Weekly Blog August 15th, 2021: Ride Your Wave

***WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR RIDE YOUR WAVE***

Hello Internet!

I hope everyone is doing well and having a great week or month. I mean it has been awhile since I had a proper Weekly Blog, so sorry about that. But I’m back and I have an Anime Movie to talk about this week, so that’s going to be lots of fun. Almost as fun as reading through the backlog of things I’ve written in the past four weeks. The Last Weekly Blog I wrote was back on July 18th where I talked about the Disney/Pixar movie Luca. Since then I’ve published Poetry like “Half Full,” “On Meadow lane,” “Ocean Days,” and “Desolate Traveler.” I’ve also published two updates to my Dungeons and Dragons inspired series, “Lines Are Drawn Part 2 (D&D)” and “Valuable Conversation (D&D).” I just want to say if you are not reading my D&D inspired series, you are missing out. It’s one of my longest ongoing series and I’m having such a great time reading it. It’s the type of stuff I love writing because I know I’d enjoy reading it. Anyway, if you want just a bite-sized bit of fantasy, I also published a Writing Prompt Piece titled “Hero’s Respite.” This piece is about a retired, Elvish Adventurer who plans on meeting us with his old adventuring buddies only to learn that he’s outlived them both. Finally I want to highlight one thing I haven’t gotten a chance to talk about yet. Pokémon Fanfiction is back! I’ve published two more chapters, “Pokémon HGSS#27: Ascending The Bell Tower” and “Pokémon HGSS #28: Ascending The Bell Tower Part 2.” It had been over two years since I had posted any Pokémon Fanficiton and I thought it was a good time to bring it back. So from now until the end of September (or beginning of October depending on whether or not I can get it out in a timely manner), I will be posting Pokémon Fanfiction on Saturdays. This is a continuation of Jonathan and Beatrice’s journey through the Johto Region and is roughly based on Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver. Hopefully after I finish this small run of chapters, things will have a more concrete ending and who knows, if you all really like it, I might write more in the future based on another Pokémon region. I know that all of that is a lot, but if you missed any or all of those pieces, I highly recommend you check them out.

Now that I’ve gotten through all of that, I want to move on to this week’s Weekly Blog topic which is the movie Ride Your Wave. This was an Anime Movie that was released in 2019, but I just recently watched it and wanted to talk about it. I actually remember this movie being advertised when I saw Weathering With You in theaters and I thought it looked interesting. However I never got around to actually watching it until now when I sat down and watched it with my roommate. First I’ll talk about the basic plot of the movie (spoilers ahead, duh) and then I’ll break down what I liked about it, what I didn’t like about it, and what I thought of the movie overall. I know that is a very original way to structure a review of a movie, but I’m sure you all can follow along. 

So Ride Your Wave follows two main characters, Hinako who is interested in surfing, and Minato who is a firefighter. One day a group of people set off fireworks and it ends up catching Hinako’s apartment building on fire. Minato and his firefighting crew shows up to put out the fire and Minato actually saves Hinako from the massive fire. Soon after this the two begin hanging out as Hinako shows Minato how to surf and eventually they start dating. Everything is going great until Minato goes out surfing by himself on Christmas and ends up drowning while trying to save another swimmer. Hinako is completely devastated by Minato’s death and shrinks away from everything in her life including surfing. However, Minato is not completely gone. Hinako discovers that when she sings a particular song (a song that was their song to sing together), Minato shows up in water. No one else can see Minato, but that doesn’t stop Hinako from carrying him around in a water bottle and in a human-sized, blow-up whale. Hinako and Minato live this way together for a little bit, but then Hinako realizes that everytime she sings and calls for Minato, the connection seems to weaken. Minato also has worries that Hinako is unable to move on from him and that, even in death, Minato is holding Hinako back in life. The movie hits its crescendo when Hinako and Minato’s sister, Yoko, discover the group that set off the illegal fireworks the first time plan on doing it again in a large, abandoned building. Hinako and Yoko track this group down hoping to catch them in the act. The group sets off their fireworks and ends up starting another massive fire. Yoko and Hinako become trapped by the fire, but Hinako sings and calls out to Minato. Minato sends a giant wave of water which saves the two of them as well as puts out the raging fire. Hinako and Yoko end up surfing down the giant wave and then Minato’s spirit passes on to the afterlife. The ending of the movie shows Yoko and Minato’s best friend, Wasabi are now dating and enjoying Christmas together. Hinako tries singing in front of a fountain, but Minato does not appear and Hinako breaks down crying. Hinako does eventually get better and even ends up becoming a lifeguard and she takes up surfing once again.

From that plot summary, you can probably tell that this movie’s themes focus on love, death, and how to cope after someone dies. There is also a theme of water and surfing which connects to freedom and a laid-back attitude. Hinako’s whole life seems to revolve around surfing, but when she starts to date Minato, she connects surfing to her love of Minato. Obviously she is devastated when Minato drowns which severs her love of water and surfing. Minato comes back in the form of water which leads to a complete merging between the two in Hinako’s mind. Minato even mentions to Hinako that she has to learn to deal with life’s waves and that she can’t rely on him forever. I want to say that the theme of the movie is great and the movie does a pretty good job at setting up Minato and Hinako’s relationship. You can really see it develop when Minato is still alive and you feel that devastation when he dies. Even after he comes back in the water, the movie does a great job at showing the audience how the relationship changes. Dealing with the death of a loved one is obviously a heavy subject, but this movie does a great job of not getting too depressing. I found all the characters to be pretty good. They don’t have a ton of depth, but for a movie that is only an hour and half long, they do enough to make them seem three-dimensional. Lastly, I want to praise the animation. It is gorgeous! All the water is beautifully animated and even though I didn’t like the character design at first, I ended up liking it by the end.

Now I want to pivot to talking about what I didn’t like about this movie and why I think the premise was good, but the overall movie was like a 7.5 out of 10. Like I said, this movie focuses on what it’s like to lose someone you love. However the premise of the movie twists this by having Minato show up as a spirit in water when Hinako sings to him. At first only Hinako can see Minato in the water and both Yoko and Wasabi become worried that she is just seeing things. They think that she’s just imagining it and struggling hard with the memory of Minato. The audience obviously sees that Minato does actually show up in the water, but we are unsure whether or not it’s all in Hinako’s head or if there is actually a supernatural element to all of this and Minato is actually in the water. The movie plays with this idea a little bit, but it shows its hand in the third act when the abandoned skyscraper catches fire and Hinako calls out for Minato one last time. Minato summons a large wave of water which climbs up the building and extinguishes the flames, saving Hinako and Yoko. That actually happens and multiple people witness the magical water. Turns out that it wasn’t all in Hinako’s mind. Minato is a real water spirit and that…sucks? Like some people might like that Minato is actually there and rescues Hinako, but for me I feel like that was the make or break moment for this movie and it broke. I think the message of dealing with the death of a loved one and getting hung up on those feelings gets undercut by having Minato show up and save Hinako with mystical water. Because in real life, if a loved one passes on, they don’t come back as a spirit to save you. You just have to deal with the fact that they aren’t coming back. Technically Hinako does deal with this at the end when he really is gone, but at that point the supernatural is already proven. If the third act climax would have shown that Minato wasn’t there to save the day and Hinako had to save herself and Yoko, that would have been better in my opinion.

Overall I did enjoy Ride Your Wave and consider it a good movie, but compared to Anime movies like Weathering With You or Your Name, I think this movie falls flat. I liked it and I’m glad I watched it, but the third act was a bit disappointing in my opinion. Generally speaking, when dealing with magic and spiritual elements in an otherwise mundane world, I think it’s better to either establish the supernatural early on or side with the mundane. Not to harp on it too much, but Weather With You and Your Name both establish their supernatural elements pretty early on (Sunshine Girl and Body Swapping respectively) and then raise the steaks in the third act. Ride Your Wave likes to play this game of “is the supernatural real or is it all in her head” for far too long and when it turns out the supernatural is real, it just kind of doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to come down too harsh on this movie because I think it does a lot of things right and I did like it. It just wasn’t as good as I thought it could be. 

Thank you so much for reading that Weekly Blog all about Ride Your Wave. Have you watched this movie? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Did you really enjoy the movie? Do you think my criticisms of the third act are valid or not? All your thoughts and comments about this movie, I’d love to read in the comments down below. You can also Like this Weekly Blog if you liked hearing about my thoughts on the movie. If you really liked the Weekly Blog and want to read more of the stuff I write, I highly recommend you check out the pieces I mentioned at the beginning of the blog. There is plenty of stuff on my website that you can check out as well including other Weekly Blogs, Poems, Writing Prompt Pieces, and Fanfiction. Lastly I suggest that you Follow me here on WordPress. I’m trying to build a positive and creative space here on the internet and by Following you help me do that. I really appreciate all the love and support I get from all the people who read the stuff I write. Every view, comment, Like, and Follow really mean the world to me and fill me with so much joy, so thank you for all the love and support.

Thank you again and I hope you have a fantastic week!

-Allen_The_Writer


Header Photo Credit to the movie Ride Your Wave and the LA Times’ Review of the movie.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2020-02-19/ride-your-wave-review-anime-masaaki-yuasa

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