Children of the Sea

Alt title: Kaijuu no Kodomo

Movie (1 ep x 111 min)
3.583 out of 5 from 1,325 votes
Rank #4,160
Children of the Sea

When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea as she does. Ruka's dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the oceans' fish.

Source: Viz

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Here is my plot synopsis of Children of the Sea. Ruka, a junior high school girl, is caught in a difficult family situation. Her mother, Kanako, and father, Masaaki, are seperated, with Kanako spending her days drinking heavily and Masaaki working at the local aquarium. Kanako and Masaaki have been neglecting Ruka, showing her no attention or affection. The summer break has arrived and Ruka has nowhere to go after fighting with her mother. Haunted by a memory at the aquarium, Ruka decides to visit her father and meets two mysterious boys connected to the ocean. Will Ruka be able to reconnect with her parents? Explaining this part of Children of the Sea (Sea) is important because it is the heart of the movie. Sea tries to tell two stories, one about Ruka's family problems and one about a mystery related to Earth's ocean life. When I read the synopsis used to advertise this movie, I thought this was going to be a mystery about a global event that was related to the ocean. There is a mystery with two boys related to the ocean, but that is not the most important part of the movie. What Sea is about is a child spending her summer living in a fantasy. Rather than facing the reality of her family, she becomes part of a universal mystery, one revolving around two mysterious boys, meteorites and glowing animals. Anyone living in an unstable family life can relate to wanting a fantasy to live in and to be part of a world larger than the one they live in.  Sea tries to balance two stories. This is the problem that most people have with Sea.  The movie has both stories without developing either stories enough. Many important scenes from the manga are included, but context needed to explain the story is missing or reduced. The supporting cast from the Ruka story and the mystery story are included, but most of their characterization is shrunk to their basic stereotype. I read the manga and have the context to understand what is going on, but people encountering this story for the first time are right to be baffled. When I first read the manga, I was not sure what the story was trying to say. After watching the movie, I understood that Sea is about a lonely girl connecting with the world in a powerful way. She learns about the connections between people and the ocean, the world and the universe, and the power of the individual and the universe.  Children of the Sea is an imperfect and bold attempt to push animation to new levels of detail and emotion. The story could have been better concentrated, the characters could have been better defined, but the emotions of awe and mystery are executed well. For sheer pleasure of the animation, please watch this movie. 

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