From Studio 4°C (the creators of Memories (1995), Spriggan (1998), and Tekkon Kinkreet (2006), all of which screened at Montreal’s beloved Fantasia Festival), comes a new work of art.

A young girl befriends two boys brought up by Dugongs (large sea dwellers related to the Manatee), and embarks on a journey to discover how we are all connected. Through the sea, the universe, good or bad, we are all made up of the same matter. Stars release meteorites to impregnate the ocean. With life.

What can be said of Watanabe Ayumu’s Children of the Sea without spoiling its visual and philosophical poetry? It’s difficult to dislike this film. Even if it is not someone’s cup of tea, it’s impossible to say it is badly made or does not have some interesting elements, both visually and lyrically.

It’s beautifully rendered, with great attention to aquatic scenery, hair (perhaps because it’s something interesting to animate both underwater and in windy conditions), and eyes. Yes, eyes. What at first seems like typical kawaii Japanese style oversized eyes becomes a tool to show transformations and growth in the characters, as well as the proverbial window to the soul. The viewer may find it hard to put into words what they see in each character’s soul, but it feels like something deep.

Dreamy, mysterious and a little bit mischievous.

With musical accompaniment by Ghibli Studios’ favorite composer, Hisaishi Jo.



TOHO Cinemas, Roppongi Hills, 4:55 PM, November 2nd, 2019 (Please note, screening times are in Japan Standard Time).

Tokyo International Film Festival: