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:

    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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  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:51 PM)
    Hype kills anything. In regards to the kind of emotional manipulation Clannad and maybe Undertale uses, it’s like a drug. The more you are subjected to it, the less of an effect it has.
    Still there are examples of something which comes close to expectation. People say Muv Luv Alternative gives you PTSD and in a kinda does. Though it’s helped by the connection you build with the characters though the first two games.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:47 PM)
    @Kaiser,I haven’t updated the old entries of my MAL in quite a while. Pretty sure Code Geass is sitting at a 10 on it and I am sure if I give that a rewatch that rating is going to fall harshly.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:59 AM)
    I say this because people often like to hype up the genre or those elements. I bring this up/think about it now because I played a game called undertale lately on my brothers recommendation and he was all like it emotionally destroyed him but I never ended up crying, I mean don’t get me wrong its a good game, there were laughs to be had and there was sentiment but it wasn’t THAT sad/funny.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:44 AM)
    Given how many people cry at some drama, clannad included.
    That reminds me…
    I can’t actually remember the last time in my life where I cried, I draw a blank.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 07:58 AM)
    @Aidan: Something always feels off to me when you criticize clannad, I mean I’m critical enough of key these days too but it seems odd that you rank it as an 8 on MAL when you’ve always made it sound its more of a high 6 or a 7.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.

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