Ride Your Wave is a very traditional Anime with a sharp twist that will turn off alot of viewers who aren't used to the adult themes of it.
When I went into this I had a general idea as to what was going on. Masaaki Yuasa and Reiko Yoshida have a decent amount of works I'm used to. Unfortunately, heading into this I watched Lu over the Wall and didn't watch or catch most of the screenplay she's done are quite mature and depressing. Which is the best way to describe this movie.
I read somewhere that they 'spoil' alot of the parts in the trailers, but I managed to see none of that and assumed it was about a guy learning to surf while falling in love with an oddball. And I was right until the second act.
This movie is everything you'd think it is until the heroic main character dies in a fairly realistic fashion and the female lead takes it very realistically. She shuts herself off from reality, breaks down, and eventually begins taking comfort in a fantasy that is handled quiet well. For the sake of this review, it's that when she sings a song shared between her and her lost lover he appears in water. For the sake of the movie itself, no one can see him and it's treated as though she's having a genuine mental breakdown.
That is where this movie is quite strong, and where it loses alot of it's viewers. The entire second act of this movie is depressing. While plenty of Reiko Yoshida's works have dealt with serious topics on par with loss and the ability to move on past it, this is just depressing. All the montages and moments that the leads share together thanks to magic is lost when the reality is right there.
But to me this works because it's supposed to be depressing. You're supposed to be seeing someone unable to move on past such an impactful part of their life. They break down whenever they see anything that reminds them of that loss, and are unable to accept anything that would dare to threaten it. Even to the point that it becomes hurtful for you to hold onto.
Realizing that you need to let go of it becomes the third act, and the conclusion of the second act's entirety. For me it's where the depressing second act shines, when everyone realizes that despite the losses endured they will always have the love and strength of someone who is now gone. Also the conclusion of the film when it finally hits that he's gone, he's dead, and he isn't coming back thanks to a callback from earlier in the film coming full circle is genuinely enjoyable to watch.
I understand why alot of people tapped out and are complaing that this movie isn't enjoyable to watch, but I will defend that it's a perfect mixture of these two artist's doing their craft a staggering amount of justice.
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