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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  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Mar 7. 2015 02:00 AM)
    @Vxien, Not sure who that recommend is for but whoever it is has seen death note. It’s like recommending Cowboy bebop. Anyone calling themselves an anime fan has likely already seen it and anyone that hasn’t…should watch it immediately.
  • Vxien
    (Saturday, Mar 7. 2015 12:41 AM)
    Might I recommend Death Note if you haven’t already.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:47 AM)
    I remember that same guy, during end of eva, pausing it over and over during that scene where asuka dies with all of those fast moving clips too.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:39 AM)
    I remember catching it also when I was young with a friend and we looked back on a fanservice scene with shinji and rei and he mentioned “You know if you think about it that scene is damn disturbing when you think she’s a clone of/modelled after you know who…”
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:36 AM)
    Before Eva, when I was 11 or so my image of a mech anime was Nadesico…then it was eva and then I was like…Whoah…whoah God halp! =O
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:34 AM)
    I suppose credit where I feel it due, the angel designs are excellent and I remember getting the shock of my life when shinji’s eva went nuts and then there was a bit with Bardiel infect Toji’s unit. I remember at least Masatos boyfriend being a likeable character.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:31 AM)
    I don’t think anyone was prepared for Eva, whether they liked the show or not, at 11 I can remember being horrified by end of eva and the series original ending as well as having my first moment of “Feck…theres a first…an anime that did something that scrambled my mind, I actually feel kind of thick now, this show is smarter than I am”.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:27 AM)
    It really wouldn’t have been that hard to put a satisfying ending to the original series, wrap up the threads nicely and put a pretty ribbon on the package to finish it off. But Anno and friends took a risk and went against the tide and end up becoming the trope-namer for the Gainax Endings. That took balls and made things unexpected and fresh, cuz god knows that ,good guys win the day ‘is tired and boring.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:26 AM)
    Requiem for a dream. I remember the guy who recommended that film saying to me “Even someone such as yourself who finds it hard to find/has high standards an emotionally investing film will get something out of requiem for a dream”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:17 AM)
    @Emma: leaving a bad taste is pretty much the point of Eva, just as getting bummed out by Requiem For a Dream is the naturally intended effect. I don’t mind that you don’t enjoy Eva all that much Emma, l actually appreciate it over dishonest admiration. Just keep in mind that Eva deserves it’s special place in anime.

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