The Ocean Waves | Chicago Reader

The Ocean Waves

Produced for Japanese TV by the highly regarded animation outfit Studio Ghibli, this 1993 romance tells the story of a Tokyo university student whose return to his rural hometown for a high school reunion stirs up memories of a love triangle between him, his best friend, and a bubbly city girl. The film is an odd duck compared to the rest of the Ghibli filmography, particularly after the charming, folkloric My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and the flat-out weird Porco Rosso (1992). Director Tomomi Mochizuki doesn't share the penchant of Ghibli cofounder Hayao Miyazaki for weighty themes—like the community and eco-preservation of Princess Mononoke—but he does provide a more dynamic approach to realism: his intricate sound design, blending traffic noise and the constant buzz of cicadas, makes the setting more natural.

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