…..because I think, she seems real
. Like other posters have said; a real girl with real emotion which you can recognise in yourself and others. As a child first watching I just feel in the love with her - every part of her. She was fun and expressive and had her best friends with her for adventures ! She wanted to achieve something more than what was given to her in life, and Eric was the catalyst to help her find the strength within herself to do that.
said; she doesn't have a voice for a good portion of the film. It shows the sheer strength of a well written (and obviously well animated) character that you can still
follow on her journey want to root for her; you laugh when she's brushing her hair with the dinglehopper at the dinner table, you can join in with her enthusiasm when discovering dancing or Punch & Judy, or taking the reigns of the carriage to jump over the vast cliff-face. When she's in the row boat with Eric and she's getting more and more frustrated that they haven't kissed, and when he finally 'guesses' her name … the beaming smile that comes from her just warms my hear. When the wedding ship is leaving, and Ariel sinks down on the side of the dock…my heart breaks for her, every time. All of that … and not one word is spoken.
Getting older, I relate to her on a different way; my relationship with my dad was fraught as well. He was overbearing and had a tendency for outbursts like Triton. I can understand Ariel going away into her own world and wanting to be somewhere else … anywhere else … to where she had to be. And her song is a huge part of her appeal; not only is it a foundation song (if you like to call it that) for Disney, but it reaches far beyond that. Its a song thats so full of longing, hopes and wishes that I guess it could be relatable to just about anyone.
And as has been mentioned previously; she has been shoehorned into the Princess line as the others, but she is still a standout character, not just a standout Princess. A character in her own right if you will (I really agreed with her not being one of the Princesses in Kingdom Hearts but a character separate instead). Not really the sequels, but I still regard 'Ariel's Undersea Adventures' as a clear cut predecessor of The Little Mermaid. Ariel is full of personality, life, and a great sense of fun and adventure. It was there in the original film, and fleshed out through the series and subsequent musical albums released. She has probably had the most features of any other lead Disney Animated Classic character, let alone Princess ? Original film, one sequel, one prequel, three seasons of her own TV series, several volumes of music albums, and inclusion in all the Princess video games. Therefore I guess you could say she has had substantial screen time to establish herself, and to become, well, beloved by people.
So, in conclusion I think she's a brilliant character for the aforementioned reasons
… The Film That Gave Voice To A Whole Generation …