Ocean Waves takes a nostalgic look at the complexities of friendship and young love. Taku (Tobita) and his best friend Yutaka (Seki) are headed back to school for what looks like another uneventful year. But they soon find their friendship tested by the arrival of Rikako (Sakamoto), a beautiful new transfer student from Tokyo, whose attitude shifts wildly from flirty and flippant to melancholic. When Taku joins Rikako on a trip to Tokyo, the school erupts with rumors, and the three friends are forced to come to terms with their changing relationships. Never before released in North America. An animated adaptation of Saeko Himuro's novel. (Gary Reber)
Special features include feature-length layouts for Ocean Waves (HD 01:12:37), Look Back: Staff Reunion (HD 50:08), the U.S. theatrical trailer, the short film The Ghiblies Episode 2 (HD 24:29), upfront previews, and an UltraViolet digital copy.
The 1.85:1 1080p AVC picture features simplified animation, with excellent resolution defined by line drawings. The color palette is more pastel in tone than bold saturated hues. Still, colors are pleasing, with seemingly naturally hued fleshtones. Contrast is excellent, with good black levels and shadow delineation. Overall, this is a classic animated feature that is pleasing to experience. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 2.0 Japanese stereo soundtrack is, of course, frontal focused with surround envelopment. Atmospherics are nicely supportive as well as the occasional sound effect, with effective stereo separation and imaging. Foley effects sound simplistic. The music score is beautifully performed with solo piano and orchestral backdrop. Dialogue is the focus, but the ADR sounds forward and not well integrated spatially. Fidelity throughout is excellent. This is a simplistic yet enjoyable soundtrack. (Gary Reber)