Umibe no Étranger
2020 / 59m - Japan
Romance, Drama - Animation
The Stranger by the Beach poster


April 11, 2023


A typical Japanese island film, only executed as animation. It's not something I've really encountered before, but in the wake of Shinkai's success, it's not all that weird to see films like this emerge. It works pretty well too, especially with the added LGBTQ+ angle, the only problem is that it gets a little too dramatic during the second half.

Suzu has a tough time growing up as a gay boy on a small island. His family loves him, but the other people on the island don't really understand his feelings. Things change when he meets Mio, a young boy whose mother just died. Suzu fancies him and Mio seems to like him back, but before anything can happen, Mio is forced to move to the main island as he is still a minor.

The animation is decent and the island mood is translated very well. It's also nice seeing a gay-themed animated drama (that goes beyond the usual yaoi appeal), the extra drama added in the second half was completely unnecessary though, and muddles the film. It's not a bad film, but it lacks a defining quality to really set it apart, and it never felt quite confident enough in its core drama.