Ocean Waves (Umi ga Kikoeru) Blu-Ray Arrives April 18
Ocean Waves (Umi ga Kikoeru) is scheduled to be released on Blu-Ray this April 18. The 1993 made-for-television movie, directed by Tomomi Mochizuki, is the final Studio Ghibli feature film to see a home video release in North America. This is also the first time this movie has been released on our shores in any format.
Interestingly enough, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has picked up the distribution, under license from GKIDS, and the film has been given a PG-13 rating. This is a bit excessive and overly cautious, in my opinion, but the important thing is that this movie will be available in its complete and uncut form at last.
In addition to the main film, a 40-minute documentary featuring the production staff reunion has been included. This bonus feature was originally included on the Japanese DVD and Blu-Ray discs, and it's terrific that we finally get the chance to have it here (with English subtitles, of course).
Best of all, Ghiblies Episode 2, the outstanding 2002 anthology short film directed by Yoshiyuki Momose (one of Studio Ghibli's great talents) will make its appearance as an added bonus. In Japan, this 30-minute short appeared as the opening slot of a double bill with The Cat Returns the Favor. I think it made more sense to put those two movies together on home video, but it's great to finally have Ghiblies in our collections.
Ocean Waves is presented in its original Japanese language with English subtitles. As expected, there is not enough audience in the US to support an English-language dub or wider theatrical release. I think the distributors are selling audiences short. Animation doesn't have to merely be "The Electric Babysitter," existing solely to pacify toddlers and sell cheap merchandise. More and better options are available. Oh, well, at least we have the home video release, which is no small shakes.
This is definitely a great movie that all Ghibli Freaks and animation fans should enjoy. This release is highly recommended.