I've been in a Movies-About-Sea-Creatures Mood lately so lemme put the ones I've seen in a tier of what I would recommend! This is from what I've seen so far and of personal choice so if there are other animated films with a whimsical or fantasy setting that ISN'T Disney's The Little Mermaid, let me know!
This one is one of the more strange ones on the list. There aren't any magical creatures in it but it gives off a fantasy feel despite the plot being more existential. Two boys were raised in the sea by a dugong, therefore they sense what all sea creatures sense. The rest of the plot was hard to follow for me but I'm sure it was because maybe it just wasn't my cup of tea. That's not going to stop me from recommending it to some because the animation is gorgeous and so is the soundtrack.
Lu Over the Wall is a sweet story about a small town fearing legendary merfolk because of their potential to either eat people or turning people into one of them. I can tell it's like they intended the merfolk to be vampires with their bodies burning in the sun, but changed it due to mermaids being cuter. A boy who's bored with his life befriends a mermaid child whose tail turns into legs when she hears music. This one is a little bit on the underrated side since most people thought it was a copy of Ponyo when this is clearly not the case.
Speaking of Ponyo, to those who have never heard or seen Ponyo, go watch this one. What are you doing with you life? It has an adorable red headed fish who falls in love with a boy and uses magic to find him thus almost drowning the world to stay with said boy. Also God bless her father who wants her to stay away from humans because they pollute the sea. I love how this film doesn't deny that humans are selfish and disgusting with how they treat the ocean but it also romanticizes the best parts about being human like worrying about family or eating a nice meal or staying safe in times of need. Most films like The Little Mermaid ignore how cruel humans are and go straight to "No you're wrong! I love him and he loves me so humans can't be as bad as you say! They're perfect!" Pfft.
The Chinese Spirited Away. Or rather, what the people behind the film wanted it to be. This is the story of a girl from a hidden world in the ocean who visited the human world in the form of a red dolphin and accidentally caused the death of a human boy. Throughout the film, she breaks the laws of the world nurse his soul (which is a small red fish) back to life. Pretty enjoyable although I do have my complaints on the main character herself and how selfish she may be at times.
I HAD to put the newest Pixar film in this list because it fits the list and goddamn did I love this film. Its innocent and wholesome and it happens to be directed by Enrico Casarosa who also directed The Good Dinosaur and my favourite Pixar short La Luna. Two sea monsters run away from their life at sea to find a Vespa to ride away and explore the world. It's so sweet and colourful. To some folks there might be some Queer undertones but whether they were intentional or not, its a cute film!
Now to my favourite on this list: Song of the Sea. Personally it's Cartoon Saloon's best film. Some could argue that Wolfwalkers (their newest film in 2020) is their best but I'm just biased for my love of the Sea. After the disappearance of his mother, a young boy named Ben resents his mute younger sister Saoirse for probably being the reason their mother is gone (she disappeared the day Saoirse was born). One night when their granny find Saoirse on the beach with a white coat, their father, after locking the coat in a chest and tossing the chest at sea, send them away to live far away from the sea. Eventually some Faerie Folk find the children and claim that Saoirse is half Selkie, a creature that can go from person to seal with the aid of a magical coat and they need her to sing a Faerie song to save them all. Without the the coat she cant sing and will not last in the next few hours.
I could go on and on about this film in particular but Imma stop right there before I rant about this film being so underrated. I hope some of you try to watch these films and maybe have them in one of your favourites!
Wish Dragon (2021)! It’s basically a platonic Aladdin story, and it also has a dragon in it!
It’s a very endearing movie that’s main story is about reconnecting with an old best friend, and I definetly reccommend it if you’re an aro person seeking out cute platonic movies, especially if you also like dragons.
It’s a pretty good movie on its own - keeps your attention, likable characters, good themes and message, a pretty original plot despite being based on a common story - but it’s especially great because Din always refers to his relationship with Li Na as a friendship. They could have gone the traditional romance route, or simply heavily hinted at romantic feelings and the audience would have understood the rest, but the movie didn’t. Even in the subtext! Their physical contact with each other never goes beyond holding hands, and there’s never any romantic tension. The only possible romantic hints would be 1) them calling their outing together a “date”, although there’s no romantic tension or hints in their tone or motives, and 2) a comment from their neighbor that they’re “too young to be holding hands”. There is one very awkward and a bit uncomfortable moment of a lady aggressively flirting with a man, but its over within a few seconds and not brought up again.
Din and Li Na’s friendship is very cute, and although I wish we got more screen time of them, the movie eshablishes very easily and quickly just how great friends they are and how much they get each other, especially considering how they didn’t use or rely on any romantic hints to get that across. I love to see guy and girl fictional characters that are written as and interact as friends, yet still have interesting chemistry with each other, which is sadly so rare to see in entertainment.
And as someone who disliked Disney’s remake of the live action Aladdin, and got annoyed at them needlessly adding a love interest for the Genie, I love and appreciate Wish Dragon even more for being a new and modern (and platonic!) take on the classic wish-granting story.
(I’m going to start this off and say I call him Skyfire, not Jetfire. That’s just what I do.)
Comic: Transformers Generation 1 2004, issue #6
ALSO MAJOR SPOILERS!
I really wanted to post this because damn?? This comic is all about Starscream trying to escape Sunstorm with Skyfire coming in for the rescue. I’d think it straight out of a fanfic if I never saw it as the comic here.
So let’s start; Sunstorm is extremely powerful and is after Starscream. And he just. won’t. die.
So by this point, Starscream asked Skyfire for help, and so he tries. Unfortunately, Sunstorm (Yellow outlined text) is extremely powerful and has beaten down Skyfire significantly
BUT REGARDLESS, Skyfire gets up later in the comic and knows he has to end this somehow. And he reflects upon his relationship with Starscream, which I find interesting af. Their relationship is just so complicated.
And while that’s been happening, Bumblebee has been knocked out cold and Starscream was debating whether or not to save him. In the end, his reasoning for rescuing BB was because Skyfire would want him to.
So Bumblebee wakes up and Starscream tells him he’s going into space with Skyfire to defeat Sunstorm once and for all. But he’s too late–
And Starscream witnessed this.
AND THEN THAT’S THE END?!?!? SKYFIRE IS GONE AND THAT’S WHERE IT ENDS, IT’S SO TRAGIC??
You know how in school when we learned about the 1920's, we learned about slang like "Gigglewater" and "The Bees Knees?" How much do you wanna bet that in 100 years, schools are gonna teach kids about "Yeet" and "Poggers."