Blu-ray Review: Ride Your Wave

Masaaki Yuasa has quickly become one of my favorite animation directors. Thanks to GKIDS and Shout! Factory releasing Mind Game, Lu over the Wall and Night Is Short, Walk On Girl over the last few years, Yuasa comes off as a filmmaker who creates fantastical worlds with a sense of normalcy at their core. Ride Your Wave is his latest to arrive on this side of the ocean after being released in Japan on June 21, 2019. This a heartbreaking romance about love, sacrifice, illegal fireworks and surfing.

Hinako (She-Ra And The Princesses of Power’s Merit Leighton) has moved to a beach view apartment as she starts college. Although what she’s really cares about hitting the waves with her surf board. Taking notice of the new girl in town are two young fireman. Minato (Monkey King: Hero Is Back’s Joey Richter) and Wasabi (Zak Storm’s Michael Johnston) are pals who are learning the ropes and hoses to battle blazes in the coastal town. Both enjoy seeing Hinako tackle the waves during their breaks on the training grounds. But only one has a chance to make a major entrance into her life. A group of kids decide to launch illegal fireworks in the neighborhood. These aren’t the usual bottle rockets bought at a roadside stand. They’re got small town 4th of July fireworks and aren’t caring about aim. This leads to Hinako’s apartment building catching fire. She escapes to the roof where one of the two firefighter pals saves her and her beloved surfboard. This leads to a passionate whirlwind romance and a stunning end. Hinako is devastated until she begins to sing their song and finds her lost love floating in the water. Can they make this relationship still work?

Ride Your Wave is a bit of a supernatural love story after the first third being a bit of a conventional young romance. Even with Hinako getting a chance to reunite with her firefighting lover, it’s strange when she carries his aquatic spirit in a water bottle or an inflatable whale. The ending is action filled when the illegal fireworks comes back into play. While a bit more grounded than Mind Walk, Ride Your Wave is rather fluid with the mixture of love, grief and ghostly visitations. Masaaki Yuasa and his crew really bring everything together in the end like a great surf ride.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The animation brings out the motion of the waves when Hinako is on top of her surfboard. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1 in both English and Japanese. Either mix sounds fine. The movie is subtitled in English, French and Spanish.

12-Page Exclusive Booklet
Interview with Producer Eunyoung Choi
Animated Storyboards
Character Still Gallery
Theatrical Trailers

Shout! Factory and GKIDS present Ride Your Wave. Directed by: Ayumu Watanabe. Screenplay by: Reiko Yoshida. Starring: Mana Ashida, Hiiro Ishibashi, Seishû Uragami, Win Morisaki, Yû Aoi, Sumiko Fuji and Gorô Inagaki. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 95 minutes. Released: August 4, 2020

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