As a film, Ride Your Wave’s studio was what brought me to the theaters, only to disappoint with a stereotypical love story lacking in unique or standout aspects. Your Name gave us a story about two time periods and time travel, resulting in finding each other by the end. Ride Your Wave’s unique love element focuses more on the death of a lover, and seeing them in the water whenever the protagonist sings a certain song.
As a storyline, we see half of the story build up to the relationship, and the last half focuses on coping with the death of your significant other, both as a lover, a friend and a sister. These elements, while tragic and down to earth, didn’t heighten the film as much as I’d hope. As a studio, Science Saru has given us multiple outstanding TV series with Devilman Crybaby and Keep Your Hands Off Eikouzen, but their films lack the same punch.
Compared to the imaginative elements of past works, this film barely utilizes the ability of our heroine to summon her lover to put out fires. What we see instead is a larger focus on coping with the death and surfing moments, rather than offering some weird animation moments that could’ve been achieved throughout the storyline. The most impactful parts within the story relied more on interacting with those still alive rather than seeking magical ways to bring her lover back, an aspect that would’ve been rooted in fantastical means, but given the studio more room to experiment with animation. The decision to keep the majority of the story within the realm of the real and using the water for comedic effects, made for an overall weaker storyline.
As a studio, Saru’s biggest strength in the film came at the end when we see the characters surfing down a skyscraper. This seen had the most punch out of all the film, due to the magical element of the water. Comparitavely, the rest of the film just played out like a standard romance with the occasional magical element, and for that, this film was not worth it to see in theaters. Saru has proven themselves within the television market and some of the weird and unusual aspects of their animation that creates standout pictures, but this was not one of those stories.
Going forward, I hope that Saru gets better in their storytelling for the film medium, otherwise, it’s more worthwhile to watch their shows.