Japanese Title: Wave!! Surfing Yappe!!
Similar: Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club
Watched in: Japanese
Length: 12 episodes
- Has a corgi
- Instant pro
- Overused slow-mo
- CG surfing
- Shallow relationships
- Teaches nothing about surfing
An anime about surfing – I haven’t seen one before, so why not give it a shot?
Well, this was the wrong place to start.
Wave!! Let’s Go Surfing!! is the dullest sports anime I’ve ever seen. It commits almost every narrative sin, though not in that gouge-your-eyes-out manner of the typical bad anime.
The story opens with a flashforward of a surfing competition in progress, introducing us to a half-dozen surfers with the same slow motion shot of each mid-trick atop a wave, and then does nothing with these characters. Is this the worst opening scene of anime? I’d have to go back through the hundreds that I’ve seen to be sure, but it may just be. These characters don’t enter the narrative for a few episodes. You’ll likely forget you’ve seen them before. There’s no story, no personality, and not even a spectacle in this scene thanks to that rubbish slow-mo effect (expect to see it a lot). It’s hard to describe how limp this scene is.
The story proper start when protagonist Masaki goes for a run on the beach at dawn, where he sees Sho, a handsome surfer who mesmerises him with his talent. Masaki suddenly wants to become a surfer.
Let’s pause for another stupefying moment. They establish Masaki runs on the beach regularly, a location popular with surfers, and he never had an interest before? His best friend is a pro surfer, for heaven’s sake, and yet he never showed interest (the friend even points this out). And it’s not as if Sho does something particular to inspire such obsession. This all leads to a weird infatuation on Masaki’s part – very homoerotic, though I’m not sure if intentional. Could be bad characterisation.
Anyway, we move on. So Masaki gets his first surfing lesson from Sho.
Alright, let’s pause again. He instantly succeeds like a pro. I don’t mean he learns in a week. No, he stands up on the board and rides a wave perfectly on his first attempt. I burst out laughing! The writer tries to excuse this by first have Sho and the friend say that it could take months of practice just to stand on the board, never mind surf a wave. Ah, that classic “If I point it out myself, then no one can criticise me for it” move. It only makes this more pathetic because it shows that the writer knew the reality yet chose to bend it beyond belief.
But we move on.
Next thing you know, Masaki the wunderkind of surfing goes out in a storm to catch a wave even though he know it will likely kill him. He does this because…? So he start to drown, but then Sho dives in out of nowhere and rescues him.
Sorry, let’s pause. How is Sho capable of this in what looks like hurricane conditions? The reason for having him specifically come to the rescue is to setup a twist for later, yet it’s dumb as hell. Everyone glosses over the fact that Masaki just about committed suicide as well.
Now it’s Sho’s turn to hit the waves in a storm for whatever reason, even after having told Masaki not to, and in the most shocking twist with the impact of a drop of water in a desert, he dies. I actually missed this moment when it happened. I got up to make some lunch and left the series running, only to come back and not realise the guy had died until an episode later. I had to rewind. Watching the event didn’t improve the effect any.
Honestly, I was simply bored from start to finish with Wave. After Sho’s death, there is less story and even less effort with the surfing, if you can somehow imagine that. Now that I think about it, I don’t believe there is a single good surfing scene throughout. Each is ruined by this slow-mo shot, almost freeze frame, when a rider executes a trick. It does this every time. And when it isn’t slow-mo, it’s poorly animated CG characters. Then there’s the music. Are any of these instruments real? It wouldn’t surprise me to learn all music (outside of OP and ED) comes from a stock library of digital notes. Even the music is boring!
Don’t watch this anime. Sure, it’s inoffensive and won’t infuriate even the most short-tempered viewer, but by Poseidon is this dull.
Overall Quality – Very Low
Recommendation: Skip it. I can’t imagine Wave holding interest for even a surfing fan.
Awards: (hover over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)