Aquarianne is one of Disney's pre-Renaissance mermaids, as the episode featuring her aired between 1984's Splash! and 1989's The Little Mermaid. With the character and her show (Adventures of the Gummi Bears) being aimed at a younger audience, she is not entirely topless like the former film's Madison, and neither does she display what was described as Ariel's quality of being "innocently sexy." Rather, Aquarianne has a tail whose scales cover her like a moderately-conservative evening gown, wholly covering her torso and breasts and forming a finned decolletage about her lower neckline. Increasing the busyness of this neckline is a necklace adorned with scallop shells and a conch shell which she uses as a very important whistle.
This whistle summons the whale-like leviathan known as Finwithit, who serves as Aquarianne's constant protector. The rest of Aquarianne's appearance suggests that she is accustomed to a somewhat sheltered existence, for her features are somewhat childlike. Her human parts are softly shaped, her long blonde hair is naturally downy and voluminous, and her gentle eyes suggest both intelligence and innocence.
If ever a character could be described as "cautiously adventurous", it is Aquarianne. A great deal of mystery surrounds her, beginning as soon as she is found washed up on the beach, but she always carries herself with an air of quiet, gentle confidence, even when frightened or despairing. Like dolphins and other cetacean nonhuman persons, Aquarianne is altruistic and will swiftly rescue anyone she perceives to be drowning, regardless of species or general bent towards good or evil. Unfortunately, this impulsive kindness often leaves her vulnerable.
Fortunately, Aquarianne has Finwithit - a massive sea creature easily 20-30 feet long - to come to her rescue. It is unknown whether he was assigned to be her guardian by her merfolk society or if they met in some other manner, but Finwithit is a companion whom Aquarianne has come to depend upon very much. Finwithit provides a little intriguing insight into Aquarianne's world, for despite her adventurous innocence she is acutely aware of her nigh-helplessness on land and is swift to call upon his aid; nevertheless, Aquarianne never abuses this privilege and clearly cares about Finwithit deeply.
Aquarianne's attitude toward the surface world is somewhat unique among depictions of mermaids. She is, of course, not a predacious monster like so many mermaids seen in recent years, but neither is she quite so much like Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid as other mermaids of years past. She may look like a classic animation of said mermaid, but she harbors no preconceptions about surface life and is prepared to defend herself against threats therefrom. This makes her easily-influenced - as Sunni so swiftly discovered - but it does not dampen her heroic and kind spirit.
Being a mermaid, Aquarianne possesses some special abilities not possessed by normal humans.
- Mermaid Swimming: Having a mermaid tail, Aquarianne is capable of swimming more swiftly and efficiently than an equivalent creature with legs (that is why the legs and feet of whales and dolphins evolved into tails with flukes).
- Aquatic Empathy: Aquarianne has the ability to speak or otherwise communicate with aquatic animals, though this may extend only to cetaceans. Not only does she communicate with Finwithit via her conch-shell whistle and speak with him as though he can understand her, but she also is able to enlist the aid of dolphins as mounts and companions.
Aquarianne is first discovered while beached and partially covered by seaweed and flotsam with only her mermaid tail visible; thus she is initially mistaken for a large fish. Once the truth is revealed, Gusto becomes obsessed with using her as an artistic subject; so much so that he actually grabs her and Aquarianne, already at a serious disadvantage on land, becomes frightened and blows the small conch-shell whistle about her neck. This summons Finwithit, a huge cetacean perhaps related to the cachalot (sperm) whale, who routs both Gummi Bears. Now perceiving herself safe, Aquarianne calls off the pursuit and she and Finwithit examine Gusto's sketchbook, which he abandoned in his haste to escape. The mermaid is impressed by the artwork therein and resolves to return it to its rightful owner, yet as she is swimming after Gusto she is spotted by Duke Igthorn and his minions...
Aquarianne arrives at Gusto's home in time to rescue Sunni, who has fallen into the water, from drowning. Unfortunately, the sketchbook did not survive its underwater voyage, and Aquarianne wonders how she can make it up to Gusto. He tells her that he will be happy if she allows him to sketch her. Aquarianne agrees, yet Sunni - who had repeatedly offered herself as a subject for Gusto - becomes so jealous that she lies to her, saying that Gusto really wants to capture her so that he can eat her. Aquarianne believes Sunni, especially after Gusto promises to 'hang her over his mantle piece', and escapes into the water.
The mermaid shortly thereafter discovers Toadwart, who appears to be drowning. Always the altruistic heroine, Aquarianne attempts to rescue him, only to discover that it is a trap as Toad tries to overpower her. Aquarianne is able to send him flying with a flip of her tail, but Igthorn then catches her in a fishing net which he had prepared for this purpose. Though unable to escape by herself, Aquarianne knows that she has a protector to help her - until Igthorn takes her conch whistle from her. The Duke has Aquarianne taken back to his castle, for he plans to use the whistle to trick Finwithit into helping him seize Dunwyn Castle. Locked in a slave cart, a dehydrated Aquarianne falls into unconsciousness.
Aquarianne awakens with the feel of water on her body; Sunni has splashed her with a bucket full. At first she is frightened to find Gusto there too, yet Sunni explains her deception and he apologizes for causing her to feel neglected. However, he doesn't want to neglect the ogres of Drekmore Castle either, and thus he and Sunni work together to lift and carry Aquarianne out of the cart and - hopefully - out of the castle. They literally bump into an ogre, however, yet Aquarianne is able to stun him with a blow from her powerful tail. The ogre swiftly recovers and gathers his fellows, yet fortunately Aquarianne was being held in a courtyard and thus she and the Gummies are able to escape by leaping from the castle into the water.
To speed her party more swiftly through the water, Aquarianne enlists the aid of dolphins to serve as mounts for herself, Sunni, and Gusto. Together they reach Dunwyn Keep just as Finwithit is breaking through its outer wall, unaware that his captive companion was in another castle. Gusto's feathered companion is able to cause Toadwart to drop the conch whistle, however, and it is returned to Aquarianne. She uses it call off Finwithit's attack, and he rewards Igthorn and his companions with a swipe of his tail which creates a wave knocking them all into the river. Aquarianne understands Sunni's feelings of jealousy and forgives her easily; the two then pose for Gusto in one another's arms.