When I first got into Studio Ghibli movies, Ocean Waves was one of the movies that I kind of blew off and was in no rush to watch. The reason for this is that Ocean Waves is not a “proper” Studio Ghibli movie… or so I ignorantly thought! This was developed as a made-for-TV movie to give some of the younger less experienced artists at the studio a chance to shine.
How to Download Ocean Waves
You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. If you like the film, check out also other Studio Ghibli creations, such as Spirited Away, Ponyo, or The Red Turtle.
The Movie Review
I would class Ocean Waves as one of the more hidden gems from the Studio Ghibli vault as it is a movie not a lot of people talk about. However, those that have seen this tend to really like it. I would probably say it is one of the best “slice of life” style movies that Studio Ghibli has ever done, to be honest with you.
Our main character is a young man called Taku. Taku is heading back to his hometown for his high school reunion and along the way he starts to reminisce about his high school days and a love triangle that he was in. Now, this is not just all focused on the past, Ocean Waves does a fantastic job of mixing the past with the present and Taku reflects on his teenage years, but it all has a bearing on his present life.
We get to experience the story of Taku and his best friend, Yutaka. Yutaka asks Taku to meet him at school one day, but Yutaka is not alone. Yutaka is joined by a new student, the beautiful Rikako! Rikako I will admit I found to be a bit cocky and off-putting at first, but she is a character that has a lot of depth and as the movie progressed, I grew to really like her.
Both Taku and Yutaka have a thing for Rikako, but Rikako is dealing with her own personal stuff too. I know that I described Ocean Waves as a love triangle story and it is, but there is so much more here than that. We have a story about friendships, young love, regrets, and people’s hopes and dreams that is all just so beautifully told.
I thought that the movie did a wonderful job of making us really care about our main characters and the way that it brings the story to a close is fantastic. I would probably not put Ocean Waves on my list of the best Studio Ghibli movies (that is a pretty epic and exclusive list to be fair!) however, it has one of the best endings to a slice-of-life realistic movie I have ever experienced from the studio.
Now, as Ocean Waves is a made-for-TV movie you may be thinking it lacks a bit of that Studio Ghibli shine and quality, but I would not say that is actually the case. The movie looks great and certainly has that Studio Ghibli style about it, but perhaps just a bit less flashy. I think that the people behind this really wanted to wow people and they did just that.
One thing I will say is that this is a movie that as of me writing does not have an English dub! I have heard many reasons why there is no English dub for Ocean Waves, but money seems to be the main one. I do not mind reading the subtitles at all, but with how connected to the characters I got, I feel like some good English voice acting would have made that connection even better.
Do not be a dummy like me and sleep on this one for years! Ocean Waves is a fantastic movie and a movie that I feel is very relatable and positive. It is also one of the more expensive Studio Ghibli movies to track down and unless it gets a re-release I do not see that changing any time soon, the recent Blu-Ray I bought cost me over £20 on Amazon!
- This is one of the best slice-of-life movies from Studio Ghibli
- The love triangle feels very real
- You grow to like all of the main characters
- This is one of the most underrated Studio Ghibli movies
- The lack of English voice acting is a bit of a bummer
- The price of the Blu-Ray is starting to creep up a little bit