I bought a DVD containing several Studio Ghibli movies. I've always had a thing with realistic anime with sentimental undertones, and Ocean Waves (I Can Hear the Sea/Umi ga Kikoeru) suited my taste well enough.
Rikako Muto, a Tokyo native, transferred to the rural town of Koshi, and right in Taku Morisaki and Yutaka Matsuno's school. Taku and Yataka, although never been classmates, are friends and batchmates, doing well in school. They got along just fine until Rikako arrived and Yutaka showed her around school. Yutaka was falling in love with her while Taku just thought of her as the new girl who stands out. And then Rikako laid eyes on him, and Taku was never the same again.
It was the batch's annual school trip, and having it done in Hawaii was sure to be an expensive affair---so Taku thought as he went ahead to work part-time in the summer to earn pocket money for the trip. That was also the time when Rikako applied for transfer to the school, and Yutaka, who showed her around, was so besotted with her that he even showed Rikako to Taku from afar just so Taku could see how pretty she is. Yutaka even asked Rikako out for a movie date.
Taku on the other hand couldn't be bothered with the loner but star student that is Rikako and had better things to do---like earn his pocket money for the trip. He did notice that Rikako is the kind of girl who stands out: she would always keep to herself and only has a single friend called Yumi, she would seldom, if at all, join school activities, and is the 12th highest-scoring student in the whole batch. Her coming to the rural town of Koshi after living in Tokyo remained a mystery. All Taku's mother only knows is that Rikako's mother brought her and another sibling to Koshi so that the kids can be near her. The mystery wasn't solved until...
Several days later, When classes resumed, so did the school trip, and the batch went to Hawaii. All was smooth sailing until the last day of the trip, when Rikako approached Taku saying she wanted to borrow money. Swayed with the excuse that Rikako's pocket money was lost, Taku lent her a huge amount. He never heard from Rikako again about the money until later, when Yumi called him to say that Rikako's persuading her to come with her to Tokyo to see her father, and that her plane tickets are thanks to the money Taku lent her. Although he told himself it was none of his business, Taku went to the airport anyway to try to dissuade Rikako to scrap the trip and spare Yumi the trouble of coming with her. He didn't know how it happened, but one moment he was dissuading Rikako to go to Tokyo, the next minute he volunteered to accompany her in place of Yumi.
It was a trip that Taku will never forget. Soon people learned about the trip they had together and the whole school was talking about it. Unknown to him, love was creeping on to Taku though he would continually deny it; to him Rikako is a complicated girl, so complicated he doesn't bother to try to understand her. Yutaka, still in love with Rikako, tried to convince him otherwise in a manly fashion...
Well, it was a long time since I've written an anime review, no thanks to my career. So if I gave too much of the plot in the synopsis, and have this sudden flair of the dramatics, gomen! ^_^
I've always liked Studio Ghibli's animes, because of the clean artwork and the quirky/sentimental music appropriate for the scene. Also, Studio Ghibli's so popular in Japan because of Hayao Miyazaki's works like Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro, that any anime they create is a work deserving of appreciation. Heck, Studio Ghibli even has its own theme park in Japan, similar to Disneyland.
That said, Ocean Waves is a different offering from Studio Ghibli who has popularized lots of little kids' anime. This now has an adult flavor to it, one that I really like. The plot, though seemingly ordinary, was executed in such a way that it seems you're watching a movie starring real-in-the-flesh people, not an anime. It felt like I was reading a short story by Nicholas Sparks. You know, ordinary people in an ordinary environment but with extraordinary feelings for each other. It's a feel good movie, similar to the feeling that I have after drinking a glass of ice-cold milk tea. Yum!
The music is once again appropriate for the movie, and the artwork...well, I can't think of enough praise for the artwork. I'm just struck with how "clean" it is. One thing I've noticed about Studio Ghibli artworks, is that they don't use the huge-as-saucers eyes or distorted facial expressions that look comedic when the characters are surprised or exasperated. They try to depict the anime realistically, while successfully trying to get across the idea that the characters are funny in their own way. Really impressive.
Ocean Waves is one anime suited for the aging population of people---not that I'm THAT old but...you know what I mean. I don't think the young ones will appreciate this anime, if they like watching the types like Dragon Ball Z and Ruroni Kenshin. It's an anime that has you feeling the fuzzies after you've watched it.