July 2, 2021

Fearless Fridays: Hinako from “Ride Your Wave”

#FearlessFridays is dedicated to celebrating the individual journeys of characters from the GKIDS collection. With this series, we hope to spotlight the experiences of familiar faces from timeless classics, as well as the unsung heroes of hidden gems.

SPOILER WARNING: This post features significant plot details from Ride Your Wave.

Has a wave ever knocked you down? You can’t stop them but you can learn how to surf! This week for Fearless Friday we are highlighting Hinako from RIDE YOUR WAVE, a film by the ingenious director Masaaki Yuasa (Lu Over the Wall, The Night is Short, Walk on Girl).

After moving to a small seaside town for college and to pursue her passion for surfing, Hinako is saved from her burning apartment by the handsome firefighter Minato. The pair soon fall in love and become near inseparable. However, one day, Minato loses his life in a tragic accident by the beach that leaves Hinako so distraught that she can hardly look at the ocean.

It takes a great deal of strength to not just continue your life, but also learn to grow through grief. Over the course of Ride Your Wave, although she may lose her way, Hinako demonstrates the ups and downs of tragedy, struggling with grief, and finding your own way in life.

From her very first scene, it becomes apparent that our surf-loving Hinako doesn’t necessarily have a plan for her life – but is certain in her love of the ocean. This is even pushed to the extreme in a later scene, when Hinako’s apartment is engulfed in flames, she instinctively grabs her surfboard, and just barely remembers the necessities like her phone and purse. 

Throughout Ride Your Wave, we see an honest depiction of coping with loss as Hinako loses interest in what she– and Minato- enjoyed most in life. Most notably, beach-loving Hinako turns away from surfing because of the tragic associations she has with the ocean and the love of her life. Slowly, but surely, she starts to return to the joy of these aspects of her life after discovering she can communicate with Minato’s ghost. But the happiness is short-lived because Minato’s ghost is only a temporary balm to the unresolved grief of his death and Hinako must confront the true pain of her ordeal – moving on without Minato.

Loss strikes twice for Hinako. In order to move on with her life and “ride her own wave”, Hinako must let Minato continue on to the afterlife. It’s a daunting request for Hinako, who barely had her life figured out before Minato. But guided with the residual support of Minato, her friends, and her own strength of character, Hinako returns to hit the waves with a new focus on her life. Hinako is determined to confront the source of her grief, the ocean which caused Minato’s tragic accident, instead of letting it define her life. She returns to ride the waves of life with optimism and new vigor. While Hinako lets herself mourn the loss, she also sets a refreshing example of a brighter side to grief in the way Minato’s death inspires her future.

Through Hinako we learn to not let our grief consume us. Waves will keep on coming, and there is no guarantee that every one of them will be easy. Hold onto your passion and stay prepared for the next wave.

Interested in watching more of Masaaki Yuasa’s films? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! You can now get Lu Over The Wall and The Night is Short Walk on Girl now available at the GKIDS store. Still looking for more? Keep an eye out for Inu-Oh — Masaaki Yuasa’s latest upcoming feature! Stay up to date with all news surrounding the film by following the GKIDS social media accounts!

What are some of your favorite fearless moments from Ride Your Wave? Let us know by mentioning us on social and using the hashtag #FearlessFridays!

Ride Your Wave Is available now on Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital.


#FearlessFridays blog posts are not a direct or definitive interpretation of films and characters within the GKIDS collection. Our aim is to share our opinions as we’ve approached these titles to further encourage viewers to explore and engage with these characters and films on their own.

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