Ocean Waves (Umi ga kikoeru)

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Reviews Counted: 16

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Reviews Count: 0
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Average Rating: 3.5/5

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Movie Info

Rarely seen outside of Japan, OCEAN WAVES is a subtle, poignant and wonderfully detailed story of adolescence and teenage isolation. Taku and his best friend Yutaka are headed back to school for what looks like another uneventful year. But they soon find their friendship tested by the arrival of Rikako, a beautiful new transfer student from Tokyo whose attitude vacillates wildly from flirty and flippant to melancholic. When Taku joins Rikako on a trip to Tokyo, the school erupts with rumors, and the three friends are forced to come to terms with their changing relationships.


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Critic Reviews for Ocean Waves (Umi ga kikoeru)

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (4)

  • I'm not calling for Marvin the Martian to lead a parade of pink elephants down Main Street, but what's the point of animating if the end goal is to simply trace over an ABC Afterschool Special?

    Feb 16, 2017 | Rating: 0/5 | Full Review…
  • A delicate, well-told drama that may lack the depth of something like Only Yesterday but proves that Miyazaki and Takahata's students were listening to their teachers.

    Dec 28, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Spreads its paper-thin story across a stodgy 72 minutes, but there's a warmth to it that prevents the film from ever feeling as two-dimensional as it looks on screen.

    Dec 27, 2016 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • In its sensitivity and attention to detail, "Ocean Waves" makes itself into something special, and kind of magical, and so proves very much a Ghibli gem.

    Dec 27, 2016 | Full Review…
  • It has some nice moments and the animation is lovely so I'm glad I saw it.

    Feb 6, 2019 | Rating: 5/10 | Full Review…
  • These visual flourishes are not always matched by the story. Ocean Waves is slight, and there's no getting around that. Still, the film never loses its innate likability, and is a brisk 76 minutes.

    Mar 9, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ocean Waves (Umi ga kikoeru)

A delightful little film from Studio Ghibli. On the surface it isn't about much, just a boy who reminisces about the one that got away. In a brief 70 minutes we follow the lives of these Japanese high school students, and are completely engrossed with the world and politics of high school. There's a quiet sensibility that many people will recognise from some of Ghibli's other films such as Only Yesterday. Lovely animation brings Japan to life in a way that even live-action films sometimes fail to do. With delicate music and vocal performances this is a wonderful little film that I will probably revisit again soon.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer


Studio Ghibli's realistic reflection of adolescent love, shown with smooth flashbacks and great illustrations. The film has also able to put an uncertain light of enigma to the main female character: Rikako. It is not one of those Ghibli films that stirs naive imaginations with colorful images, but it portrays a knowing life, vulnerable of heartbreak and happiness, against a serene backdrop of Kochi, Japan. I do not know why I did not like this TV film that much, maybe because along its conceived mature tone, the makers has also able to insert some teenage cuteness, which I'm not fond of.

Ivan Descartin
Ivan Descartin

Super Reviewer


This is a really odd film as almost nothing happens. It's simply small-town boy meets awkward city girl, and yet it's totally captivating and reminded me of John Hughes' work in tone. If you're looking for massive robots knocking the crap out of other massive robots, this is not the film for you. Nor is it the next Ghost In The Machine. But, I do recommend it as it's yet another quality, character-led piece of work from Ghibli.

Marcus Woolcott
Marcus Woolcott

Super Reviewer


I didn't get the story of this movie... I know it stories about teenagers and their problem in school, but still the story have no point... But the score was pretty good... And having a story like that into an animation movie wasn't a bad idea at all...

Sanjaya  丘耀文
Sanjaya 丘耀文

Super Reviewer

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