Adventure Animation

TIFF Next Wave Review: ‘Children of the Sea’

February 13, 2020Ferdosa Abdi

Based on the manga series of the same name, Ayumu Watanabe's Children of the Sea follows Ruka (Mana Ashida), a lonely girl estranged from her mother and her fellow classmates. With summer vacation looming, Ruka wistfully remembers the only time she was happy as a child — visiting the local aquarium, a place she has a profound and deep connection to.

One day, Ruka makes an impromptu visit to said aquarium. While looking for her father, who happens to work there, she encounters Umi (Hiiro Ishibashi), a boy who was raised by dugongs and can breathe underwater. Ruka, Umi and Umi's brother Sora's (Seishū Uragami) paths were meant to cross — their destinies intertwined. But their connection also links to a strange supernatural phenomenon occurring with the aquatic life in Japan and the comets that fell into the sea. What follows takes some unexpected turns along the way, but the journey is worth it.

Dazzling, with beautifully dreamlike animation that captures your attention, the result is an intimate and sensitive film with details and colors that will leave you breathless. From the sparkle in Ruka's eyes to the waves crashing onto the shore, Children of the Sea is a carefully crafted masterpiece.

Children of the Sea screens Sunday, February 16th at TIFF Next Wave. Its runtime is 1 hr. 51 min.

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