Domain: Denmark (Early to Mid 19th Century)
Original Domain: Atlantica
Premiered in: The Little Mermaid (1989)
Voiced By: Jodi Benson
Ariel is, at the time of this blog post, one of, if not the only, Disney character to be voiced by the same voice actress for anything and everything that she has been involved in. From the theatrical original to the direct-to-video sequels, the television series, and even a handful of original soundtracks the one and only media I know of where Ariel is not voiced by her original voice actress is the Broadway production. That aside, Ariel, while not exactly the dictionary definition of the word “princess,” she is easily one of the first to come to mind amongst children and adults of today, particular when the word “Disney” is added.
While not a Princess of Heart as her predecessors, I’ve no doubt in my mind that Ariel’s heart represents empathy to a frightening degree. She honestly does not see the evil, or danger, in anything even when she really should. Though not canon in the theatrical sense, I do recall an episode of the series, which was amazing by the way, wherein Ariel not only found an iceberg filled with dinosaurs but she went so far as to release them back into the world despite the fact that a good majority of them were carnivores, Tyrannosaurus Rex included. There is also her curiosity when it comes to humans, something that has put her in danger on more than one occasion and nearly cost her everything she held dear when she fell head over fins in love with a human prince at first sight.
That being said… if there is one thing I dislike about Ariel it is how quickly she fell in love with Eric, going so far as to proclaim she loved him to her father despite having, quite literally, not having a single bit of conversation with him and only seeing him amidst his eighteenth birthday celebration. I admit, I am a bit of a romantic but even I draw the line at “love at first sight” particularly when that love comes with the price that Ariel was quite willing to pay. True, she was, extremely rightfully, angry and hurt at her father King Triton but even so, it can’t have been easy for her to give up everything and everyone she had ever known in her life for someone whom she had known all of a single, rather traumatically explosive, event.
Like Prince Phillip before him, Eric did as any prince trying to save his girl is want to do and slew the sea-witch Ursula dead by impaling her with his ship, but outside of that he’s… I’m sorry, but he’s kind of a dope only so much that he blatantly misses the obvious way too much in the film. He dismisses Ariel as being the one to save him solely for the fact that she can’t speak, never once harboring the idea that perhaps she might have been injured in her rescuing him or even simply suffering from a small frog in her throat. Okay, that later one is a bit of a stretch but considering how his dog Max all but hugged her in thanks for saving Eric, one would think he’d at least humor the nagging thought at the back of his head that something is up.
His own manservant, Grimsby, even points out that Eric should forget his dream girl and focus on the one standing before him, a girl that despite her eccentricities has managed to endear herself to everyone she meets. That and as much as I love the song “Kiss the Girl” how in the name of the Seven Seas did Eric not notice the performing birds and fish.
Then again, Ariel was sitting right in front of him so I suppose we can give him some slack there…
Ariel’s best friend is a guppy by name of Flounder followed closely by Sebastian, King Triton’s Chief of Staff and Royal Composer. While it’s not uncommon to see Ariel without Sebastian, such is not the case with Flounder. The two of them have been as thick as thieves since they were kids and despite Flounder being afraid of everything in sight, he braves through it all for the sake of his friend. As to Sebastian, despite his exasperations with Ariel and her adventurous and often rebellious attitudes, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he didn’t consider her as a daughter considering how often he suffers her father’s wrath for her sake. There’s also Scuttle the seagull, but I don’t really count him because he is, quite frankly, lacking in every kind of sense known to birds never mind man. I know Ariel was desperate to learn more about humans but to ask a seagull?
As to her “Palace Pet”… Oh boy, her Palace Pet… is a cat. Unimaginatively named Treasure, she’s a cat that happens to actually like water, which isn’t really that unbelievable really but it’s just… She’s a cat. Cats eat fish. I imagine that she and Flounder would never get along in any sense of the word and Sebastian… well, he’s got pincers to warn her off but still, why in the heck would Ariel have a cat? I imagine that the feline would occasionally nip at her considering she might still innately smell of fish considering she was a mermaid for sixteen years of her life. Aside from that, the cat is, surprisingly, a normal shade of auburn and even appropriately accessorized. This of course means moot given she’s not only got the same forelock as Ariel but her tail is bushy enough to be styled to resemble oceanic waves. I’d rather Ariel have a creature that could at least be a former resident of the ocean or a part-time resident like a turtle or something to that nature more than a cat with a freakishly styled tail!
Ariel’s domain as far as being a human is concern is the land of Denmark from whence her story originated and is the source of major upset amongst the Disney fan community. This is due entirely upon the fact that her story and that of Frozen are both written by the same author, Hans Christian Anderson, and many have noted the similarity of the ship Ariel explores at the beginning of her film with that of Elsa and Anna’s parents. Taking the conspiracy theories to the wayside for now until we reach the third piece of this interesting triangle of events, Ariel’s original domain is that of Atlantica, which is a kingdom of mermaids and many species of aquatic life. While we never truly get to see much of Atlantica, I imagine it’s quite the place to see for a vast variety of reasons but I’ll voice the most important one of them all.
Oh, and mermen too but still, mermaids people!
Finally, to wrap up this review, let’s take a look at Ariel’s redesign. First and foremost, allow me to say thank goodness that someone thought to get rid of that atrociously pink dress Ariel originally wore. Though I am not a man of fashion in any sense of the word, I have many friends, both male and female, who have told me time and time again that pink clothes and red hair do not work. That being said, I applaud them for making her new dress be the same shade as her maid tail and even going so far as to give her a human hairstyle. Out of any of the Disney Princesses, Ariel has the most valid excuse for a new hairstyle given that she lived most of her life underwater and I imagine it’s quite hard to work with constantly wet hair. I also like the seashell shaped brooch and earrings. A good tongue-in-cheek nod to Ariel’s original outfit if such a word can be applied to what is, essentially, a bikini top.