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Friday, February 14, 2014

Ocean Waves. Tomomi Mochizuki (Director). Studio Ghibli (1993)

A very charming and engaging teenage romantic drama.Taku is a student at a local school in a small seaside town who is shaken up by the arrival in school of Rikako, who has transferred from Toyoko. Rikako has a big city air about her, a sense of a world beyond Kochi. She does not fir in easily to her new life, she had moved following her parent's divorce, she does capture the attention and the romantic attention of  Taku. The film follows the lives of the students throught thier last year in school as they attempt to establish who they are.
The film does not have a plot in any active sense, events take place that lean against each other rather that following on, the emphasis is on allowing the cast demonstrate who they are and how they respond to the events as they happen.
The slow charm of the film comes from the lack of whining by the teenagers, they are full of energy and want to be much more in control of their lives than they are. They are conscious of being in a transition and are not sure about what to do next. In a pivotal sequence Rikako decides to go to Tokyo to see her father and Taku ends up going with her. Rikako's collision with the reality of the divorce is handled with care and subtley as is Taku's response.A post graduation reunion creates the promise of happy endings which are very much in line with the tone of the story.
The animation is soft and quietly engaging, the cast move with a easy naturalness and struggles they have are treated with care and sympathy. The film is a light as a feather, the astonishing skill that it wears so easily is kept in the background as the cast is allowed to shine. A wonderful film that is kind to its cast and spellbinding for a happy viewer.

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