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Ocean Waves [DVD]
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From Studio Ghibli, the team that brought us Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, comes Ocean Waves, an underrated gem that has never been available before on DVD outside of Japan. Ocean Waves was the first Ghibli production not directed by the studio’s creators Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Directed instead by Tomomi Mochizuki, best known for his work on Here is Greenwood and Kimagure Orange Road: I Want To Return To That Day, and made with the colloboration of up-and-coming animators from the Ghibli studio. The film is therefore very much a product of the nurturing, teaching environment that the old masters had always envisaged the studio being.
Ocean Waves is a look back at the halcyon teenage years of Taku as he journeys to a high school reunion, reflecting upon the way on love, friendship and a fateful class trip to Tokyo. Fusing a naturalistic neo-realist style with nostalgic recollection of the anxieties of first love, it is an accomplished and hugely enjoyable addition to the Studio Ghibli cannon.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ocean Waves is a story of similar impact; impacting only on three characters locked inside their own small little world. It's a story covering the journey towards adulthood of three high schoolers, where the friendship of two is damaged by the one thing besides hate that can destroy bonds - love.
Often over-looked because the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli and the director of many highly regarded Ghibli titles, had no role in the completion of the film, it's by far the most under-watched and under-rated of the Ghibli films I've watched thus far. Ocean Waves was an attempt at giving the younger staff members of Ghibli a chance to shine - a chance to come from under the shadows of the bigger names - and shine they did, though not as brightly as they would've hoped.
:: Story :: -- 8.5-9/10
In a nutshell, Ocean Waves is a romance, featuring a love triangle, without any supernatural elements whatsoever being included. There are black comedy and depressing sections of the story, leading to the ending being somewhat unpredictable.
Prior to a girl called Rikako transferring from Tokyo to a high school located in a small town by the sea, Taku and Yutaka shared a close friendship; one forged at the back-end of junior high when they were the only two in their school to persist in standing against the school's decision to cancel the school trip. From then onwards, despite being in different classes, the two remained close, inside and outside of school. But Rikako changed everything. Yutaka fell in love with her at first sight, starting with when he - as the class representative - showed her around the school.Read more ›
I've seen many anime films and series where the central element is teenage romance, and they are often predictable and follow a similar formula. I was worried that Ocean Waves would fall into a similar trap but through use of retrospective narrative and seen alongside a friendship under threat, this makes for a compelling story.
Instead of being a cutesy, predictable tale of 'boy meets girl' we are presented with an awkward and slightly odd relationship. Rikako is an attractive girl, but she's an outsider from the city who doesn't seem to integrate well. Her anti-social behaviour doesn't endear her to the other students at school and she seems to be making every effort to not mix with the others. The only connection she seems to make is with Taku, a male student who seems to be resisting his own feelings towards Rikaki through loyalty to his friend who has taken quite a shine to her. We see how the two boys became friends after being the only ones protesting against the cancellation of a school trip, it's a moment which brings them together and cements a relationship which gives a history to their friendship.
The synopsis for the film is simple and sounds almost flimsy, but through excellent character development this animated feature turns a frequently told story into an original piece of work which grabs you from the beginning. It's almost difficult to like Rikaki initially, she maybe beautiful but she's also petulant and self-centred. At times she appears quite dishonest too and you see how she is causing cracks in a friendship which deserves better, but she is human and has flaws as we all do.Read more ›
I bought the original DVD from Japan awhile ago, and I really enjoyed it, it doesn't have a 'magical' feeling like other Studio Films, however it has a certain feeling that will pull you in to love it.
Basically If you like Only Yesterday, you will like this film, they both have a similar feel although this film is directed by Tomomi Mochizuki, and Only Yesterday was directed by Isao Takahata.
I hope you will enjoy it just as much as I did.
*This DVD is in Japanese Audio W/ English Subtitles
To add a sticker to this DVD with "by the makers of Spirited Away" it's wrong. First, should be made clear that it's a subtitled film (I always watch the films in their original language, but a LOT of people don't, and they won't have the choice). And second, even though it's a studio Ghibli film, that doesn't mean that it's going to be "Spirited Away".
I think it's unfair to class this film as a romantic film, at least in the western sense of it (subtle and with lots of unsaid words, watch out for face expressions). I would say it's more a drama, a Japanese drama for adults. In actual fact, once you watch this film you'll forget it was an animation film, because it's quite in the style of a Japanese non-animation drama. Also, it's way more realistic than any other anime films that happen in a school.
For someone interested in Japanese culture you'll be pleased to noticed all the nuances of Japanese everyday life: the sound of the local trains, the izakaya, the street signs, the customs... very detailed indeed.
The story is simple but interesting and believable. I won't spoil it for you, but if you liked My Neighbours The Yamadas [DVD] and/or Only Yesterday [DVD] you should definitely give this one a try.
If you think you might like this drama, don't miss this hidden gem at a very interesting price.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Arrived promptly and in neat packaging, happy to give this as a birthday present. Have not heard about the quality of the film, but is supposed to be good.Published 3 months ago by Anonymous
Although not originally greatly received, this is another Ghibli classic, it follows a classic love story, without the magical unrealistic world of most Ghibli films, but I enjoyed... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Abby Lea