Children of the Sea (Kaijū no Kodomo)

Children of the Sea (Kaijū no Kodomo) 2019

Kicking off this review with some useless trivia – I had actually arranged with my local cinema to maybe screen Children of the Sea back in January but the bushfires prevented that – and obviously, I didn’t want people to risk their lives on entertainment stuff at that point, but I was pretty excited to finally see the film last night.

And if I was rating Children of the Sea only on the visuals and animation, it’d be 5 stars no sweat, everything really is stunning.

However, the narrative lost enough of its momentum at one point, that I know I’ll end the review at 4 Stars. Does that matter? I mean, do star ratings (or even opinions) mean much? Not really – everyone has to decide whether they’ll watch something based on their own markers, but what I’m trying to say is that I loved the look of this movie, right down to the pencil-stroke aesthetic for the character faces.

I’m probably more familiar with earlier Studio 4°C works like Spriggan and Memories but I am now really looking forward to their next release, Poupelle of Chimney Town. However, to actually get back to Children of the Sea itself, I thought Ruka was a great leading character and I was quickly invested in her struggles, thanks to a clever opening. Umi is my second favourite of course, though the boundary-challenged Sora is kind of jerk 😀

Before a significant shift, and one that surprised me, the tone of the film strikes a balance between mystery, wonder and social isolation. It’s all brought together by the visuals, which are ultimately very realistic for most of the film, but can be more vividly presented, and even slightly magical.  

I won’t share the premise or too much of the plot here, because while on the surface Children of the Sea still looks like an aquatic-themed fantasy adventure film (mixed in with some coming-of-age stuff) there are two genres that are perhaps more apt when I think about the film now, because the preview certainly gave me one impression…

But I think that magical realism is more accurate than a general fantasy tag – and if I say too much about why I believe that to be the case, I might inadvertently spoil stuff. To circle back to what I mentioned re: that shift in tone, there’s a point where the movie becomes extremely metaphysical and it was there that, while the visuals remain entrancing, the storyline stalled.

Again, in the end I didn’t mind so much, and I look forward to watching Children of the Sea for a second time one day, but be prepared to go beyond the realms of what you might have first expected, if you choose to watch this!

4 Stars

(Review 148)

13 thoughts on “Children of the Sea (Kaijū no Kodomo)

  1. Wow! You are not kidding about the fact that this one really looks stunning. Looking at the screenshots alone, this is a visual feast for the eyes. Have to admit that I also like the premise you are describing here, so this is definitely a movie I want to see! Sorry to hear you weren’t able to see it in the cinema because of the bushfires😢 It does sound that it at least was worth the wait. Terrific post!😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is yeah – and visual feast is a perfect description 🙂

      Thanks! It was definitely worth the wait – keen to see what you think if you come across it. Not sure who is streaming it for instance, maybe Netflix? (Though that might only be in the US).

      Liked by 1 person

    • It really is yeah there’s a great running sequence too that I really enjoyed for the camera movement, but I didn’t think I could do it justice with screenshots of course. And cool, ‘Tekkonkinkreet’ added to my list 🙂

      Like

  2. Pingback: Weathering with You (Tenki no Ko) | The Review Heap

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