Children of the sea is a visual treat, and I would recommend this movie on that aspect alone. There are some things that I didn’t like about this movie. This review is my personal opinion on this movie, and I am in no way saying that you cannot like this movie. That said, this article would contain some spoilers so remember that. Also, this movie can be seen with anyone and has no graphic violence or anything like that.
Children of the sea is a Japanese animated film that was released in 2019. Ayumu Watanabe directs it, and the producer is Eiko Tanaka. It is based on the manga of the same name, which Daisuke Igarashi wrote, and he also wrote the screenplay of this movie. After a falling out with both her mother and the other school club members, female lead and junior high school student Ruka finds herself with nowhere to spend her days during summer vacation. So she ends up hanging out at the aquarium where her father works and runs into a mysterious boy who came from the sea.
Visuals & Soundtracks
As I said, this movie is a visual treat. If anyone says that digital cannot compete with cel animation, then show them this movie. It is gorgeous. Every frame of the film is filled with so many details that I had to rest my eyes from time to time. They’re just so much to pay attention to. The characters’ movement feels realistic and exaggerated at the same time, the shot composition is excellent, and all the underwater scenes are just mesmerizing.
During the last 20 mins or so, the movie becomes even crazier and starts feeling like an acid trip. It has a unique Murakami vibe where it all feels like a strange dream. All of this is further elevated because of the on-point soundtracks. A good soundtrack can make anything feel grand, and here it’s just perfect.
Aesthetically, this movie is flawless, and if it looks like something that appeals to you, then I recommend you check it out, but the problem is that these are the only things I liked about the movie.
I didn’t like- Okay, so it is obvious that animation plays a key role in anime; I mean, that is what we are here for, but what matters to me most is the story and the characters. This movie does an abysmal job with it. Yeah, there is more to the theme than what meets the eye initially, the movie is about how we all are connected and how humans are connected to nature, but in the end, I don’t care about it.
The story is as simple as it gets, and there is no real driving force in the narrative, well not an intriguing one, at least. The story follows a robot(not actually, but she acts like one) named Ruka, who encounters two mysterious boys raised by Dugongs and can live in the sea. Sounds interesting. It’s anything but. It has no weight and a sense of purpose.
The only reason why I managed to finish the movie is that it looks so damn beautiful; other than that, it was kind of disappointing.
As for the characters, they are uninteresting. There is a sub-plot about Ruka(the protagonist), which shows how she has changed through the course of the movie, but it just feels forced as hell. She has no clear motivation, as well. The supporting characters initiate all the movie events, and she is just there to witness them.
Now one can say that this helps us to get involved with the world in a better way because we also get to witness it and learn things with our protagonist, but for that, the protagonist needs to be interesting. We should be able to connect with him or her. Here, it just doesn’t work with Ruka. Not because she is emotionless, but because I don’t care about what she is feeling. There is an attempt to make me care about her and her conditions, but it’s just not effective and just completely falls flat for me.
Unfortunately, the supporting characters are not good either. Most of their dialogues consist of some cryptic bullshit, and their personality ranges from a board to a …. wet board. I honestly couldn’t care less about them.
The lack of good dialogue or well fleshed-out characters is not the only problem; it’s also that the movie is too focused on getting its point across. I mean, take Angel’s Egg, for example, that movie is symbolic as hell, and there are barely any dialogues in it. You don’t even know anything about the character, but the actual narrative is strong enough to make me care. It was enough to make me look more into the movie after I finished it. I read many articles and documents to understand all it was trying to say because it was interesting enough, but that is an article for another day.
So, in the end, I was disappointed by this movie. It could have been a masterpiece if the narrative and characters were even somewhat interesting. The animation and soundtrack are the only things that save it from becoming an absolute disaster. But that is just my opinion, and I recommend you check this movie out, at least for the gorgeous animation, and who knows, you might end up loving it because maybe my IQ is just too low to appreciate this movie.