Umi ga kikoeru (I Can Hear the Sea) (The Ocean Waves) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Umi ga kikoeru (I Can Hear the Sea) (The Ocean Waves) Reviews

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February 8, 2015
I enjoyed this not well known Studio Ghibli TV Movie. It is aimed more for an adult audience much like Only Yesterday (1991) was. The film is about a young man named Taku (Nobuo Tobita) who is returning home for a high school reunion. While boarding his train he see's a young lady named Rikako (Yoko Sakamoto) who was his first love. The movie then is a flashback while Taku is flying to Kochi and tells the story of how he met Rikako and how she was a big part during his movement from a child into real maturity. The film is slow paced, but at a brisk 72 minutes it moves along well with the dialogue and the fact that many people regardless that the film came out 23 years ago can still relate to those strange and awkward growing moments in life. Overall, I enjoyed this one just as much as other Studio Ghibli films. It won't be for everyone (it's subtitled), but for those interested I definitely recommend giving it a look if you can find a copy.
December 28, 2014
A very nice slice of life film.
December 14, 2014
This quiet film from the early days of Studio Ghibli is surprisingly enjoyable.
I'm not one who typically sits through a soft adolescent romance, but the main characters, their teen-emotion-driven decisions, feelings of being lost, of coming to know themselves and of consequently coming to know each other; caught my attention and held me all the way through.
½ December 13, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:

Japan is a beautiful place. I recently had a trip there that took me to the humble landscapes of Kyoto, the polite urban flourish of Osaka, and the dazzling lights of Tokyo. My fondness of the country and the culture could not be contained as it made me think of my own culture and society, which led me to find negative aspects I never noticed before or simply chose to ignore. This adventure was a big step for me, as I have never been to a country that I had no pre-understanding of the social values and rituals; I was put in a place where very little spoke my language, which made aspects that I took for granted like public transport and navigation difficult to grasp, but within a couple of days, my family and I got the hang of it and started to find the convenience behind this once difficult system. The experience certainly opened doors for me, not letting my mind be restricted to think that success in life is found in a singular environment; I can go to Japan, and be just as fulfilled as I would be here in Australia or in Europe or in the U.S.A.

Seeing Ocean Waves has brought back all of those memories, right from the start when I saw glimpse of the Japanese Railway system, which I personally had the pleasure to experience. It was seeing the architecture, the food, and the people that led me to a feeling of nostalgia, even if it wasn't too long ago. I guess I haven't completely adjusted back to the normal life I used to live, and in a way I guess I don't want to. I do not want to get too off-track with this review, so I'll swerve back and say that Ocean Waves is another one of Studio Ghibli's films that tells a grounded and accessible story, and using its animated medium to create a certain feeling of magic in its characters and relationships.

This is a film that one can easily relate to. Who has not had drama during their time in school? Who has not had that one girl/boy that came in and unintentionally, or intentionally, started drama? These are things that happen day in and day out in our lives, and in a way they made our time there magical; almost like something that you would only see in the big screen. It is when we step into reality, becoming independent, is when the magic starts to fade; the harshness of reality starts to shape minds and bodies, in order to adapt to its competitive and complex habitat. It is when we are here that our previous experience becomes glorified, that we wish that we had those middling problems again to replace the hardships that we have to endure now. Ocean Waves captures this feeling beautifully, showing a feeling of honesty in its storytelling and intelligence in its usage of the melodramatic tone. This sense of melodrama is present to push the film's themes of urban vs rural, nostalgia, youth, innocence, and of course love. The film uses the premise of a new girl in a new place to push the dividing idea of two different cultures.

This transferred student, Rikako Muto, has shaken up the entire school without even her knowing it, as this clash of cultures create feelings of jealousy, anger, and sadness. Muto symbolises the perfect girl under everyone's eyes, even though she herself has an enormous amount of problems, because she possesses qualities that many girls in that area seem to lack; and the film views her at the start of the film with this magical quality. As the film starts to break her down and expose her vulnerabilities and traits, she becomes much more humanised and at times antagonistic, but remained throughout as sympathetic. The sense of drama in this film helped keep the film interesting with every scene, and it manages to tell its story with an appropriate running time, 72 minutes, that keeps the film focused and the audience constantly engaged. Ocean Waves may feature similar traits to Only Yesterday, exploring feelings of Nostalgia, but this film handles its material with much better balance; managing to convey thought provoking themes, without the sacrifice of a feel-good, light-hearted story.

It is films like Ocean Waves and Whisper of the Heart that stand out from many of Studio Ghibli's films because it takes themes that are close to home and tells them in such a way that does not over emphasise the medium. They manage to hit us in places that we never thought existed or would be targeted in cinema, because we always think that cinema should be something bigger than reality. Studio Ghibli manages to capture both sides of the spectrum of cinema and does so with stories that warms our hearts and provoke our brains. There is simply no other studio quite like it.
½ September 15, 2014
An ordinary romantic drama with Japanese customs, but not at the same level as what Ghibli had done due to the quality being shrunk to a smaller size for a TV movie. There's no magic and the fun was sort of replaced by whether it's an interest to you to watch it while the heart was also sort of somewhat replaced with blandness, which makes this the first 3.5-star Ghibli film. Although, I won't say it'd affected the run since it was released between the 4.5-star "Porco Rosso" and the other 3.5-star "Pom Poko" and it's only in the television area not the theatrical area.

The storytelling was done by a crew of people in their 20s and 30s, probably sharing stories about school life and helping your first love while being appreciated without a returned affection. Making this an ordinary story with romance and drama in anime form, without any Ghibli magic.

"Ocean Waves" isn't the least of the Ghibli films (it's better than "Pom Poko" despite given the same rating unfortunately), and it's worth watching if you have any free time. Also like "Only Yesterday," it hasn't been dubbed. Meaning it can be treated as a foreign film and those kind of films are fun to watch when they're in a different language (only if it's backed-up with English subs). (B)

(Full review coming soon)
½ August 27, 2014
Ghibli has that ability to turn a simple story and animation into something that is sophisticated. This movie is the perfect example of that. :3
½ July 30, 2014
It's not bad, it's just not as good as it could have been. I would have liked for it to engage more, but what I got was enjoyable, so I can't complain much.
July 8, 2014
Com um final idílico feliz, Ocean Waves, "fala" com todos aqueles que já sentiram algo forte por alguém! 80% :D 09/07/2014
½ March 4, 2014
No es mala, pero se echa en falta más dramatismo y una mejor presentación de la evolución de los personajes. Muy inferior frente a otras piezas fílmicas de la misma factoría y de otras.
February 23, 2014
Girls are complex and weird. Boys are less complex and weird.
December 30, 2013
Slightly better than Only Yesterday in my opinion. However, the animation isn't as high quality as theatrically released Ghibli films. It feels like Only Yesterday, with similar animation and feel. Not Ghibli's best though. The story is simple and boring sometimes. The romance is pretty well-developed. But the ending leaves you wanting more, which I don't really like. Just tell us whether they end up together or not.
October 27, 2013
Another heart warming film from Studio Ghibli *sigh*
½ October 14, 2013
Este es un film de esos que sabe evocar la nostalgia además de tocar diversos temas referentes a la vida humana... realmente disfrutable y sensible, otro batazo del estudio Ghibli, bello...
½ September 21, 2013
Was waiting for something different, got a bit disappointed.
½ August 30, 2013
Studio Ghibli never ever let's you done and this is another fine example of their work. The film is a bit romantic for my normal taste but nonetheless as has happened before with this studio I can't help but enjoy to watch and be mesmerised by the artwork.
August 28, 2013
A simple yet compelling story that successfully captures the ups and downs of adolescence, first loves and friendships through the story off quite simply, boy meets girl. That sells this film short, its a beautiful rendition of the story we all went through at some point, or are yet to go through, or indeed are at this moment. Capturing the essence of coming to terms with love without extraneous circumstances is something hard to capture in film, and even more so in animation. However, this short film seems fills me with nostalgic euphoria, maybe its just my age. Its hard not to compare this films to other such works by Studio Ghibli such as Whisper to the Heart and From up on poppy hill, both of which are far more fleshed out in terms of plot and production. Yet, in a way the charm of this film is that it doesn't need to be flushed out to be great. Simple artwork, simple story, simple soundtrack, yet anything more would be irrelevant.
August 2, 2013
Simplistic and enjoyable: this film drifts along nicely with some engaging relationships and a lovely Japanese high-school setting that I enjoyed. I found it a bit of a stumbling block that Muto was mostly an unlikeable love interest but then certain aspects of her character were also slightly refreshing. The evolution into maturity is only briefly touched on and presented but it is nice to see that they are all able to move past the drama and immaturity of high-school. All had a very nostalgic feel that occasionally became so slow it lost my interest but only ever slightly: overall I really enjoyed it.
June 24, 2013
Excellent anime... gentle, realistic and bittersweet, this is the sort of film that would have a much bigger following were it live action; unfortunately, as is usually the case, turning it into a live action movie would almost certainly ruin it. This is the sort of anime to watch with your significant other on Valentines day, snuggling on the sofa, as you show him or her that anime does not always mean tentacles, mecha, and unfeasibly large eyed girls. Well drawn and well acted, the characters in Ocean waves seem far more alive than most live-action Hollywood stars, which shows that good plotting, good acting and internal consistency will always triumph over massive budgets and special effects. I'll be watching it again for definite.
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