Ride your wave: a maddening sense of emotion and animation [critique]

The director of the brilliant Lou and the Sirens Island sets up a story of love and mourning, surfing and survival

At the end of twenty minutes of film, we feel that there is something. We can feel it coming. And we don’t like it. This love at first sight between a studious young firefighter and a sassy surfer is too beautiful, too perfect – including her mistakes and her charming clumsiness – to last. That’s not a spoil, and better prepare for it: the firefighter drowned and his fiancée sank in pain. But since we are in an animated fantasy, his ghost will appear to help him lift his head. Despite that, no candy pink fuss or fiddling melody: Ride Your Wave is considered precisely as a wrinkled, a dramatic comedy led drum beating where we fight waves and fires with a sense of action, humor and rhythm not far from impeccable (and what a gallery of characters: the frozen lover, the gothic and bitchy sister, the ghost stuck in the fleet …).

Okay, you have to accept the tips and tricks of Japanese youth, their fantasized rituals, their love songs and their coffee shops soft toys, but director Masaaki Yuasa (who recently co-directed the series Japan Sinks 2020, visible on Netflix, on the physical collapse of Japan) sets up the tragic and terrible conditions of its sadness, and takes us to face them with crazy courage and nerve. No, Ride Your Wave does not try to appease the bite of mourning with a supernatural marshmallow, but rather to get us used to having a beautiful scar from it. So here is a wrinkled which is – as we call a big wave in the language of surfing – a real bomb.

Of Masaaki Yuasa. With the voices of Ryota Katayose, Rina Kawaei, Honoka Matsumoto … Duration 1h35. Release September 1, 2021

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