‘Children of the Sea’ has the hallmark of a cult hit: trippy visuals that evoke the feeling of a Gaspar Noé classic, Stanley Kubrick’s stream of conscious techniques and thematic surrealism that could give Studio Ghibli a run for its money. Its animation studio, Studio 4°C, is rapidly evolving into one of the 21st century’s most promising animation outfits. Its director, Ayumu Watanabe, is also, undoubtedly, a movie maestro in the making. Adapted from famed manga artist Daisuke Igarashi’s eponymous works, ‘Children of the Sea’ makes for some truly classic cinema.
Children of the Sea: Summary
‘Children of the Sea’ is a beautifully crafted tale that celebrates a cosmic connection it purports we share with each other and the universe. Its protagonist has eyes the color of the ocean and a name to match: Ruka, which translates to ‘bright blue flower’ from Japanese. After her plans for the summer are foiled, Ruka takes a shining to an aquarium that employs her father and that has long-since dwelled at the back of her mind. Here, she meets and befriends brothers Umi and Sora, who fast become a fixture in her life. Together, the three embark on a quest to unravel the mysteries of the universe and the peculiar phenomena that have befallen marine life throughout the planet.
Children of the Sea: Release and Reception
COVID-19 reared its head just in time to steal ‘Children of the Sea’s’ thunder. Still, the movie beat the COVID-19 odds to release theatrically in Japan on June 7, 2020. To its detriment, the movie had a lackluster commercial release in Japan’s theatres, grossing approximately $2.2 million. Nonetheless, the awards circuit welcomed ‘Children of the Sea’ with open arms; the movie won the Grand Prize in the Animation Division of the Japan Media Arts Festival Awards and Best Animation Film at the Mainichi Awards.
Notably, the original manga series, too, was a critical darling but didn’t gain significant commercial traction. While ‘Children of the Sea’s’ arthouse tones may pique the interest of cinephiles, it did not particularly succeed in catching, and keeping, the attention of mainstream theatre-going audiences in Japan. Undoubtedly, COVID-19 had a part to play.
Next, ‘Children of the Sea’ released on September 1st on Netflix in the United States. How Netflix audiences consume ‘Children of the Sea’ may well be the deciding factor in sequel decision-making.
Children of the Sea Sequel Release Date
Given its ambiguous ending, fans of ‘Children of the Sea’ will, no doubt, be itching for closure. To those looking for sequel announcements: simply put, the jury’s still out. To date, Studio 4°C has made no announcements of an upcoming sequel.
The term bittersweet, perhaps, serves no better purpose than to describe the ending of ‘Children of the Sea’. We saw Ruka bid a shocked and tearful goodbye to Umi and Sora, but, in the process, come of age and find her feet in the most exhilarating of ways. Yet, we’re left with many a burning question. Does the festival, in all its splendor, take place again? Does Ruka ever encounter Dede on her adventures? Will more children of the sea reveal themselves to Ruka?
Given the film’s surreal and magic realist nature, the possibilities are well and truly endless. Alas, to resolve our burning questions and invent new ones, we’ll just need to wait with bated breath and crossed fingers for a sequel announcement. In the event, such an announcement is made soon, you can expect Children of the Sea 2 to release sometime in 2023.
Read More: Children of the Sea Ending, Explained