Letting go or moving on is never easy. The touch of a loved one has made you feel and the experience of suddenly losing it would probably make it hard to continue living. Ride Your Wave highlights how a love that was destined for you can easily turn into a tragic memory and it teaches how much courage it can take to say goodbye. It’s another anime movie that hits and hurts differently on many levels, and here’s why!
Ride Your Wave is a Japanese movie that has broke fans’ hearts multiple times. This tear-jerking romantic drama masterpiece of Reiko Shodi who is also known for writing another heart-wrenching movie, A Silent Voice.
The 2019 Japanese Animated movie directed by Masaaki Yuasa did not only succeed in making us cry but also in various awards shows, such as Best Animation Film during the Shanghai International Film Festival in 2019, and Best Animated Feature during the Fantasia Film Festival in the same year.
The movie centers on the art of letting go as it follows the story of a young girl, Mukaimizu Hinako, who recently moved into a new town popular for surfing. However, as she juggles college and training on becoming a world surfer, she had a fated encounter. She fatedly met the man who would turn her world upside down, Hinageshi Minato. They got together and created a love story as beautiful and endless as the ocean.
There are so many animes following the plot of losing someone they love that have been released over the past years. However, this anime teaches us the beautiful and harsh realities we have to face in real life. The fact is that we can love in the most unexpected way and lose them in the cruelest way.
How Did Hinako and Minato Meet?
Hinako and Minato’s encounter was the beginning of a destined love story. Mukaimizu Hinako is a college girl who is very fond of surfing the oceans, and its beautiful waves. The love they eventually formed is pure destiny for the lovers already once met when they were young. However, Hinako just became aware of who Minato is after his death. However, Minato knows her as he keeps pertaining to her as his hero in the movie.
Both of them fatefully crossed paths during a fire incident. An illegal firework show caused Hinako’s apartment to be caught in a fire. Minato’s station was the first responder in the said incident. To save herself, Hinako climbs to the rooftop and asked for help from the firefighters below. Coincidentally, Minato was a firefighter who was in the fire brigade. He rescued Hinako and their story began.
She invited him to catch some waves while listening to their favorite song, which will eventually play a vital role in the story. The two officially got together. They both enjoyed the waves, coffee, sunsets, karaoke dates, omurice, and selfies while sharing their goals and dreams with each other and for each other. They were always there by their partner’s side, and Minato was definitely a man who was ready to give everything to Hinako.
Unfortunately, like most, what they had was a love so hard to find but so easy to lose. As someone who has watched it, I didn’t want their story to end. It was a genuine heart-warming summer love that you wish you had and you wished would last. For instance, because Hinako finds it difficult to write Minato’s surname, Minato asked him what she’ll do when it becomes her surname, which insinuates that he sees Hinako as the woman she will marry.
Indeed, it was too soon. However, the movie is more than their love story. Hinako might have lost Minato so soon, but the movie emphasizes more than what she has lost.
The Art of Moving On, But Never Letting Go
Hinako is the definition of someone that loved, lost, and moved on, but never let go. This Japanese animated movie teaches us the big difference between letting go and moving on. Hinako and Minato always wanted their relationship to last for they were absolutely inseparable and compatible with one another. But, it is not only love that comes in the most unexpected way.
The relationship that Minato and Hinako had lasted more than a summer. They were able to celebrate birthdays, and even spend their vacation flying out to the city. The movie just shows their get-to-know-you and falling-in-love-deeper stage in a very fast phase by the means of the song Brand New Story by Generations from Exile Tribe.
The death of a love one is scary, specifically when it came unexpectedly. The romance-fantasy movie wasn’t meant to just make us happy, in love, and cry. Ride Your Wave teaches us the significance of moving on by showing that people go through five stages of grief.
1. Denial: The First Wave of Pain
Minato and Hinako shared many sunrises and sunsets together. With the hopes of getting better at surfing, Minato went to the ocean on his own right after the snow. As Hinako mentioned that the best waves usually come after it.
Ten, twenty years, even when you’re old and gray. Until you’re able to ride those waves alone.Minato to Hinako (Ride Your Wave)
These words were said after Hinako questioned him about how long he will there. For Hinako, these were words of assurance but for us, it was a foreshadowing. Right after this night, Minato went to see the ocean by himself.
Tragically, it was his last ride on the waves. Minato’s life ended because of trying to save a kid from drowning. Minato always had a hero instinct in him which Hinako and his friends all admired. Having no clue of what happened, Hinako went to the sea with her surfboard wishing to ride the waves with Minato. But in reality, she saw no signs of Minato.
Instead, she saw ambulances, Minato’s broken surfboard, and rescue teams. Deep down she knew what happened, but couldn’t accept or process it resulting to her lost of consciousness. The mind goes blank for it refuses to process or accept a certain incident. This scene realistically depicts the emotions we feel when we lose someone we love.
2. Anger: The Second Wave of Pain
The second stage of grief do not only describes the frustrations or anger that one feels. The second wave of pain involves the feeling of extreme sadness leading to anxiety. Losing Minato resulted to Hinako losing herself as she struggles to live without him.
Even before meeting and loving Minato, she first found her first love, and that is none other than surfing. Hinako’s main reason in moving to a new town is to pursue her career as future Oceanographer. However, despite being a sea lover and a skilled surfer, Hinako moved to a different place right after Minato’s death. A place far from the ocean.
Yes, surfing was her first love but it became the reason why she loss someone she loves. Its the ‘everything reminds me of him’ that pushed her to make such decision. In one scene, Minato’s sister and friend visited Hinako to check on her and gave her the things Minato has left behind. One of them was his phone. Unable to accept the situation, Hinako hopelessly calls his phone and desperately hope for him to answer.
His death changed her drastically. Her vibrant smile and cheerful personality were no longer there. This part of the movie allows us to see that these kind of things are expected when you lose someone. There is no such thing as crying or grieving too much. No person can skip this stage of grief because sometimes the moments we shared ends up being the memories that painfully haunts us.
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3. Bargaining: The Third Wave of Pain
Hinako struggles to find another meaning in her life. Like many people who loses someone they love, she tried to be comforted by the company of her friends but still weren’t enough. This is where the story starts. During a lunch out with Minato’s sister and friend, Hinako saw Minato from a glass filled with water.
This made Hinako sadder but eventually believes that what she sees is more than a hallucination. As mentioned, the song Brand New Story is a huge part of their story. When there is any sign of water and Hinako sings the song, Minato pops up. This supernatural occurrence in the movie proves that we cling to any hope despite not fully understanding it to avoid the harsh truth.
Was Minato a hallucination? For the people around her it seemed like it was. It was only Hinako who was able too see and talk to Minato. Even Minato didn’t understand the reason why he was still able to come back even in a different form. Still, they continued where they left off and spent most of their time doing their usual routines: shopping, karaoke, watching the sunset, and just having fun together. This temporarily stopped the pain that Hinako was feeling as she was able to feel the comfort she longed for.
However, no matter how hard they try to ignore the truth, it is unavoidable. Minato knows that he is no longer the same man for Hinako. He knows that his presence is not enough to compensate for the needs and wants of Hinako to which he cannot give anymore. Regardless, Hinako keeps on saying that all of it is enough as long as he is there. This is a sign of bargaining because she tries to overshadow the grief she feels by believing that Minato was never gone.
The hallucinations or superstitions that allows her to see Minato teaches us the significance of reaching out to others. It is okay not be okay, but it is never good to keep the pain to yourself. In reality, we can avoid this situation through the comfort of our friends. Remember that the loss of one thing is never the loss of everything.
4. Depression and Detachment: The Fourth Wave of Pain
This stage is considered to be the most quiet one. In the fourth wave of pain, Hinako slowly realizes the truth she continuously denies in the first stages of grief. Yes, this is probably the most painful stage for anyone who had experience loss as it doubles the sadness one feels. Minato’s friend, Kawamura Wasabi, went to visit and confessed her admiration for Hinako. Not knowing how and what to respond, she went to the restroom and called Minato out.
Hinako repeatedly said that he only loves Minato and the way things are enough for her as long as he is there by her side.
New waves will always keep coming in. Not all of them will be good, you’ll want to let those pass. But, if you stay with your head underwater you’ll never learn to ride the waves.Minato to Hinako (Ride Your Wave)
These words of Minato where the force that drove her to face reality. When Hinako attempted to talk to Kawamura who confessed to her earlier that day. an accident occurred. Two vehicles crashed which ignited a fire. Knowing that a person was still inside, Hinako begged Kawamura to save the person because if it was Minato he would go save the man without second thoughts.
Hinako sang the song resulting for Minato to emerge underwater and put out the fire. The man who got involved in the accident wasn’t able to survive and was taken by the light which almost got Minato, too. Hinako saw Minato almost getting taken by the light and was desperately calling his name. However, Kawamura helped her snapped into reality. It was hard for her to visit the ocean, but she still went. It was difficult to stop herself from singing the song, but managed to hold herself from doing so.
These scenes shows us that Hinako eventually found the energy to start moving forward again. It was the first step in entering the final wave of pain. Hinako represents most us who tries their best to muster the pain and turn them into courage.
5. Acceptance: The Final Wave of Pain
Minato never knew the reason why he is still on Earth. But everything started to make sense in the last few parts of the movie. After deciding to continue living her life, Hinako slowly accepted the death of her lover. They say acceptance is always the key, but of course it’s never that easy.
She chose to move on but also decided to never let go of the memories they both shared. Therefore, Hinako enrolled herself to a lifesaving course as her newfound purpose in life. She decided to continue the path Minato had, which is to save lives. In another fire incident that endangered the her and Minato’s younger sisters’ life, she calls out Minato one last time. He helped them escape the fire through a large body of water.
Minato’s death made it hard for Hinako to try surfing again. However, she bravely did it to save Minato’s sister, Youku. Hinako and Youko managed to get to safety thanks to Minato. After helping them, Minato was taken by the light with contentment in his eyes for he saw Hinako riding the waves again.
This movie teaches us that too much dependence is not good. Never forget who you are no matter how beautiful or ugly things may get. Like Hinako, we must always independently live our lives but never forget to seek others when needed. Besides, even though we are not skilled surfers like her, we are certainly riding our own waves in this vast ocean that we call life.