Here is another look at an anime film from Netflix. I am very behind on anime films that have appeared on the streaming service. Here is an attempt to dig into that backlog a little more. There is still a quite a few more to get into yet. Exactly like there is a lot of series that I haven’t check out on a Netflix either. Even with that movement of Sony purchasing Crunchyroll, Netflix has worked hard to place itself as a staple of anime viewing culture. Especially with Netflix’s grab of JoJo and Gundam which are massive things with built in fanbases. Even the Netflix jail is breaking a bit. I wonder what Netflix will do next because of all of their movements. It’s a very sad but curious thing to see. With that, Children of the Sea.
This is another time where words fail to convey a film. I mean, they are visual experiences, right? All anime are visual experiences. Usually, there is a story that you can write about and critique a bit about. Something about how well its executed or something. Visuals? Can you really use words to talk about visuals? Well, considering how this blog exists and other anime blogs exists, you can. It just takes a lot of words. I am not an expert on visual animation and story telling, so I only give my own quick thoughts on them, but I do know some things about writing. So, in an essence, writing about Children of the Sea or Flip Flappers a few weeks ago is antithetical to my own writing and styles. That’s where the challenge is.
The story of Children of the Sea starts rather simply. In the middle of the summer, Ruka is a lonely junior high student. She hates spending time with her drunk mother and was kicked out of her handball after a jealous older girl caused her to rage, Ruka only has the sea and the aquarium her dad works at to spend some time. That is where she meets Umi, one of the children who lives in the sea and needs to remain wet to survive. Where does he come from? No one knows. Still, Umi provides a new world for Ruka to explore. A world that expands even more when she meets another person like Umi named Sora. A classic set up to a tale about a girl growing up and going beyond her own world.
The structure of the film slowly leaves itself behind and lets the visuals do more and more of the talking as it moves on. I mean, the oceans take a lot of interest to how Ruka connects with the nice guy Umi and very tsundere Sora. They are water boys and Ruka is the normal, land base person so obviously that is character building things. Also, a great way for Children of the Sea to flex its amazing fish animation. When I say fish, I mean all sorts of creative sea life all over the sea world and other material here. I love it. So much beautiful bits of animation all over the place here. There is a sense of realism from Ruka getting carried away by the sea life and having to get saved by Umi and Sora a lot.
When the space elements of the show appear like Ruka mentioning how during the night she and Sora could swim into space, the story becomes a lot more all over the places. While Ruka missing causes her parents to join together when she is missing for days on end. There is even some small pointless talk from ocean specialists who want to know what is going and how they would learn more about the universe by going to a special ceremony themselves. Pointless not for explaining what is going on, but because they never showed up or are just not important at all. There is a mixture of religion and science that happens at this point, but it goes beyond explaining.
I really mean that. Children of the Sea goes completely insane when Sora chooses Ruka and becomes a center of the ceremony with Umi on the side here. Supposedly, we might be seeing the rebirth of the universe itself when the sea creatures and space meet? It’s hard to really just say because the movie doesn’t want to give you an explanation and that’s fine. It’s so fun to give you an excellent way to explore and see what is going on for yourself. It’s really beautiful to look at in all respects even when it’s so hard to describe all of it in word form. I love abstract things like it when they just explore all of it understandably. Or not understandably. Beautiful space nonsense to see and explore.
So yes, this film is good. Good character drama to see Ruka explore herself and her loneliness until it becomes some very interesting and wonderful art and animation that you can soak yourself in. So yes, the story gradually left and that will hurt some other people’s experiences or not. I loved it though. I really felt like I could soak myself into the ocean when I watched it on a larger screen. Even if the story is lacking, sometimes visuals are enough to get you into the film or show you are watching when they are this good. I honestly believe this is one of the most beautiful anime films I’ve ever watched. At least with modern animation. So, there you go. Here I am writing about something beyond my depth once again. Seems to be a very large running thing on this blog. That’s ok.