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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

‘Ride Your Wave’ features love in the surf

Japanese filmmaker Masaaki Yuasa is known for making unconventionally romantic anime films.

His 2006 effort “Kemonozume,” for example, features a love affair between monster and monster hunter. By contrast, his short "Kick-Heart" (2012) pairs off a professional wrestler and a nun.

The lovers in "Ride Your Wave," which will screen at 7 tonight at the Regal Cinemas theater at Northtown Mall, don't boast that much of a contrast. Still, a surfer and a firefighter isn't the most natural pairing.

The surfer is Hinako, a college freshman who would rather spend her time riding waves. The firefighter is Minato, who meets Hinako when he rescues her (and her surfboard) from an apartment fire.

But though love is in the air, love's path is never smooth. And after an accident, Hinako is left alone … until a vision of Minato returns to help her find a way to overcome her grief.

"Yes, the colors, the fun, the J-pop soundtrack, the breaking waves so immersive that you can almost feel the spray in your face" are all things to relish, wrote Austin (Texas) Chronicle critic Richard Whittaker. "But it all comes back to the characters growing, seeing their flaws or their troubles, and healing."

Tonight's screening is in Japanese with English subtitles. Click here to score tickets.