I came upon this movie in a list of must watch anime movies and downloaded it. It seemed like my type, the usual emotional/philosophical drama that I always watch. Instead it turned out to be a really sweet and understated coming of age tale that filled me with nostalgia.
Ocean waves or Umi ga kikoeru is about a boy, his best friend and his crush. Sounds cliche, I know.
Morisaki and Takato are friends, living a normal high school life in the town of Kochi, until a new arrival, a transfer student from Tokyo stirs things up. I can’t really say more without giving away the whole plot. I suck at writing synopses. Just Imdb it.
A lot of coming of age tales have very forceful plots. Big things happen, dreams get crushed and hearts get broken until the protagonist finally grows up. This movie was very understated. Small things happened in a small school in a small town and they knew it. Scenes in the school, scenes with Morisaki and his parents made me think of my school days. I don’t know why, but coming of age tales always filled me with nostalgia before I was even close to coming of age myself. I remember tearing up while watching Honey and Clover when I was thirteen.
This movie was commissioned by Studio Ghibli to give its younger talent some free rein. They were asked to make a movie within a tight budget and schedule but it ended up exceeding both. That’s too bad, but I think it was worth it. I’m guessing that because of this, the animation wasn’t very detailed, but that just made the movie better. The past is always hazy in our minds. I loved the coloring of this movie, all soft colors and white (I love white. Give me white roses any day). I don’t remember where i read that the past always seems to have a rose colored hue, with all the edges softened by time.
The soundtrack matched the feel of the movie perfectly (It’s available on Grooveshark). At the end of the movie, everybody comes back to Kochi for their high school Reunion and only then Morisaki realises what he’d been missing all along. Watch this movie people, you won’t regret it.