There’s no denying that Japanese anime Children of the Sea, based on Daisuke Igarashi’s manga series, has been beautifully adapted for the big screen.
But while the visuals may be stunning, the plot – which combines a tale about a teenage girl’s summer with philosophical ideas about the creation of the universe – is almost impossible to follow. Get ready to be confused.
Ruka first meets Umi at an aquarium, and quickly learns that he and his brother, Sora, aren’t like other kids. They were raised in the ocean by dugongs, and have the ability to swim as fast as dolphins.
Umi and Sora offer to teach Ruka the secrets of the ocean, and soon, she is joining them on their dazzling underwater adventures.
There is some real artistry at work here. Audiences will be blown away by how skilfully director Ayumu Watanabe and his team have brought Igarashi’s imaginative designs to life. This may be one of the most beautiful animations ever.
However, the art doesn’t make up for the two hours of utter confusion the film subjects viewers to. Yes, it’s true that art isn’t always meant to be understood, but Watanabe and co have taken that notion too far here.
If you have a strong appreciation for art, this film is for you. But if you like that art to be accompanied by a coherent storyline, maybe rethink getting those tickets.