Umi ga Kikoeru


Umi ga Kikoeru, released in English as Ocean Waves, is a 1993 anime television film by the esteemed Studio Ghibli. Directed by a relative outsider, Tomomi Mochizuki, and produced by the younger staff at Ghibli, the film is an oddity of the studio's catalogue and has become a modern curiosity to those in the west.

Unlike most other films from Studio Ghibli, Umi ga Kikoeru is a very grounded, very mature romance drama with very simple characters. You have Taku, a boring yet enthusiastic protagonist, caught in a love triangle with his book smart friend Yukata and a beautiful transfer student from Tokyo, Rikako. I don't think you could write a more standard drama premise if you tried.

In my eyes, this film is redeemed from the depths of mediocrity due to the great art direction. Umi ga Kikoeru, has almost no scenes of tense action, which allows the great hand-painted backgrounds to really shine. Animation on the film was outsourced to J.C. Staff, Oh!, and Madhouse, which let the young members focus on the other aspects of the film. Regardless of the quality of the narrative, the art is excellent, exemplary of the best that this era has to offer.


My experience with this film goes back to my childhood, perusing the DVD collection my family had. Among those DVD's was a bootleg collection of Ghibli movies from China, with essentially their entire pre-2000 catalog on six discs. Outside of the studio's mainstays, the final disc had Umi ga Kikoeru paired with the music video for ON YOUR MARK by Chage&Aska, which Miyazaki directed. As a kid, I was always curious what unknown movie lied in wait for me to watch; Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations.

Should you watch this movie? Nah. It really isn't worth watching unless you are very interested in the Studio Ghibli filmography, are a weirdo that obsesses over hand-painted backgrounds, or are looking for a kind-of-boring romance drama to fall asleep to. Otherwise, you can let this movie wash away with the tide.

Jun 9 2022

Madville Neocities

Madville. I don't own jack!