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- This is a major theme in Attack on Titan, where humanity only managed to escape extinction at the hands of the Titans, a race of man-eating giants, by hiding within skyscraper-sized walls. In their childhood, the main characters managed to find a rare book that spoke about the ocean, and one of their dreams is to defeat the titans so that they can see the ocean for themselves.
- Ayumi from Kaze no Stigma
- A major plot point in Kowarekake no Orgel, since Flower has only seen it before on TV.
- The civilians on Mobile Suit Gundam.
- Gretel does this in Black Lagoon.
- The Littl' Bits episode "Let's Go to the Sea".
- The whole point of the series ARIA.
- The Beach Episode in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann started like this.
- GUN×SWORD has an episode "Thank You Ocean" where captain Kaiji really really likes the briney blue.
- Earlier in the series, Wendy also displays some awe of the ocean in "Light My Fire." Van, naturally, is unimpressed.
- Featured in episode 9 of Toradora!, appropriately titled "You, who are going to the sea".
- Discussed in Blue Gender; Kaido's Satellite Love Interest for an episode or two mentions never having seen the sea, Kaido describes it in comparison with the nearby lake and promises to show her one day. He runs to be back with Marlene within the same episode.
- Exhibited by the titular character in the Beach Episode of Maid-Sama!.
- Tigre in Lord Marksman and Vanadis was in so much awe of seeing the ocean for the first time that he was just wordlessly standing there for 30 whole minutes just admiring it.
- Happens to Coo in Summer Days with Coo.
- In Fate/Zero this is a major motivation for Rider Alexander the Great. In life, he conquered his way across Asia because he wanted to see the Pacific Ocean, but he died before he got all the way there.
- Briefly touched upon in the third episode of Dragon Ball where Goku sees the sea for the first time. Given that he'd only lived in the mountains and the largest body of water he'd seen before that was a river, it's an understandable reaction.
- In the Legend of 1900 a film with Tim Roth, a guy the main character meets talks about seeing the ocean for the first time and hearing it scream (metaphorically) that the world is immense. Later he meets the man's daughter and she seems to think similar things about the ocean.
- The very timid Ninny in The Invisible Child by Tove Jansson is terrified of the sea for the reasons other characters would be awed.
- In Blast from the Past, Brendan Fraser's character (who has been living in a fallout shelter for 30 years and has only just come up into the sunlight) has what might be described as a religious experience when he finally sees the ocean.
- An ongoing theme for Red during the last half of The Shawshank Redemption.
- Seen at the end of Lord of the Rings
- Used in the movie The Plague Dogs. Tod is the first to decribe the ocean's vastness and Snitter is the most enthusiastic to get to coast.
- The Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain in Once Upon a Time in the West is motivated by a desire to see the Pacific Ocean before he dies from his illness.
- Films set in the Pacific Islands will naturally have long, sweeping panoramas of the endless sea, often combined with magnificent ships if it's a Period Piece or about traditional island culture. Moana and Whale Rider are among the most prominent examples of the 2000s. In Real Life, Pacific Islanders invoke this as the Pacific Ocean is an essential part of their culture, to the point where an alternate name for their cultural sphere is literally Oceania.
- One of the earliest examples appears in the Anabasis, when the Ten Thousand (the army of Greek mercenaries fighting their way through hostile Persian territory) reaches the Black Sea: the Black Sea was dotted with Greek colonies, meaning that the worst of the Ten Thousand's troubles were over.
- In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, this is subverted when two old ladies see the ocean for the first time. "It's not as big as I was expecting", says one.
- In the novel A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, neither the main character nor the titular best friend have ever seen the ocean, so they have plans to go together. Then the best friend, well, dies, and the main character decides she's going to take her friend's ashes and go see the sea anyway. I don't remember whether there was awe, but the longing part was a major plot point.
- True for Kenshin in ˝ Prince, even though Kenshin, being an NPC, hasn't even heard of the concept of the ocean, and the ocean he stares longingly at once he finally gets there isn't real.
- A major point in the book Kira Kira. (No, not that one)
- Tolkien was clearly fond of having a character who'd never seen the sea be impressed by it on first sight. The same happens to Tuor in The Silmarillion.
- Most of David Eddings' works feature a moment of this. He also put something of a twist on it in The Malloreon, when the main characters are being chased by the Raveners. When they reach the seaside, the ghoulish creatures immediately retreat, because, supposes Belgarath, "they're afraid of the one thing that's hungrier than they are."
- The first chapter of Moby-Dick is largely a speculation on the fascination for the sea.
Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a robust healthy soul in him, at some time or other crazy to go to sea? Why upon your first voyage as a passenger, did you yourself feel such a mystical vibration, when first told that you and your ship were now out of sight of land? Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity, and own brother of Jove? Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.
- Brian Jacques uses this in a number of the Redwall books. High Rhulian, Legend of Luke and Pearls of Lutra probably make the most of it. Also used by the same author in the Castaways trilogy. Pirates, Greek sailors, slaves and monks in The Angels Command and Voyage of Slaves all have their share of ocean gazing moments. Subverted, Ben and Ned have a special relationship with the brine too.
- An old Fremen in Dune Messiah was, by his own words, healed of the Jihad by the sight of the Caladanian ocean. Remarkable in that he came from a planet devoid of any kind of rain or surface water.
- In Warrior Cats: The New Prophecy, the four chosen ones and their two partners set out to see the ocean to fulfill their prophecy. They are all impressed when they finally get there.
- Played with a bit in Passage (volume three of Lois McMaster Bujold's Sharing Knife series). A desire by the various characters to see the ocean is a major plot point, and everyone is duly impressed when they finally make it; in the end, however, they decide they mostly prefer the river. Whit (the female protagonist's younger brother) in particular agrees that the sea "sure is impressive" but finds it a little too big; by contrast, he was practically ecstatic with joy when he got his first look at a big river.
Live Action TV
- On Homicide: Life on the Street Detectives Pembleton and Ballard took a crack dealer who'd witnessed a murder to Chesapeake Bay in order to convince him to come forward. He believes he's looking at the ocean, and while Pembleton insists on correcting him, the sight gives him a new perspective and he helps the squad.
- Played around with Garet in Golden Sun, who has never seen the sea. We do see his surprise once when he sees "its vastness", then again when he is told that what he saw was a (really big) lake / inland sea. Later, when the party obtains its Cool Ship, Garet says they're going to see the real ocean.
- This is justified to the point of a possible subversion in the game Baten Kaitos, and Baten Kaitos Origins, respectively. The characters in both of these RPGs are shocked to see the ocean because it's non-existent for most of the games, and this is a large part of the plot (hence the subtitle "Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean"). As a result, and especially in Origins, the characters thought the ocean was a myth.
- In Dark Cloud 2, Max, who had never been out of Palm Brinks before the start of the game, was awestruck at the sight of the ocean at Veniccio.
- This happens in Tales of Vesperia.
- In Mitsumete Knight, this occurs in the Event "Dusk-colored Sophia", where Sophia silently and profoundly gazes at the dusk-tainted ocean.
- Kana: Little Sister: "Today, I saw the ocean. I'm not afraid any more."