North American premiere

Ride Your Wave

Directed by Masaaki Yuasa


Official selection

Annecy 2019


Masaaki Yuasa


Reiko Yoshida


Ryota Katayose, Rina Kawaei



Japan 2019 95 mins OV Japanese Subtitles : English
Genre AnimationRomance

Flower-shop clerk and oceanography student Hinako is bound to the sea. Kind of a klutz on land, she’s something to behold when she’s astride her surfboard. She’s junior firefighter Kawamura’s hero, and he isn’t shy to say it. After a brave rescue, though, she has a hero of her own, and soon enough has the hots for him. It’s Kawamura’s capable and assured colleague Minato, and the feeling is mutual. The pair embark on a sunny seaside holiday that’s a parade of perfect moments — surfing, camping, sightseeing and omelet engineering. A sudden and terrible event, however, bring the good times to an end. Hinako’s sharp-tongued friends Jun, Ai and Yoko can’t do much to console her, but perhaps something out there in the water can…

The distinctive animated vision of Japan’s inventive and expressive Masaaki Yuasa has an honoured history on Fantasia’s screens, which have witnessed the masterful MIND GAME, the loopy LU OVER THE WALL and of course NIGHT IS SHORT WALK ON GIRL. He’s back with what at first seems a fairly conventional if thoughtfully crafted anime, a romantically triangular trifle with a tragic twist. He can’t contain himself for long, though, and bit by bit his lively, liberated imagination asserts itself with ever more unexpected episodes. His generously sympathetic spirit does too, as he visits themes of losing love, leaning on friends and learning how to find oneself. Visually, Yuasa’s playing with the very elements here, fire and especially water, fluid and amorphous and almost… alive. Yuasa’s RIDE YOUR WAVE has arrived — dive on in! – Rupert Bottenberg