Anime / Ocean Waves

No wonder they can hear the Ocean

A 1993 made-for-TV animated film from Studio Ghibli, Ocean Waves (海がきこえる / Umi ga Kikoeru, translated as I Can Hear the Sea) was based on the novel of the same name by Saeko Himuro and directed by Tomomi Mochizuki.

The movie concerns Taku Morisaki, a young man from Kochi, Japan, looking back on his high school days and recalling the Love Triangle between himself; his best friend, class president Yutaka Matsuno; and beautiful transfer student Rikako Muto. During a class trip to Hawaii, Rikako cons Taku out of a large sum of money so she can go visit her father in Tokyo, but Taku unexpectedly gets mixed up in her plans and goes along with her. There, he learns that there's a lot more to the troubled young woman than he thought. Back at home, Taku's clandestine trip with Rikako causes friction between him and Yutaka, who's had feelings for Rikako ever since he met her.

Ocean Waves was the first Ghibli film not directed by Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata. It was conceived as a test run for Ghibli's younger staff members to prove they could make a quality film quickly and cheaply. However, it went both over-budget and over-schedule, and was not considered a success. The film was released in Europe in 2008 and Australia in 2010 with English subtitles. It has never been picked up for release in North America.

This film contains examples of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: The other girls in Rikako's class harass her for not fitting in. The main girl who gave her a hard time turns over a new leaf by the class reunion.
  • Alpha Bitch: Rikako acts like this to hide her frustration at her life.
  • Broken Bird
  • Class Representative: Yutaka. He falls in love with Rikako while performing his duty of helping her acclimate to her new school.
  • Class Reunion: The last act of the movie takes place several years after Taku graduated, when he's preparing to go to his class reunion, where he fixes his relationship with Yutaka and becomes friends with him again while hoping Rikako will show.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Rikako downs three rum and Cokes at one point. She acts more like a younger version of a Lady Drunk, though.
  • In Vino Veritas: At the class reunion near the end, one of Taku's old classmates gets drunk off his ass and confesses his love for Rikako's friend. She's embarrassed, but they get together.
  • Love Triangle
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Taku.
  • Product Placement: A can of Sprite is shown prominently in one scene.