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

11 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.

  11. C says:

    Which Sato Junichi series do you recommend the most? TIA!

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 08:38 AM)
    Jesus I never expected that doing a myanimelist/letterboxd account thing would be so hard. I’ve seen a scarily higher amount than I thought, its insanely hard to remember everything to add.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:17 AM)
    It seems then that the future of the franchise’s anime adaptations rests a bit on Schwarzesmarken’s success, which looking at the buzz doesn’t seem favourable at all. I doubt it can regain the lost audiences.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:14 AM)
    That would suggest that the author(s) had the foresight of including seemingly useless stuff that will come into play later. That’d be impressive if they did, as these kinda series are make-it-as-you-go.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
    It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
    That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
    It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that events later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:12 PM)
    That might compress things, but I think a good screen-writer can fit pretty much any VN in 12-14 episodes (covering just the main route).
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:07 PM)
    @Aidan: then the best solution would’ve been to make a two cour season covering the 2nd and the 3rd book. Have the cours air two anime seasons apart, and in the middle have an offshoot short OVA that covers the 1st book, but has a more harem comedy feel to it. Think Full Metal Panic and Fumuffu.

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