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Film Review: Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara (Ride Your Wave)

A story filled with love and hardship, revolving around a young couple and the ocean. Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara, or Ride Your Wave, premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on the 10th of June last year and was released in Japan slightly later in that same month. On the 30th of this month, the film will finally be released in Dutch theatres thanks to Periscoop Film, we hope this review inspires you to go see it!

Studio: Science SARU
Genres: Drama, Romance & Supernatural
Rating: PG-13
Based on the eponymous manga by Machi Kiachi.

Started airing: 21st of June 2019
Total Length: 95 minutes

A beautiful and tragic love story unfolds after firefighter Minato Hinageshi rescues Hinako Mukaimizu from her burning apartment, after a mishap involving fireworks. The two both enjoy a passion for surfing, although Minato is completely new to this. After a tragic accident, Hinako is left to grieve by herself, wondering which direction to take in life. Where will her wave take her?

Score: 90/100

Ride Your Wave is definitely worth watching! So long as these genres speak to you there isn’t any reason not to enjoy this movie. The entire film, but specifically any scene at the seaside, gives off a summer vibe. It has a playful drawing and animation style and the interaction between the characters comes across quite natural. As expected this film does a very good job of tugging at your heartstrings. Although it definitely has its share of heartbreaking moments, it is also heart-warming in many ways and provides a lot of cute and fun scenes. You are left feeling hopeful that Hinako, and the other characters, will be okay.

It is easy to get invested in the story, because the characters are easy to relate to. The love story between Hinako and Minato is partially shown in sort of an animation montage, but it still shows who they are as a couple very well. It is easy to see why they love another so much and the story is kept realistic by adding small insecurities and differences of opinions.

Want to know more about how this movie earned such a high rating? Keep reading!


Ride Your Wave start with Hinako just having moved into her own place. She’s trying to make it on her own, but is clearly struggling with how to go about that. Once she and Minato meet the two form a friendship, and later a romantic relationship, quite quickly but also quite naturally. They seem to fit together quite well and are supportive of one another. These scenes are playful, cheerful and most of all very endearing.

Obviously this story has its heavier parts, given the fact that Minato will pass away. Not knowing when this will happen, nor all of the specifics, does keep you on your toes a little. Even if you’re able to predict when this will happen the moment itself will still stir up some emotions. Watching Hinako’s grieving process is another thing altogether. Although a little hard to watch without getting tearful at times, it is very beautiful to see the grieving process portrayed this way. She finds herself struggling as she is confronted with her loss on a daily basis, after which the supernatural part of this movie kicks in and we see her ‘hallucinating’ Minato in water.

Odd enough, this movie could almost be described as a feel-good film. Not because of the tragic events that unfold, but because of the way Hinako manages to overcome these tragic events. In the end Ride Your Wave didn’t end on a sad note, but rather a hopeful one. For Hinako and the other characters’ futures, for where their waves would take them.

Overall this story feels well-thought-out. It shows a lot of realistic struggles, such as guilt after losing someone or being left wondering why this tragic event happened.


Although the main story revolves around Hinako and Minato for the most part, there are other named characters in the movie as well. Two other characters that play a significant part are Youko, Minato’s younger sister, and Wasabi, Minato’s fellow fireman.

The relationships between these four characters are each different in their own way. Minato calls Youko a blue-ringed octopus, because of her blunt character which is like poison according to him. Despite the way, Youko communicates you can clearly see she cares about the people around her and loves her brother.

Wasabi has some struggles of his own at the beginning of the film, but Minato inspires him to keep on trying his hardest. He looks up to Minato, but is still trying to be his own person.

All of the characters in this movie have their own struggles and their own journeys to follow. They are each trying to find their path and inspire one another along the way. Their struggles and doubts make them more realistic as characters and their different personalities and traits certainly add to that as well.


When it comes to the drawing- and animation style it seemed like a perfect fit, especially with the summer vibes this movie gives off and the playfulness of a lot of the scenes. It is playful, pretty and overall gives off a ‘light’ feel. It isn’t flawless, which is, for instance, visible in a scene where Hinako is twiddling her toes, but that wasn’t bothersome. Somehow that fits quite well with the entire film, as none of the characters were perfect either.


Music plays a big part in Ride Your Wave, as Hinako and Minato sing together often. Once Minato passes Hinako still sings the same song, Brand New Story by GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE, on her own. One of the members of GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE, Ryota Katayose, is the voice actor for Minato in the movie. This makes the film and song fit together even better. The music video of this song also features scenes from the movie and its animation and drawing style.

Are you going to see Ride Your Wave? Or have you already seen it?

Give us your take on this movie in the comments below!

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