Ocean Waves (Umi ga kikoeru)

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 16


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,856
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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)

  • Jan 30, 2013
    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 B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 12, 2012
    A hilarious, yet touching story of young love by Studio Ghibli that is just seeing the light of day in North America. No idea why this did not gain more recognition over the last two decades considering that it's very well written and the audience I saw it with was complete immersed in the entire 72 minute run time. Maybe because it was different than the regular imaginative epics that Ghibli is so famous for, but still, I urge you to check this one out.
    ZACHO D Super Reviewer
  • May 22, 2010
    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 D Super Reviewer
  • Mar 07, 2010
    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 W Super Reviewer

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