Ocean Waves is a high school love story set in Kochi, Japan. Morisaki Taku and Matsuno Yutaka are best friends when a girl from Tokyo named Muto Rikako transfers to their school. Excluding herself from group activities, she's eventually labeled a snob. Matsuno has a crush on Rikako, so it's no surprise that he gets a little jealous when Morisaki and Rikako start spending more time together. The rumors around school get worse, but Morisaki still insists there is nothing between him and Rikako.
This is one of the most underrated ghibli movies. It's certainly quite different from the other ghibli movies. It doesn't contain any fantasy and Hayao Miyazaki isn't involved in the production anyhow. It's just a slice of life/drama/romance story, a hell of a good one too. Ocean Waves may be one of the most natural animes I've seen. It doesn't throw in a load of super tragic drama or anything of that kind. It only tells the story of a group of teenagers as they walk the path to adulthood.
The story is takes place in Kochi, Japan, a small town by the sea. Morisaku Taku
and Matsuno Yutaka are two ordinary high schoolers and best friends. In the middle of the semester a city girl named Muto Rikako transfers to Matsuno's class. As the class representative he has to show her around school and that's how they get know each other, soon enough Morisaku is introduced to her. Muto has quite a hard time getting into the class. She's talented at sports and studies and quickly becomes popular, but that changes as many of the girls get envious of her and she becomes known for being a snob.
The art and animations are really good. No different from any other works from studio ghibli. If your fond of the typical 90s animations you will definitely like the art in this one. The characters looks typically ghibli, but the design is quite different. It doesn't "re-use" the same main characters as many ghibli movies seem to do. Not just only the way they look. The personalities are really different too. Morisaku is just the ordinary kind and honest guy, the one that is always there to help. Matsuno is the reliable best friend that's very respected by Morisaku. Muto is kind of spoiled and self-centered. She acts very tough though she's actually pretty sensitive. I think the characters develop great and I could really tell how they've matured through time.
The music was really good, very calm and fitting. It set the right mood. Voice acting is also very well done. The only thing I can complain about is the sound quality at times but it could have been fansub group's doing.
I enjoyed this movie a lot. It's just a charming and relaxing story that will make you smile. It's not super romantic just very sweet at times. It's one of those stories that make you wish for the characters happiness. Anyone who loves a down to earth, short love story will enjoy this movie and if you enjoyed Whisper of the heart you may like this one.
Ocean Waves is not trying to be anything more than it is, and what it is, is absolutely fine. The story moves very smoothly and the perspective of our young protagonist Taku is set lucid immediately, showing classic hero potential in challenging his school on a decision he finds unfair. He is rational, hard working and emotionally moral. He takes a sight of Rikako, a fiery, athletic beauty and childishly does not realise that he is mad about her, fine, however:-
As a strong upholder of ROMANCE, Ocean Waves is not critical enough in delivering the heart wrenching moments which it clearly builds up for, as
the characters are endearing and well developed in emotional integrity. For me, it borders irritatingly on adolescent, as there are far too many missed opportunities for real love to blossom on screen. It would be argued that this is not what the film or original story ever set about doing, however, one cannot help but feel bitter not seeing the climax of humanity's better emotions, in neither words or embrace.
A friend of mine said that Studio Ghibli is practically a Japanese Disney, and with this in some area's I would wholly agree, though I have found at times all of their films to be incredibly mature and perhaps beyond the reach of younger audiences. Ocean Waves is no exception to this, as the ever impending love anti-climax is noticeable only when it's too late to be called subtle.
It is high school, she is a vulnerable beauty, for God's sake man, kiss her, just do it, do you not realise that she wants you to?
It makes me wonder, is it worth dedicating your own emotions to more than capable story lines if there are not fire works at the end, merely a screeching bottle rocket, slowly fading into a dismal silent fart.
This movie is a piece of crap. This is coming from a fan of Studio Ghibli movies and the slice of life/drama genre.
It's about this girl who nobody likes, and for good reason. She moves to Kochi, in the country and makes fun of the peoples' accent there, so already she's kind of a racist to begin with. Then she mooches this guy's money just to take a trip back to Tokyo where she's from. Snobby bitch. So the guy that loaned her the money does her a favor and escorts her there and she barges into his hotel room, gets drunk as fuck
and passes out in his bed without putting out AT ALL.
Then when they get back to Kochi, she tells everybody she stayed in his bedroom and gives him a bad reputation and he calls her on her shit and the bitch has the audacity to slap him in his goddamn face! Then he goes BIIIITCH! and slaps her back. Later on the girls in the class gang up on her because they see what a cunt she's being to everyone and dude overhears it and she gets mad at him for the and slaps him in the face AGAIN!
So the movie turns out to be about the guy that gets abused throughout the movie realizing he likes her in the end, but with no explanation why anybody would like her stupid ass. Actually she's pretty smart because her antisocial behavior gets her good grades.
It's weird that everybody talks about how good looking she is, but all the characters in Ghibli movies seem to have the same face anyway, so I didn't see what the big deal was. There was a chick playing tennis that had some nice titties that would have made a much better main character.
Waves in the ocean. Ripples in water. Occurrences that don't impact on the world as a whole.
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. Yutaka also called Taku to the school on the same day, wanting to show the new girl to his best friend, and that's when their relationship started to become troubled; when Taku also became enchanted by her beauty.
The story is a simple yet moving affair. It's almost certain to be hard-hitting for anyone who has developed feelings for someone a close friend also has feelings for. Watching Taku attempt to sustain a friendship whilst being pulled deeper and deeper into the selfish world of Rikako, it was difficult for me not to get pulled into the world of the characters. Even for those who can't relate to the struggles of the characters, like myself, it'd be an absorbing experience.
The only real story negative is that it's too short, the film only lasting for around 70 minutes. Given that Ocean Waves was a 'youth of Ghilbli' project, with a small budget (which they ended up going over), it isn't shocking that one-third of the love triangle didn't get as much time as the other two-thirds. Likewise, it isn't a shock that the story ended right when it reached the good part; when the story reached its peak. But, viewed as it is, the story has enough quality to justify the 9/10 (rounded from 8.5) score I'm awarding it.
:: Characterization :: - 8.5/10
The main two characters (the two who get the most time - Taku and Rikako) are fleshed out well enough so that I was able to get an excellent understanding of their personalities. Taku is your typical nice guy, willing to help someone work through their problems without gaining anything in return, but he's also honest, being blunt where necessary. Rikako, on the other hand, is a spoilt child, blaming the break-up of her parents' marriage on her mother because she was forced to move away from Tokyo. Where as Taku shows consideration by thinking of the feelings of Yutaka, she thinks only of herself - lying to get money in order to return to Tokyo, deceiving her friend in an attempt to get her to go to Tokyo with her and many other things. But, as they say, opposites attract, and over the course of the story she starts to learn through experience.
My only issue with Rikako is that, because of the short length of the film, nearly all of it focused on her being selfish. Not enough was shown of her other side, or of her growth into a a more mature person - one not locked inside her own little world. If the film had been twenty minutes longer, with some scenes added just before and after the ending, I feel it would've improved the experience.
However, my main characterization issue doesn't lie with Rikako. The third part of the love triangle, Yutaka, quite simply didn't get anywhere near enough time for him to develop into more than a well-used plot device. Nearly all of the film focused on the developments of Taku and Rikako, Yutaka being excluded completely during the black comedy section in the middle. Yutaka being the friend of Taku and making him think twice about his feelings for Rikako made the story work, but it would've been more powerful if there had been three characters to care for rather than two.
On the whole, the characterization is very good. The realism of Rikako's personality in particular is worth noting. But I can't quite give the characterization side a 9/10 score when there could've been added development - development which would've increased my enjoyment.
:: Art / Animation :: - 8.5/10
As you'd expect of a Ghibli title, Ocean Waves is pleasing visually. The animation flowed (though, with it being realistic, there wasn't any fast-paced action or the like) and there were no obvious over-budget issues that caught my eye. The only negative that springs to mind is the trademark Ghibli facial artwork, which is the same except in the cases of certain types of characters. Having watched a couple of Ghibli titles in quick succession, I've noticed how the faces are often identical. What highlighted this to me in the case of Ocean Waves was towards the end, when I noticed that one of the supporting female characters with her hair like Rikako looked just like her (I thought it was her at first.)
To be fair, I'm probably nit-picking. What matters with regards to the faces is that the characters' emotions are conveyed, and the expression side had no issues whatsoever. When Rikako was pissed off and gave Taku the 'evil eye' feared by men worldwide, she looked convincing. When Taku lost his patience with Rikako because of her selfish ways, his feelings were etched on his face. Etc, etc. On the whole, the art impressed me, and I see no reason to mark a drama down because it had no action to be animated.
:: Sound :: - 8/10
The soundtrack has a good range of songs, ranging from depressing piano tracks to uplifting tracks, and the music fitted the mood well. After finishing the film, I couldn't recall an excellent piece I wanted to listen to over and over, but I did appreciate the soundtrack after downloading and listening to it away from the film, with no pretty images to distract me. There's music that sets the mood and music that's wonderful to listen to away from what it played alongside, and the Ocean Waves soundtrack is the former.
As for the voice acting, I felt whilst watching that the voices fitted the characters well enough. Like in the case of the music, I didn't end the film with any of the voices stuck inside my brain, but I didn't end with any negative feelings about the acting.
:: Overall :: - 8/10
To sum it up, Ocean Waves is something for anyone who can handle anime without supernatural elements distancing its story from reality. It's a must watch for fans of romance with a realistic edge.
Don't ignore it simply because of its unknown status compared to the other Ghibli titles. A lot of people go into anime to escape reality - to see something different - and I'm sure that has played a part in it being scored harshly compared to certain other Ghibli titles. It's more than worthy of a place in any Ghibli collection. Trust me when I say that Miyazaki not being involved doesn't make it any less of a film.