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Ocean Waves 76min | Animation, Drama, Romance | July 13, 1994 (United States) Summary: As a young man returns home after his first year away at college he recalls his senior year of high school and the iron-willed, big city girl that turned his world upside down.
Countries: JapanLanguages: Japanese

Synopsis

In the city of Kouchi, high school student Taku Morisaki is going about his work when his friend Yutaka Matsuno calls and asks him to get to their school as soon as possible. Taku arrives, and Matsuno introduces him to Rikako Muto, a beautiful girl from Tokyo who recently transferred to their school. Although Rikako is academically and athletically gifted, her generally unpleasant attitude leaves her with virtually no friends outside of Matsuno and another girl from her class.

After a chance encounter during their class trip, Taku suddenly finds himself more involved in Rikako’s personal life, much to Matsuno’s dismay. Struggling to balance his friendship with Matsuno and his own budding infatuation for Rikako, Taku must come to terms with his feelings and understand how a girl with a troubled past is having such a massive effect on his life.

Alternative Titles

  • English: The Ocean Waves
  • Japanese:  海がきこえる
  • Synonyms: Umi ga Kikoeru

Information

  • Type: Movie
  • Episodes: 1
  • Status: Finished Airing
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • Quality: 1080p
  • Audio: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English

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About The Ocean Waves (Umi ga Kikoeru) Movie

Ocean Waves, known in Japan as I Can Hear the Sea (Japanese: 海がきこえる, Hepburn: Umi ga Kikoeru), is a 1993 Japanese anime television film directed by Tomomi Mochizuki and written by Kaori Nakamura based on the 1990-1992 novel of the same name by Saeko Himuro. It was animated by Studio Ghibli for Tokuma Shoten and the Nippon Television Network. Ocean Waves first aired on May 5, 1993 on Nippon TV. In 1995, the sequel, I Can Hear the Sea II: Because There Is Love, was published. In the same year, a TV drama was produced mainly based on this work starring Shinji Takeda and Hitomi Satō.

The film is set in the city of Kōchi, on the Japanese island of Shikoku. It concerns a love triangle that develops between two good friends and a new girl who transfers to their high school from Tokyo.

Ocean Waves was an attempt by Studio Ghibli to allow their younger staff members to make a film reasonably cheaply. However, it ended up going both over budget and over schedule. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray by GKIDS on April 18, 2017, with only the Japanese audio with English subtitles.

The Ocean Waves (Umi ga Kikoeru) Movie Plot

At Kichijōji Station, Tokyo, Taku Morisaki glimpses a familiar woman on the platform opposite. Later, as his flight to Kōchi Prefecture takes off, he narrates the events that brought her into his life. The story is told in flashback.

Obiyamachi Shopping Arcade is a frequent film backdrop.
In Kōchi, two years prior, Taku receives a call from his friend, Yutaka Matsuno, asking to meet at their high school. He finds Yutaka at a window, watching an attractive female transfer student whom Yutaka was asked to show around. The boys discuss their upcoming school trip to Hawaii. At the school gates, Taku is introduced to the new girl, Rikako Muto. She thanks Yutaka for providing directions to a bookstore. Taku teases Yutaka about his infatuation.

Rikako is academically gifted and good at sports, but also arrogant. Taku believes she is unhappy about leaving Tokyo. His mother learns from gossip that a divorce brought Rikako’s mother to Kōchi. In a phone conversation with Yutaka, he discovers that Rikako is living away from the family house.

The school year ends, heralding the Hawaii trip. Taku, suffering from an upset stomach, is stopped in the hotel lobby by Rikako. She explains that she has lost her money and asks to borrow some. As Taku has a part-time job, he lends her ¥60,000. Promising to repay him, she warns not to tell anyone. As she departs, Taku sees a stern Yutaka and feels compelled to explain. Later, Rikako admonishes him for telling Yutaka about the money, saying that he also loaned her ¥20,000.

Back in Kōchi, the third year begins with Rikako making a friend, Yumi Kohama. Rikako has not returned Taku’s money and he wonders if she has forgotten. Out of the blue, a distressed Yumi calls Taku, explaining that Rikako had tricked her into coming to the airport on the pretence of a concert trip, only to discover that their real destination is Tokyo, tickets paid for with Taku’s money. He races to the airport, sending Yumi home, saying that he will accompany Rikako.

Upon arrival, it appears that Rikako has not forewarned her father, interrupting his planned trip with a girlfriend. Her father thanks Taku, repays the loan and arranges a room at the Hyatt Regency. Later, Rikako explains that when her parents were fighting, she had always sided with her father, but had now discovered he was not on her side. Comforting her, Taku offers his bed and attempts to sleep in the bathtub. The next morning, Rikako seems back to her normal self and kicks Taku out so that she can change clothes to meet a friend for lunch. Taku wanders around the city. After catching up on sleep at the hotel, Taku receives a call from Rikako asking to be rescued from former boyfriend, Okada, who is not as she remembered him.

Returning home, Rikako ignores Taku, but does not hide from others that they spent a night together. Taku discovers this from Yutaka, who had earlier confronted Rikako to confess his feelings toward her, but had been rebuffed. Taku confronts Rikako in class for hurting his best friend, calling her “The worst!”. She responds by slapping him and he slaps her in return.

The autumn school cultural festival arrives and Rikako, who has been avoiding Yosakoi dance rehearsals, becomes more distant from the other girls, many of whom openly dislike her. Confronting her behind the school, Rikako stands firm as one girl, believing that Rikako was flirting with her boyfriend, attempts to strike her but is held back. Taku, who has seen all, approaches Rikako and comments that he is impressed with the way she handled herself. She slaps him but runs away with regret. Yutaka confronts a somewhat stunned Taku, who tries to explain. Yutaka punches him to the ground calling him an idiot before walking away. None of the three talk to each other for the rest of the year.

In the present, Taku’s plane lands and he is offered a lift home by Yutaka, who explains he punched him because he’d realized Taku had held back his feelings for his sake. At a class reunion, former student president Shimizu mentions she had met Rikako earlier. She explains that as Rikako was attending Kochi University, she had flown to Tokyo for her school break, missing the reunion. Taku realizes that Rikako was the woman he’d seen at the station. Walking home, Yumi tells Taku that she too had met Rikako, explaining she could not make it to the reunion and that she wanted to meet someone, but would not say who, just that he slept in bathtubs.

In Tokyo, Taku again sees Rikako across the platforms, but this time runs to find her. As the train pulls away, he finds Rikako and realises that he had always been in love with her.

Characters

Main characters

Taku Morisaki (杜崎 拓, Morisaki Taku)

Voiced by: Nobuo Tobita
Main protagonist. Taku, needing money for the school’s trip to Hawaii, took his restaurant busboy job to offset the expense, at the cost of falling grades and his teachers’ disapproval. Principled and trusting, Taku often gets himself into trouble.

Yutaka Matsuno (松野 豊, Matsuno Yutaka)

Voiced by: Toshihiko Seki
Taku’s friend and rival for Rikako’s affections. Yutaka is a standout student and a class leader. Yutaka and Taku became friends when they jointly campaigned against the cancellation of their junior high school trip due to the school’s low test scores.

Rikako Muto (武藤 里伽子, Muto Rikako)

Voiced by: Yōko Sakamoto
Taku and Yutaka’s love interest. From Tokyo, Rikako now lives alone in Kochi after her parents’ divorce, and resents the town. Though sensitive and intelligent, she can be antisocial, and it becomes clear that her family life is troubled.
Supporting characters

Supporting characters

Yumi Kohama (小浜 裕実, Kohama Yumi)

Voiced by: Kae Araki
Rikako’s closest friend in Kōchi.

Akiko Shimizu (清水 明子, Shimizu Akiko)

Voiced by: Yuri Amano
Female student-body president.

Okada (岡田)

Voiced by: Jun’ichi Kanemaru
Rikako’s ex-boyfriend. While in Tokyo, Rikako heads to a restaurant in the hotel to meet with Okada. Over the course of the meal, she discovers that he is not the type of person she once thought he was. He has also started dating Rikako’s best friend. During the meal, Rikako telephones Taku to ask him to rescue her from the situation. When Taku met him, he thought Okada was really handsome.

Tadashi Yamao (山尾 直, Yamao Tadashi)

Voiced by: Hikaru Midorikawa
Taku’s large friend, who has a crush on Yumi. He confesses this love to everyone at the class reunion prior to Yumi’s arrival, before collapsing into unconsciousness due to excess alcohol consumption.

Taku’s Mother

Voiced by: Ai Satō

Rikako’s Father

Voiced by: Kinryū Arimoto

Principal

Voiced by: Takeshi Watabe (He also acted as a Kōchi dialect instructor for cast)

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