Ladies and gentlemen, the Japanese Film Festival Ireland is back! The festival is being held once again across Ireland and there is a slew of different films to partake of. The first film I got to watch is Ride Your Wave, an animated tale about love, heartache and dealing with grief.
Girl meets boy
New girl in town Hinako is attending college and surfing on her off time. One night when some rowdy ruffians are letting off illegal fireworks her apartment building catches on fire. She is saved in the nick of time by fireman and all time dreamboat Minato.
After taking a few surfing lessons from Hinato, Minato decides to ask her out and what begins is a beautiful love story that will likely bring you to tears.
These waves are tasty
Ride Your Wave is a stunning film. The animation is slick and when I was watching the surfing scenes I was impressed with the fluidity with the movement of all the actions. Not just the surfing though impresses. From the foreground to the background I was overwhelmed by the beauty on show. From the neon karaoke rooms to the buildings that are flooded by waves of water, there is nothing visually that doesn’t get a wow moment.
Along with the scenery, the characters themselves are quite expressive and feel full of life. The actors of the intimate cast are brimming with life and add further depth to their respective characters.
Rina Kawaei is that wonderfully bubbly girl that you knew in college that you always looked to for a smile. You can feel her warmth come through the screen. Ryota Katayose effortlessly pulls off the cool dude that is Minato and I hated him because he is so god damn cool. This film feels like an eternal Summer, and I want to live here. Another element that adds to the character of Ride Your Wave is its score. It is charming as hell. It compliments the Summer aesthetic with its sugary-sweet orchestration.
The bitter that balances the sweet
What makes Ride Your Wave such a memorable experience, at least for me was how the film deals with grief. How do we as individuals deal with death and if we were given more time with those we love how far would we take it.
The balance of this surprising bitterness added to this at times overly sweet treat is what makes Ride Your Wave such a wonderful film. I will admit though that there are issues. At times the characters and how they are written is too juvenal, this takes away from the impact the narrative is trying to deliver.
This does tip the scales to the overtly silly at times and it might just be my age, but I didn’t care for it. Thankfully when the third act hits the film has built itself to an incredible emotional crescendo. And for me, it completely paid off.
This year’s Japanese Film Festival Ireland has begun and it’s off to a great start. Stay tuned to Scannain for more on the festival, as well as news and interviews.