A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the anime drama Ocean Waves, originally released in Japan in 1993, is in Japanese with English subtitles. It follows two high school boys who get entangled with the new girl at school. She's quite selfish and manipulative, conning one of the boys into a loan and to accompany her on a trip to Tokyo. Characters smoke and drink, and there's some innuendo and use of insults like "stupid." Not much really happens, but parents and older kids might enjoy a look back on what teen years were like before cell phones and social media, while also getting a glimpse of everyday life in Japan.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In OCEAN WAVES, during a trip home from college, Taku (voiced by Nobuo Tobita) looks back on his high school days and the girl who got in the way of his relationship with his best friend. When Rikaku (Yoko Sakamoto) arrives on the scene, Taku and Yutaka (Toshihiko Seki) are both interested -- but it's ultimately Taku she turns to for help (of course, it turns out she's manipulating him, but he doesn't always care...).
Is it any good?
Originally released as a TV movie in Japan in 1993, this simple, nostalgic, but slow anime drama is making its way to American audiences decades later. The animation is good, but there's not all that much to Ocean Waves' story. Rikaku is talented and smart; the reason she doesn't have many friends, the film tries to explain, is because her parents moved her out of Tokyo when they divorced.
That's regrettable for her, but she's also selfish and manipulative, and it's frustrating that Taku and Yutaka are both infatuated with her even though she treats them terribly and creates a rift between them. Frankly, it's not at all clear why the boys like her or why we would want to see their relationship play out screen. Fans of Studio Ghibli or the novel Ocean Waves was based on might enjoy it, but other audiences are likely to find it disappointing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way that Rikaku treats Taku and Yutaka in Ocean Waves. She thinks only of herself and her own pain when she lies to Taku and manipulates him. Have you ever been treated that way? How did you feel, and what did you do?
How do anime movies like Ocean Waves compare to more mainstream U.S. animated fare? Which do you prefer? Why?
Have you ever had a girl or boy you liked come between you and a good friend? What should friends do when they both like the same person?
- In theaters: December 28, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: April 18, 2017
- Cast: Nobuo Tobita, Toshihiko Seki, Yoko Sakamoto
- Director: Tomomi Mochizuki
- Studio: Studio Ghibli
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: High School
- Run time: 72 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some thematic material
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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