Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Movie Review: "Ride Your Wave" (2019)

Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Year: 2019
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes

A surfer named Hinako begins a romance with a firefighter named Minako after he saves her from the roof of a burning building. They find a connection through the water and discover it has changed and will change their lives in more ways than they could ever imagine. 

Ryôta Katayose and Rina Kawaei play two lovers named Hinako and Minato in a movie scene from Ride Your Wave (2019)
"When you get knocked down, you get back up." (Image Source)
Boy, do we love a good anime love story! "Ride Your Wave" is directed by Masaaki Yuasa, who helmed the film "Lu Over the Wall." It is written by Reiko Yoshida, who has written features like "A Silent Voice" and the underrated "The Cat Returns." When an illegal fireworks display sets her apartment on fire, a surfer named Hinako (Rina Kawaei) is rescued by a firefighter named Minato (Ryôta Katayose). He had always admired Hinako from afar, but this incident has finally brought the two together. Hinako offers to give Minato surfing lessons as a thank you for saving her, which quickly leads to a romance between them. Water plays a crucial role in their relationship. Most of the time, water is in the background of their life together, but it is about to take center stage in strange and magical ways.
Hinako walks down the street with Minato, who is in a giant whale water bubble, in the anime called Ride Your Wave
"I will always be there for you. For sure." (Image Source)
We had the opportunity to screen "Ride You Wave" as part of this year's Animation Is Film Festival. We are huge supporters of any and all kinds of animated movies, so we were excited to have the chance to watch this one!

"Ride Your Wave" is almost a tale of two films. It is a Japanese anime romance that begins like many live-action American rom-coms do. Two firefighters who happen to be friends admire a woman they see surfing from their apartment balcony that overlooks the beach. Both of the guys seem to like her, but after a fire breaks out, the suaver of two young blokes rescues her from a burning building and it sparks (pun intended) a romantic relationship. A montage flies by as we get a quick rundown of Hinako and Minato's time together that shows how quickly and how fully they fell in love with one another. At the midway point, the story shifts and focuses on its more fantastical elements, the ones we typically find in Japanese animated features. We have to admit, we found the back half of the film to be much more fun, lively, and intriguing than the beginning portion despite that it may contain several anime tropes. We really appreciate how the crux of the story involved the water from beginning to end. It shows in great detail how water shaped Hinako and Minato's lives, from the smallest, most inconsequential days to the most life-changing events. The narrative explores how life, like the ocean, can be unpredictable and may knock you over if you're unprepared. It takes some risks and can get pretty weird at times, which we appreciated quite a bit. The pacing is a little meandering, and some aspects are repetitive and seem to lack focus. Still, we enjoyed watching this brightly colored spectacle with a lot to say about loss, moving on, and living life to the fullest.
"Ride Your Wave" (2019) GKIDS animated movie still
"I just don't know what direction I should be paddling." (Image Source)
"Ride Your Wave" isn't a groundbreaking animated film by any means, but it is a pleasant, albeit sickeningly sweet watch nonetheless.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.9/10
RT Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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