Ride Your Wave

Ride Your Wave (Japanese: きみと、波にのれたら, Hepburn: Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara) is a 2019 Japanese animated film produced by Science Saru and directed by Masaaki Yuasa. The film premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 10, 2019 and was released in Japan on June 21, 2019.

Ride Your Wave
Ride Your Wave poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMasaaki Yuasa
Written byReiko Yoshida
Music byMichiru Oshima
Distributed byToho
Release date
  • June 10, 2019 (2019-06-10) (Annecy)
  • June 21, 2019 (2019-06-21)
Running time
96 minutes
Box office$3.9 million (worldwide)[1]


19-year-old Hinako Mukaimizu moves to an oceanside town to attend college and indulge in her hobby, surfing, without much thought to her future. When her new apartment catches on fire from fireworks, she is rescued by Minato Hinageshi, a 21-year-old firefighter with a strong sense of justice. Hinako is drawn to his capable personality, and they bond when he begins learning how to surf. As the two spend time together, they fall in love. However, after Hinako tells Minato that waves are the best to surf in during the winter storm, he goes surfing during the storm and drowns while rescuing a jetskiier.

Hinako is distraught by his death and moves to an apartment away from the beach. One day, she finds out that he appears in water whenever she sings "Brand New Story", a song the two of them often sang together. While the others are unable to see him, Hinako and Minato spend time with each other again, even in public. However, Minato is reminded of his own mortality after realizing he cannot physically touch Hinako and when his co-worker, Wasabi, confesses to her. He tells Hinako that she must learn to move on with her life, but Hinako refuses to accept this. However, she realizes she is too reliant on him after she stops him from ascending to heaven.

When Hinako goes to pay her respects at Minato's house, his sister Yōko tells her what inspired Minato to become a hardworking firefighter. Hinako discovers she was the person who saved Minato from drowning when they were younger, and when she unlocks his phone, she reads his drafted text message telling her to "ride her own wave". She enrolls in a lifeguard training course, hoping to eventually stop being dependent on Minato. Meanwhile, Yōko confesses to Wasabi, reminding him that he had inspired her to return to school when she was bullied.

At her part-time job, Yōko overhears the same group that set off the previous fireworks planning to do so at an abandoned building housing a large Christmas tree. Hinako accompanies her as they tail the group to collect evidence. The fireworks cause building and tree to catch on fire, and Hinako and an injured Yōko are stuck at the top. Hinako calls upon Minato, who sends a wave of water up the building, extinguishing the fire. Hinako puts Yōko on a backboard and rides it like a surfboard down the wave. After exchanging final farewells with Yōko, Wasabi and Hinako, Minato's spirit ascends to heaven.

The next Christmas, Hinako, Yōko and Wasabi, the latter two now dating, visit the Chiba Port Tower to celebrate Hinako receiving her lifeguard certification. Hinako sings to a fountain, but Minato does not appear; however, the tower reads a message he had written for her the previous year. Afterwards, Hinako resumes her lifeguard duties and confidently continues surfing at the beach again.

Voice castEdit

Characters Japanese English
Minato Hinageshi (雛罌粟港, Hinageshi Minato) Ryota Katayose,[2] Tomohisa Yamazaki (young) Joey Richter[3]
A 21-year-old firefighter interested in Hinako, who he calls his hero. He is talented in cooking.
Hinako Mukaimizu (向水ひな子, Mukaimizu Hinako) Rina Kawaei,[2] Hina Kino (young) Merit Leighton[3]
A 19-year-old college student working part-time as a florist.
Yōko Hinageshi (雛罌粟洋子, Hinageshi Yōko) Honoka Matsumoto[4] Sarah Anne Williams[3]
Minato's younger sister and a high school student working part-time at a café. She speaks bluntly, leading Minato to nickname her a blue-ringed octopus.
Wasabi Kawamura (川村山葵, Kawamura Wasabi) Kentaro Ito[4] Michael Johnston[3]
Minato's junior and friend at work.


The film was announced at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2018, where Yuasa stated that he would direct.[5] He described the film as a "simple romantic comedy" that will have "a lot of exciting scenes", including some depicting the contrast between water and fire.[5] Yuasa compared life to "riding a wave", using it as the basis for the story.[5] The film was produced by Science Saru.[6] Reiko Yoshida served as the scriptwriter and Michiru Oshima served as a music composer.[6] Rina Kawaei and Generations from Exile Tribe member Ryota Katayose joined the cast on leading roles in January 2019, with the film being Katayose's first voice acting role.[2] Honoka Matsumoto and Kentaro Ito joined the cast on supporting roles in February 2019.[4]

The film's theme song is "Brand New Story" by Generations from Exile Tribe.[7] A music video animated by Science Saru, featuring the members and new original scenes from the film, released on June 21, 2019.[8] To promote the film, a two-chapter manga adaptation by Machi Kiachi was serialized in Deluxe BetsuComi, which contains an original story about Hinako and Minato's first meeting.[9]

On July 2, 2019, GKIDS announced they had licensed the film in North America and was released in 2020.[10]


The film was released in Japan nationwide on June 21, 2019. A Chinese release for the film was slated for August 7, 2019, but was cancelled.[11] The film premiered in the United Kingdom at Scotland Loves Anime on October 11, 2019.[12] The film premiered in North America by GKIDS on February 2, 2020, and was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 4, 2020.[3]


The film was released in 299 theaters across Japan on June 21, 2019 and debuted at #9 on opening week with ¥80 million.[13] Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 92% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 25 reviews, with an average rating of 7.77/10.[14] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 60 based on 8 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15]

Matt Schley from The Japan Times gave the film four out of five stars, complimenting the "charming cast of characters," while mentioning the film seemed too "normal" for a work by Yuasa.[16] Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Charles Solomon called the film Yuasa's "best anime yet", citing its believable characters and polished animation style.[17] Peter Debruge from Variety noted that the film's use of a hit single as its theme song helped broaden its appeal to a more mainstream audience, but also criticized it for pushing its romance themes too strong.[18]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2019 Annecy International Animated Film Festival Cristal du long metrage Ride Your Wave Nominated[19]
Shanghai International Film Festival Best Animation Ride Your Wave Won[20]
Fantasia International Film Festival Best Animated Feature Ride Your Wave Won[21]
Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival Best Animated Feature Ride Your Wave Won[22]
2020 Mainichi Film Awards Best Animation Film Ride Your Wave Nominated[23]


  1. ^ "Ride Your Wave". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Ressler, Karen (January 14, 2019). "Masaaki Yuasa's 'Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara' Anime Film Reveals Lead Cast, Character Details". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Sherman, Jennifer (May 8, 2020). "GKIDS, Shout! Factory to Release Ride Your Wave Anime Film on Home Video". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Pineda, Rafael Antonio (February 27, 2019). "Masaaki Yuasa's 'Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara' Anime Film Adds 2 Cast Members". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Loo, Egan (October 27, 2018). "Devilman Crybaby Director Masaaki Yuasa Unveils New Anime Film 'Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara'". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Hodgkins, Crystalyn (December 13, 2018). "Masaaki Yuasa's 'Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara' Anime Film Reveals More Staff, June 21 Debut". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  7. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (March 8, 2019). "Masaaki Yuasa's 'Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara' Anime Film Trailer Previews Theme Song". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  8. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (June 21, 2019). "Anime Music Video for Ride Your Wave Film's Theme Song Posted". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  9. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (February 24, 2019). "Masaaki Yuasa's 'Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara' Anime Film Gets 2-Chapter Manga". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  10. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (July 2, 2019). "GKIDS Acquires North American Rights to Animated Feature 'Ride Your Wave'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  11. ^ "Japanese animated film Ride Your Wave was scheduled to be released in the Chinese mainland on August 7, the day of Chinese Valentine's Day, but the release of the film has been canceled". Twitter. August 2, 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  12. ^ "Ride Your Wave". Scotland Loves Anime. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  13. ^ Komatsu, Mikikaze (June 24, 2019). "Japan Box Office: Ride Your Wave Debuts at 9th with Disappointing 80 Million Yen". Crunchyroll. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  14. ^ "Ride Your Wave (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  15. ^ "Critic Reviews for Ride Your Wave". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  16. ^ Schley, Matt (June 19, 2019). "'Ride Your Wave': Love, loss, the sea and a surfboard". The Japan Times. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  17. ^ Solomon, Charles (February 19, 2020). "Review: Masaaki Yuasa creates his best anime yet with fantasy-romance 'Ride Your Wave'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  18. ^ Debruge, Peter (November 9, 2019). "Tokyo Film Review: 'Ride Your Wave'". Variety. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  19. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (April 16, 2019). "Ride Your Wave, Relative Worlds, Wonderland, Children of the Sea Films Compete at Annecy (Updated)". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  20. ^ "Winners of the 22nd SIFF Golden Goblet Awards". Shanghai International Film Festival. June 23, 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  21. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (July 26, 2019). "Ride Your Wave, Human Lost Films Win Awards at Fantasia Int'l Film Festival". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  22. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (October 14, 2019). "Ride Your Wave Wins Best Animated Film at Spain's Sitges". Anime News Network. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  23. ^ "Mainichi Film Concours 2020". IMDb. Retrieved February 22, 2020.

External linksEdit