A Studio Ghibli gem is finally making its way to US theaters this month. Rarely seen outside of Japan, “Ocean Waves” is an animated film that tells the story of adolescent and teenage isolation.
Adapted from Saeko Himuro’s novel of the same name, the feature was originally made in 1993 for Japanese television, and now GKIDS will distribute the movie to select theaters in a 4k restoration.
The story follows two best friends, Taku and Yutaka, who head back to school to what they believe will be another uneventful year. Per the synopsis, “Their friendship is tested by the arrival of Rikako, a beautiful new transfer student from Tokyo whose attitude vacillates wildly from flirty and flippant to melancholic. When Taku joins Rikako on a trip to Tokyo, the school erupts with rumors, and the three friends are forced to come to terms with their changing relationships.”
Directed by Tomomi Mochizuki and written by Kaori Nakamura, the animated picture has a warm and pleasant palette of soft pastels with rich unexpected visuals typical of Studio Ghibli. It is also the first Studio Ghibli film directed by someone other than studio founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.
“Ocean Waves” will screen starting December 28 at IFC Center in New York and one night only in Los Angeles at the Egyptian Theatre. The film will also be released on home video formats in Spring 2017.
Check out the trailer below.