Posted by psgels on 17 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



After watching Kaleido Star and Strange Dawn, you can pretty much consider me a fan of Sato Junichi, the guy who directed them. Umi Monogatari is his latest work; it’s nowhere near his best, however it still is a very solid series: focused, emotional and powerful. This series demonstrates that even with a simple story and clichéd setting you can do a lot of nice things.

What impressed me the most about this series is that it has so many ingredients that anime has become infamous for, and it makes them work. It has a big-boobed hot chick in a swimsuit as a main character, alongside her is her younger sister, also in swimsuit. We have this evil power that brainwashes everyone, there’s an angsty love triangle subplot, people getting into fights over the smallest misunderstanding and let’s not forget the animal sidekick.

There is really a LOT of angst and drama in this series. Usually in anime, this means a lot of cheese, but here the creators manage to make a very emotional series while avoiding getting ludicrous or melodramatic by keeping the characters genuine. Especially Marin and Kanon are a couple of very likable character. They’re well fleshed out and avoid being stereotypes. Especially Marin cries a lot, but for once you feel that it’s part of her character, rather than having her cry for the sake of melodrama.

While a cheesy mahou shoujo at first sight, Umi Monogatari at heart is a story about adolescence: a tale of growing up, expanding your horizons, getting into fights and trying to make up again, which never is easy. It’s also about discrimination and misunderstandings, and it has a lot of meaning put into the emotions of the different characters.

Granted though, the plot is very simple; if you’re not into the characters, or like a fast-paced plot in which a lot of stuff happens at the same time, you’re not going to like this series. Umi Monogatari is more like one of those series that takes its time in subtly developing its characters. Still, that final episode really has been the best ending I’ve seen so far in this season, and has a good chance of being among the best endings of the shows that ended during the Spring and Summer Season, even though I usually dislike those sorts of endings.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

10 Responses

  1. zaeris says:

    Hope you do a kaleido Star write up one day ^^, As for umi mongatari after 3 episode I kind of forgotten about the series. While I’m a fan of Junichi Sato there was something amiss in this series although it is likely to me waiting something more like Aria or Kaleido Star in spirit.

    To say it is closer to sailormoon wouldn’t be farfetched, of course I’ve watched all sailormoon episodes but since the anime has finish I wonder if marathon’ing the series would be best. Than watching it weekly.

  2. Solaris says:

    I put on halt this about at the 4th episode. I planned to resume this title, but my watch plan is so overfilled with stuff :(

  3. c160 says:

    Glad to know the ending was a good one.I too was disappointed with Shangri La’s ending so I really hoped that Umi Monogatari have a good ending ^__^

  4. Perrin4869 says:

    It’s a shame that potentially good anime has such a miserable cast… I can’t bring myself to give a chance to an anime whose cast consists of overly cute, big breasted girls in swimsuit, even though you even blogged it however briefly…

  5. c160 says:

    @perrin4869 Well she does change her outfit almost every episode,though the swimsuit remains as her crime fighting costume ^^

  6. juu says:

    I really enjoyed the series a lot… though I thought the seapeople’s clothing didn’t have to be that scarce…
    I also felt it was a little like a fillerless(!) Sailor Moon, which is nice.

  7. Howling-kun says:

    @juu
    Junichi Sato also worked on Sailor Moon.
    And Princess Tutu and Aria.

  8. specracer says:

    After I saw your review I started to watch the show and am on episode 2 and….. are you really saying that this is a good show. Within like 5 seconds of the of the 1st episode I figured out the first to 2 episodes. Well I’ll give it a shot, but my bad magical girl alarm is ringing load.

  9. TJ says:

    It was a decent show… Can’t say there’s anything really great about it, but nothing really to complain about either. the power of (yuri) hugs owns all!

  10. Mike says:

    Just finished episode 12. I was pleased with this series. It moves rather slowly throughout, but it did have some surprises. A few action scenes, some humor, rather well rounded. As far as the swimsuits, being sea people the only other option was being naked.

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  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:34 AM)
    @Vincent No shit.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:14 AM)
    @Bam Slightly. Did americans use manifest destiny as an excuse to steal land from the natives?
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:05 AM)
    @Vincent: I guess we were slightly more honest about it. It is funny how we use the fact after the matter as evidence of our divine providence. It’s like holding a gun to somebody and saying “fate wants you to die”, proceed to shoot them, and then say “see! I was right” lol
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Bam But unlike the american concept of manifest destiny, the Japanese used it as an excuse to wage what they were really doing: a war to hoard resources.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:52 AM)
    @Vincent: I see. A similar doctrine to Manifest Destiny.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:49 AM)
    @Bam Not to my knowledge. From the government, at least. It was always about expanding the glory of the homeland or something like that, which is why the Japanese took glee with the invasion of Manchuria and the Philippines, places they had no ethnic ties to.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    *admitably
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    @Vincent: I am admirably not too knowledgeable when it comes to the history of that region, but I still know that atrocities were committed.
    The interesting thing is that Japnese believe that their ancestors actually came from Korea. I wonder if this fact was ever used as a propaganda for why they have the right to annex Korea.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:40 AM)
    @Bam There also was the fractures within the Korean Peninsula itself. Quite astounding, really, that a nation as small as Korea is divided to this day. Not even counting the Japanese and Chinese aggression.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:39 AM)
    @Vincent: you probably know of it twinfold: both with the aborigines and then again with the Japanese invasion of Korea.

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