Luca is gentle and compassionate, and wants to abide by his parents’ wishes, but also needs to be true to himself. He cares about the land above and is curious about it, so he sees no real problem in staying there for weeks, never once thinking that his parents might be worried about him (just fretting that they might come and find him and get him into trouble). He reasons that they were going to send him down “into the depths,” and he’d rather die, so it’s on land or bust! Luca betrays his best friend and then feels enormous guilt about it, enough that he does the right thing at the end of the movie and takes a stand, by revealing his true identity to save Alberto. Luca isn’t satisfied with his life on the ocean floor, because he’s curious about the land above – enough to cautiously start collecting things dropped out of boats. He makes friends with Alberto quickly because Alberto doesn’t just dream about things, he makes them come true by doing them – by going on land, venturing into the town, and having wild and crazy adventures. Luca quickly adapts to his environment and wants to do more in it, once he feels safe. He turns all of the things they talk about into a fantasy through his imagination – if he hears about Saturn, he pictures walking on its rings; he thinks about traveling around the world on a Vespa with his new best friend and seeing weird and fantastical things. He forsakes his chores and his responsibilities at home to stick around and help Alberto make a Vespa, trying again and again to make it run properly, and saying any minute now he’s going home. He’s determined to do things once he sets his mind to them, but also suffers from poor sensory awareness. He cannot easily learn how to walk, he’s clumsy on a bicycle, and unrealistic in his expectations about their adventures, as well as naïve in his willingness to believe whatever Alberto says.

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Luca is quite a fearful boy, but also curious about the world above land. He advocates for caution and is highly afraid of being “found out” as a sea monster, but also is open to adventure, and persuaded by Alberto to have big dreams about what they “could do” on the surface, including buying or building a Vespa and going out to see the world. He at first obeys his parents and doesn’t venture to the surface, but once Alberto shows him it’s not so bad and in fact, is an exciting place, Luca is more interested in taking risks and going places, meeting people, doing things, eating ice cream, and having fun. He is good natured but also ashamed of betrying Alberto at the cost of concealing his own identity. He both wants a sense of permanence (to attend school, where he can learn about interesting things) and to go on adventures; he was willing to talk and dream about running off with Alberto, and leaving his life under the sea behind him.