We've been hearing a lot about Studio Ghibli lately for a company that has supposedly shut down. The great Hayao Miyazaki is out of retirement and busier than ever, some of the studio's animators got together and are releasing a new movie next year, and Studio Ghibli is a producer on The Red Turtle, which is bound to be a finalist for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. Also arriving for the very first time in U.S. theaters will be Ocean Waves, which originally opened in Japan back in 1993.
Given a complete 4K restoration, Ocean Waves will be brought stateside by GKIDS for a limited run. Directed by Tomomi Mochizuki, the film was originally designed for television as an opportunity for Studio Ghibli's less-experienced animators to flex their muscles. The story is based on Saeko Himuro's novel about best friends Taku and Yutaka whose friendship is tested when they both fall for Rikako, a beautiful new exchange student.
Familiar ground, to be sure, but it fits neatly with Ghibli's most recent releases, such as Only Yesterday and From Up on Poppy Hill. These quiet, sensitive dramas from Ghibli haven't received the attention they deserve here in the U.S. so I'm happy any time one is made available.
Ocean Waves plays in New York on December 28th before hitting additional locations in January. Here in the DMV we'll be able to check it out on January 17th at the Angelika Mosaic in Fairfax, VA and the Angelika Pop-Up in DC. See the complete list of theaters here.