lena dying of her own free will. *cough*

But before he can do this, two blue birds point out that Stephan had realized Lena was the one, and was gonna marry her. So yeah, they get married. Even Anna has a happy ending; she had planned on marrying another man anyway. Also worthy of note is that Lena confessed to her eldest sister Tris about Stephan like in the fairy tale, something that no other incarnation of The Little Mermaid had done. An okay movie, but I wish it had been more original; in style and story.

The next and last movie on the list is Toei Animation's 1972 Andersen Dowa Ningyo Hime (Andersen's Story: Mermaid Princess).

I had mentioned this movie in my first article, but didn't actually talk about it. So, here we go! Like Ningyo Hime Marina no Boken, this anime's main character is a blonde mermaid princess named Marina. This difference is that this one has a blue tail. And also she's...naked. *cough* This was probably the very first anime I ever watched, and boy howdy what a choice for a first anime! The only thing covering the mermaid princesses' bare breasts is their hair, which isn't always reliable. The slightest change in current, and it's "hello nipples!"

Anyway...*cough* This is a very faithful adaptation of the movie; Marina even dies in the end. Now for the differences. A new element to the story is the "Pearl Hair Pins", the flowers that Marina's sisters are wearing in their hair in the poster. These hair pins are a symbol of a mermaid's coming of age, and it also acts as their passport, allowing them to go to the surface whenever they please. Also worthy of noting is that all but two characters don't have names, which is also very close to the fairy tale, in which all characters were nameless. Which brings us to the next point, Fritz the dolphin. He is Marina's best friend and loyal companion. Unlike the fully grown Vink in Goodtimes' movie, Fritz is a small baby dolphin, and dammit is he ever adorable! And another thing this movie did right that almost all of the other adaptations left out, was the character of the Grandmother.
The movie was positively recieved in it's Japanese release, and saw that same reaction when it got dubbed two years later in 1974 by a company called Starmaker. I was able to obtain a bootleg DVD of the movie that featured the English, Spanish, and original Japanese audio and watched the dub and Japanese versions back-to-back. From what I could tell with my limited knowledge of the Japanese language, the English dubbers were very faithful to the script, so they get big kudos there! The only thing that they didn't translate was the opening song, "Yume no Hito" (Person from my Dreams), instead using an instrumental version of the song for the opening.

On it's initial release, the English dub remained completely uncut and uncensored, something that was unheard of for anime at the time (just look at Sailor Moon!). However, whenever the film would be rereleased around 2006, it would be horribley mangled and censored that would make any otaku's nightmares seem tame! What was worse, the company that censored it didn't even try to hide the fact that they cut parts out; the music wasn't touched up at all, so parts of the music that were in cut scenes just disappeared. There were even some scenes that were so zoomed in, the picture became really fuzzy. The original Japanese version had a ratio of 2.55:1, which is way wider than most movies are today, so the picture wasn't that good during the film's first English release when they transfered it to full screen, but this new release just sucked!

If you want to watch the movie and not spend your money on a bootleg, it's been uploaded multiple times on YouTube; most of them are of the dub, one full screen and several perserving the original widescreen, then there's one upload of the Japanese version. I should know; I uploaded it! Just look up asian_fury20, and it'll be in my videos. It's one of my favorite movies, and I hope you all like it too!

Now, enough of the movies. I'm going back to the subject of dolls. Remember that "Mermaid Craze" that Disney's Little Mermaid caused in the '90s that I mentioned in my first article? Well, I failed to mention the Barbie dolls. I had a few of them, but there were so much more that I didn't know about.

For starters, I think this is the original Barbie mermaid doll.

I've never seen her before, and I can't seem to locate a video of her, so I know very little about this doll. What I can tell you, is that the set does NOT come with a Barbie doll. What it does come with is an inflatable pink swan that Barbie can ride on, 6 fun-shaped sponges, and a mermaid costume that will fit most Barbie dolls. Notice that the tail is green like Ariel's?

Next, we Barbie!

I thought for the longest time that this was the original Barbie mermaid, but nope. She came out in 1992, and the one above came out in 1990. Now I never had this one either, but I do know about her. Whenever you submerge her in cold water, her hair changes so it has light blue streaks. I think that's it... The only complaint I have about this doll is that the fin on her mermaid costume has an opening so her feet stick out. WTF, Barbie? WTF?

Next is a doll I actually had; Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie!

This line of mermaids actually had three different dolls; Barbie in the gold fin, Teresa in the purple/magenta fin, and Midge in the blue fin. And like most Barbie dolls of the time, they also had African American versions. The dolls had the longest hair of any Barbie doll of the time, and came with star stickers that could be put in their hair. The fin also came off, so that the dolls could appear to be in "mermaid" dresses, and they came with matching high-heeled shoes. I wasn't a big fan of them, but I managed to collect all three in my childhood, and loved them all.

Next is Mermaid Babysitter Skipper and Sea Twins.

Like the Jewel Hair Mermaids, these dolls came out in 1993. I never had her, but I wanted her soooo badly! Skipper was the teenage sister of Barbie, and the two twins are Krissy dolls, whose role in Barbie's life I forget. You can tell that this was released around the time anime was starting to get more popular in America, just look at Skipper's eyes! She also has waist-length crimped blonde hair, and a purple and orange mermaid tail (also with feet revealed!) and matching top. The same goes for the Sea Twins. When submerged in cold water, their tails change color! I don't remember the commercial at all, so I can't say what color they actually change. I think it's blue, but don't quote me on that.

Next is Fountain Mermaid Barbie.

Released in 1993, this doll came with a bright pink tail (you can see her feet!!!), a matching top, and a crown. This doll didn't change colors, but her crown could spray water. Like the Jewel Hair Mermaids, she was also available as African American.

Last on this list is Bubbling Mermaid Barbie.

I had this doll, and also saw the advertisement for her here on RetroJunk! I think she came out in '96. Unlike all other mermaid dolls before her, her tail doesn't come off! It's actually made of rubber, and changes from light blue to brilliant pink when submerged in cold water. Like the Skipper mermaid, she had blonde, crimped hair. and like Fountain Mermaid Barbie, she had a pink crown on her head. But this one isn't a fountain, it sprays bubbles when you press her tail, like, in the waist area. I remember her being pretty fun, but unlike in the advertisement, she cannot be submerged all the way underwater. I don't know why, but whenever I'd try to make her go deeper underwater, she wanted to float. GRRR!!! And (big surprise!) she was also available as African American.

Will kiddles, that's all for now! Again, depending on my feedback, I may write a part three! Cause there's a whole list of dolls I want to cover next time!
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