RIGHT OFF THE BAT!!! THIS REVIEW IS NOT SPOILER FREE!!!!!!!
Not gonna lie I originally posted this review/report in a twitter thread but it's so detailed it deserves to be a review here. Due to this though, it's not in the standard review form.
Report: Children of the Sea (film)
Aaaaaaa I loved the film so so much (non manga reader)
Overall it was a very solid movie (cont. SPOILERS)
Disclaimer: this is all opinion!!! You can disagree!!! You can agree!!!
The story was easy enough to follow but I could tell they'd removed a number of other plotlines in order to fit the main story into a short 110 minutes.
The biggest example being the hinted abuse, exploitation and mistreated of Umi and Sora by the oceanographers. This missing plotline then tied in with the science of the boys' deteriorating physical condition, Joe's actions and disappearance towards the end of the film, and Anglade's relation to the happenings of the film, leaving many questions unresolved. The history of the "festival" is also left unsaid, adding more questions. Despite this, the movie still flows well and all of the things mentioned above come from my own observatory inclinations. Much is left out, but not enough to spoil the film for a non manga reader (me). The main story doesn't give quite enough information to become invested in the characters, namely the 3 leads. Sora and Umi (esp Sora) are gone almost as soon as they appear with how the film was paced. (Personal statement but Sora is a little shit and I love him for it).
Animation was above average but obviously not UBW level. The art (which is adapted well from page to screen) was the real breadwinner for this film. I will note, though, that the use of CG was done very nicely. CG is looking like the next big step in anime and this film is definitely a shuffle forward. That being said it could be thanks to the art and its compatibility to the medium.
It must be said that the artwork and style of the film is absolutely breathtaking. The last 30 minutes of the film showcase some of the most gorgeous, detailed art I've ever seen in the medium, and I'd dare say that Children of the Sea challenged Itou Junji's oceanic masterpiece Gyo more than a few times, namely the deep sea shark that is showcased.
Music (OST by Joe Hisaishi)
Hisaishi composed for greats like Spirited Away, Laputa, other Ghibli classics and This Corner Of The World (drama). Unfortunately, his composition for Children of the Sea failed to capture me like it had countless times before. This was probably due to lack of "That One Track", that one work in the OST that manages to stick with you even after you've left the theatre. The reason for this track not existing within the Children fo the Sea soundtrack is due to Kenshi Yonezu's Umi no Yuurei. Despite this, the soundtrack still serves its purpose, and quite well at that. Subtle changes in tone between land and ocean made all the difference, and really added weight to the characters' movements depending on the setting at the time and scenes where the two tones met were truly majestic.
The theme song of Children of the Sea is Umi no Yuurei (ghost of the sea) by Kenshi Yonezu, a song I've been raving about since its release before the film. You can tell Yonezu put a lot of love into the song, and its relation to Children of the Sea is undeniable with the lyrics seeming to be the words of Ruka for Umi and Sora whom she'll never "see" again, yet is forever tied to.It's so hard for me to not go crazy analysing Umi no Yuurei as there's so much I could talk about, but in the end I feel the best way to understand my overflowing emotions towards this song even before watching the film is to listen to it yourself. The one comment I will make it that Thank God Children of the Sea was able to live up to Yonezu's song, I was quite worried after DAOKO and Yonezu sung the theme for Fireworks (not full title), which ended up as a flop of a film, but I'm glad he wrote for such a good film.
If I had to give Children of the Sea a score out of 10, I, personally, would give it a 9/10 as it hit all my good spots but generally give it a 7.5/10 as it's heavily philosophical and symbolic, which I know peeves quite a few people.