Hiroyuki Sawano

" Sawano approaches the film from a central idea that connects these two children. Both of them can hear each character's identifiable four notes "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Bubble (Baburu) is a 2022 Japanese animated film directed by Tetsurô Araki, who for this film assembled a lot of key crew members who had previously worked on the Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack of the Titan) TV series, including composer Hiroyuki Sawano.

The film is set in a post-apocalyptic world. After bubbles that broke the laws of gravity rained down upon the world, Tokyo became an isolated city of ruins. It is now a refuge for orphaned young people, who, to acquire food and other tokens, are free to participate in a dangerous parkour game. The story focuses on the growing connection and love between a boy Hibiki and a girl Uta.

Sawano approaches the film from a central idea that connects these two children. Both of them can hear each character's identifiable four notes. The idea is treated from the metaphysical fairy tale and connective love point of view and is carried over to a variety of instruments; strings, guitar, piano, brass, a wordless female vocal, and a children's choir, but primarily it is performed by the ethereal, glass sound. As the girl Uta is perceived as a variant of The Little Mermaid, most of the four notes renditions associated with her have the ethereal sound, and they easily outnumber the variations on the second four notes related to the boy Hibiki. Both of their four notes merge, but Sawano treats them as self-contained themes, which is entirely unexpected, given how strongly the two characters connect.

Characters like Uta and Hibiki, who are consciously aware of their musical themes, are unusual in film. Still, when it does occur, it is usually a single theme that fuels a sense of self-awareness by one or more characters and is predominantly tongue-in-cheek. The second highlight in context is Uta singing her theme, which is nothing short of magic.

Also, the score features some wonderfully written music for the rather spectacular parkour sequences, with a wonderfully energetic vibe from the strings, brass, strong percussion, guitar, piano, vocal assistance and electronics. However, portions of the soundscape of these scenes sound a bit pitiful, which is also reflected in the involvement of other musicians, singers and composers elsewhere in the score or within tracks where Sawano wasn't involved.

Hiroyuki Sawano's score to Bubble is excellent. Nevertheless, the score has two downsides, one in the context of the film and one upon listening to the music release. First, the vast number of renditions of the four notes wear out as the film progresses. At first, the connective themes strongly aid 'old-fashioned' moments of awe-inspiring beauty and imaginative enchantment. Still, after a while, the film offers exceedingly more detailed, colorful, and grander in-scale animation, which only distances the viewer from the primary emotional connection between characters. Secondly, some musical elements for a more acquired taste are somewhat concealed in the rather spectacular context of the film, but on the album, they are undeniably exposed.

1. BUBBLE (1:58)
2. BATTLEKOUR (5:21)
3. BB (0:53)
4. JU-RYOKU ver.2 (3:58)
5. BB2 (2:29)
6. MERMAID (4:18)
7. HIBIKI (1:55)
8. UTAtoHIBIKI (1:32)
9. UNDERTAKER (2:15)
10. BB×UT (3:20)
11. PARKOUR (3:56)
12. UTA (1:57)
13. 2ndBUBBLE (5:29)
14. TOWER (5:56)
15. NE-SAMA (2:19)
16. BUBBLE-cho. (6:48)
17. BUBBLE-THEME (3:52)
18. Bubble (feat. Uta) (3:46)
19. Bubble (TeddyLoid Remix) (3:23)
20. 色彩 (performed by Riria.) (5:11)
21. じゃあね、またね。(performed by Riria.) (4:05)
22. BUBBLE-outtake1 (3:01)
23. BUBBLE-outtake2 (1:48)
24. BUBBLE-outtake3 (1:29)
25. BUBBLE-outtake4 (2:06)
26. BUBBLE-outtake5 (0:23)
27. BUBBLE-outtake6 (1:48)
28. BUBBLE-outtake7 (3:00)
29. BUBBLE-outtake8 (0:36)

Total duration: 73:28

(written 03-07-2022)
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 4 votes - average 3/5)

Released by

Toy's Factory (regular release 2022)