Directed by Masaaki Yuasa, Ride Your Wave brings to life aspects of Japanese Anime films we love and have come to expect. Gorgeous young people of indeterminate ages and incomes falling in love; choreographed and sculpted dishes you’d kill to try; even a musical number to boot!
Described aptly by the director as “a simple romantic comedy”, the film follows Minato and Hinako; a young star-crossed couple that unite over their love of the sea, surfing and ultimately each other. A number of critical events take place between the couple that strain the relationship with one another and with themselves, as we see the film’s central themes unfold. The motifs of fire and water are an undercurrent throughout the film, with the implications (outside surfing) that managing (riding) your own wave is possible and sometimes necessary. That although it’s nice to have someone to lean on and act as a safety net, people aren’t always guaranteed to be there when you need the most. That the only person that can be there for you 24/7 is yourself.
Ride Your Wave isn’t just a tagline for a pastime that’s sure to boom in coastal Japanese towns post-movie release: it’s a motto to live by. The film could have just as easily been called “Keep on Keeping on” or “This too Shall Pass”. Ride Your Wave comes with a deeper message and convenient basis for the main plot.
A surefire date-night hit, the film satisfies even the most cynical-romantic at heart. Don’t be too surprised or guilty at the presence of a rogue tear (or two). Ironically, sometimes animation can make these issues seem a little more real and a little closer to home.
You can’t go wrong with a film that promotes such a sincere and simple message as this one.
Review by Grace Bungle