Real Name: Nino Lahiffe
Root Cause of Transformation: Gabriel Agreste
Item of Transformation: Bubble Wand
Primary Goal: Throw his best friend the best birthday party
The Bubbler… no matter how many times I say or write that name, it does not fail to make me question the validity of Papillon being a serious threat of any kind and for a multiple reasons. First and foremost, is the root cause of Nino Lahiffe’s transformation, that being the overall jerkiness that is Adrien Agreste’s father, Gabriel Agreste, who even at the best of circumstances can try the patience of the most kindhearted of individuals and whose controlling nature over his son is second to none in most modern works of fiction.
Upon approaching the man, in his own home no less, Nino tried for a fruitless bid at allowing Adrien to celebrate his birthday with a party. Gabriel’s answer was to not only rebuke Nino from ever entering his and Adrien’s home again but to declare him a bad influence over his son and forbade said son from ever interacting with Nino again.
Nino was soon transformed into the Bubbler via an akuma to a bubble wand, an object that he has not utilized since either for fear of the possibility of being akumatized again or simply for the awful memories the object would bring up. Though commanded by Papillon to find and attain the Miraculous of Ladybug and Chat Noir, the Bubbler’s chief goal was to throw the biggest party he could for his friend Adrien whilst simultaneously ridding Paris of every adult.
By trapping them in bubbles and sending them into space.
That is by no means an exaggeration either, that is quite literally what the Bubbler does for his opening act and the only reason that I can fathom for the adults not being killed outright just from oxygen deprivation is because even as a villain, Nino didn’t want the adults dead, just out of the way in the furthest sense possible.
Back to his endgame though, yeah, that’s well and truly all that the Bubbler, or rather Nino, wanted to accomplish and set out to do so at gunpoint, or rather bubble wand point as the case may be. Really, as far as overall endgames go amongst Papillon’s akumas, the Bubbler’s was equal parts stupidly tame and extremely lackluster as his “dearly invited” guests consisted of his and Adrien’s entire class and not the majority of kids in Paris. This in itself is incredibly disheartening in regards to the Bubbler’s villainous potential seeing what he is capable of.
As the Bubbler, Nino could create bubbles that were night impossible to pop save for Chat Noir’s Cataclysm, which in itself is highly focused entropy AKA absolute destruction in a focused point. The purple ones that he used to capture and send every adult into space were able to swarm and specifically seek out his targets without any conscious control on his part. Red bubbles that can explode upon impact with varying degrees depending on size, and green bubbles that can swarm and combine together into a single massive bubble to trap tougher than the average human adversaries.
On his own, the Bubbler is slightly above the human norm in physical capabilities but all of his powers and abilities lie with his bubble wand. While he can leap amazing distances, he cannot fly or utilize a major his powers without his wand and can easily be taken down almost as soon as it leaves his hands.
On the overall hierarchy of akumas in Miraculous, I’d rate the Bubbler amongst the bottom tier though not outright at the bottom. In point of fact, I’d rank him at the door of mid-tier if his mindset were more villainous. Really, his powers and capabilities make him a very dangerous adversary to face but thanks in no small part to his own exaggerated immaturity and the need to buck against any kind of adult authority, including that of Papillon to a very minute degree, the Bubbler can and had been brought down rather easily all considering.
Do not forget that, had he so desired, he’d have quite literally spaced each and every adult in the entirety of Paris long before Chat Noir or Ladybug could arrive to stop him and, even if they had, there was nothing to prevent the Bubbler from popping his own bubbles and dropping his hostages.