A Studio Ghibli Film From 1993 Is Finally Getting a Theatrical Release in America

Image: screengrab of Ocean Waves trailer
Image: screengrab of Ocean Waves trailer
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If you live in one of the cities that’ll be screening rare Studio Ghibli film Ocean Waves, you could be among the first Americans to see it on the big screen. The teen drama was originally made for Japanese TV in 1993, and it never got a theatrical release in the US—until now.


Here’s a synopsis, followed by some additional details on its creation, courtesy of Studio Ghibli:

Rarely seen outside of Japan, Ocean Waves is a subtle, poignant and wonderfully detailed story of adolescence and teenage isolation. Taku and his best friend Yutaka are headed back to school for what looks like another uneventful year. But they soon find their friendship tested by the arrival of Rikako, a beautiful new transfer student from Tokyo whose attitude vacillates 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.

Ocean Waves was the first Studio Ghibli film directed by someone other than studio founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, as director Tomomi Mochizuki led a talented staff of younger employees in an adaptation of Saeko Himuro’s best-selling novel. Full of shots bathed in a palette of pleasingly soft pastel colors and rich in the unexpected visual details typical of Studio Ghibli’s most revered works, Ocean Waves is an accomplished teenage drama and a true discovery.

And the trailer:

Ocean Waves will first screen in New York City starting December 28, followed by dates in select cities through March 10. Check out this list of theaters to see if it’s playing near you—but if not, an eventual Blu-ray release is also planned.

[First Showing]

io9 News Editor, here since 2016. Previously SF Bay Guardian newspaper (RIP), SFSU (MA, Cinema Studies), member of the SF Bay Area Film Critics Circle, big fan of horror, metal, and verrry small dogs.



Decent movie, but the music is great. Shigeru Nagata, the composer, seemed to have disappeared after the film. Never could find out what happend to him.