Anyone following the series knows that the journey of Kii Kanna Sensei’s Umibe no Etranger: L’étranger de la Plage from manga to film has been a long one. So, I have been eagerly awaiting the day that I’d be able to fully talk about its entirety being, both the manga AND the film.
Most of the manga that I’ve read have yet to see the light of an anime film or show adaptation, so I haven’t done many comparisons of the two. However, I really wanted to give it a try with Umibe no Etranger because I find it interesting that from this one manga alone there are so many formats to dive into.
But before we go off the deep end here, let’s get our feet wet with a rundown of this series.
The story starts with our protagonist, Shun, who is a novelist that’s now living on a small island outside of Okinawa with his aunt after being disowned by his parents. Looking out to a bench by the sea, Shun begins to notice Mio, a high school student in his last year dealing with the death of his own parents. Just as the two start opening up to each other, Mio has to leave the island. Three years later, Mio returns to the island to confess his feelings, but is this relationship something Shun is ready for?
Umibe no Etranger: L’étranger de la Plage by Kii Kanna Sensei starts with the manga that ran from July 2013 – 2014 in the magazine OnBLUE. Renta licensed the manga digitally in English first, in 2016, with the title Stranger By The Beach. Umibe no Etranger was adapted into an anime film under Blue Lynx and had its theatrical release in September of last year. This July, Funimation released the English sub and dub of the film under the title Stranger By The Shore, and Seven Seas Entertainment later published the English print version of the one-shot using Seaside Stranger.
Umibe no Etranger has a total of FOUR English versions: A subbed film, a dubbed film, and TWO manga translations!!!! So instead of doing a comparison of just the manga and the anime, I’ve decided to showcase “The Battle of The Strangers” : Sub Vs Dub, Renta Vs Seven Seas, and lastly, Anime Vs Manga.
Battle 1 : Umibe No Etranger (Sub) vs. Stranger By The Shore (Dub)
Now, I will preface this section with the fact that I typically prefer English sub over dub. However, I am a firm believer that everyone is fully entitled to their own anime experience because at the end of the day it’s your own eyes, your own ears, and most importantly, your own business.
With that said, I clearly do watch dub from time to time and don’t immediately write it off as bad because we wouldn’t be here having this conversation otherwise.
I have to say that from the jump I was honestly shocked by the announcement of a dub to begin with. Even though this isn’t the first time a BL has been dubbed before (Insert Hitorijime My Hero and Love Stage), the only hope of my one tracked braincell was that SOMEONE would pick up this film for AT LEAST an English sub.
Being the last film yet to have an official English sub out of, what I like to call, the “Blue Lynx Big Three,” I was starting to lose hope of ever being able to see the one-shot I loved so much on the big screen. But, I am BEYOND thankful that the powers that be had other plans.
When they first announced the Japanese cast I was already shaking the table. Shun is voiced by Murata Taishi, who you may have heard in his roles as Ibusaki and Akinori in Food Wars and Haikyū!! respectively. Matsuoka Yoshitsugu voiced the role of Mio, another well known voice actor with his long running roles of Yukihira Sōma (also Food Wars lol) and Kirito (Sword Art Online).
The emotions that the entire original cast brought through their characters was absolutely lovely. Overall, hearing the characters come to life was a wonderful experience and I couldn’t have asked for more!
Despite my preference for Sub, I knew that I had to see the Dub after the cast was released. My avid dub watchers were very excited to see Josh Grelle as the voice of Shun in this film. But what made me snap my neck was seeing Mio being voiced by Justin Briner. Yes. DUB IZUKU MIDORIYA. And even though I don’t watch MHA Dubbed, I had to know. Not only that, both of them were cast in Stars Align as Toma and Maki which was a dub I also enjoyed.
An issue that I’ve commonly had with dub is that the English script will sometimes dramatically deviate from the original content’s message, but I didn’t have that with Stranger By The Shore. While watching the dub, I felt that the English cast did a great job evoking the same, if not very similar, emotions that I had when first watching the film in its original Japanese audio.
To put it simply, I enjoyed both.
Yep… You read it right… Both.
I am not exaggerating when I say that it is extremely rare for me to finish watching a dub and say that I enjoyed it just as much or even remotely close to the way that I enjoyed the sub.
I do think there were times where the dub script made some of the lines for certain scenes a bit more direct than the nuanced way I felt the original presented them, but I don’t think that element took away from the story’s overall message.
There was one line from the English script that I thought was done beautifully, when Eri and Shun are sitting outside he says:
“I was just wondering, what makes us all so afraid? of two men or two women being together? All the things we could fear in this world, and we choose love.”
THAT. That was beautiful.
Having now watched both versions, more times than I’m willing to admit, the translated English subtitles in comparison to the dub script were just about line for line. The reason why I appreciate this so much is because it respects the source material and doesn’t feel like I’m watching two different anime.
So, at least in my opinion, both the sub and dub were magnificently cast and I could 100% feel their chemistry shine throughout the entire film.
Battle 2: Stranger By The Beach (Renta!) Vs. Seaside Stranger (Seven Seas)
I’ve mentioned before how I prefer print to digital on multiple occasions, but when it comes to situations similar to this, sometimes the digital version is all you have.
For YEARS, the only official English version that I’ve ever had was the Renta version, and I can’t go without saying how thankful I am for it to have existed to begin with.
My love for this series opened my wallet, so I did purchase the original Japanese prints of Umibe no Etranger and the continuing series Harukaze no Etranger (all at the low low cost of both my legs). And with my limited, but growing, knowledge of the Japanese language I always held out hope for a print version.
When I saw the announcement from Seven Seas Entertainment that they’d be producing an official English print I was beyond the moon with joy. Something about having a good book in my hands and thumbing through the pages just has such a comforting feel.
It felt like my birthday seeing the notification that my copy had been delivered and I ripped open my package as soon as I got my hands on it.
The print version is wrapped, which typically indicates that a series is Mature (18+), but Seven Seas rates it as Older Teen (17+). I’d mentioned before that I read this first on Renta, and I recall it being mature while it was on there. So, personally I’d only recommend to Mature (18+) audiences because if you’re at the bookstore buying wrapped manga they ask to confirm.
Yes, I’ve been asked for my ID at the bookstore buying BL… Multiple times…
Coming back to the print, the volume has a smooth matte cover and is in the smaller standard Seven Seas manga size.
I feel like people who work on designing, lettering, and translating manga are not thanked enough. As I read through the print I noticed the attention to detail that the print had from the dialogue bubbles to the background noise.
Since all that I’ve had for so long was the digital Renta version it was easy to pick out the difference in translation reading the print from Seven Seas. It wasn’t anything drastic but some of the wording could give off a slightly different feel. However, I think regardless of the delivery they both hit the same target.
All in all, I’m VERY thankful for BOTH of these versions and the work of the staffs that made them possible!!!
FINAL BATTLE : Umibe No Etranger Film vs. Manga
The manga is the source. The origin. The provenance. This is where it all began. Without it, where would we be? Drifting in the endless sea of-
Okay I’ll stop lol…
What I’m trying to say is that the manga is the reason why we’re even here in the first place. In my opinion, there’s no way I could hold up the manga and the film to judge which is better than the other because they’re two different entities.
I have a love-hate relationship with one-shots because while they’re lovely to read, they more often than not leave me wanting more. That wave of longing definitely crashed into me when I first read Umibe no Etranger. The story in the manga does try to incorporate as many pieces as possible from start to finish. At the same time, there’s only so much anyone can do in a 200+ page one-shot, especially being done on the premise that it won’t continue into something more.
In the note from Kii Kanna Sensei, Umibe no Etranger started out as a short story that led to a one-shot which turned into a series (Harukaze no Etranger). So, It’s amazing to me that this love story of Mio and Shun started from something so small and grew into what we have now.
As previously mentioned, for the film, I thought that the characters were cast wonderfully. The Original Soundtrack added an extra layer of emotions, especially for those heart wrenching scenes. And although I’m not a pro Audio Engineer, all the sounds in the background from the sea to the flip flops on the sand really drove home the essence of summer that this film embodies.
Now, let’s put these two head to head and get ready to rumble.
It had been at least a year since I last read Umibe no Etranger, so I was walking into the film fairly fresh. I still remembered the main parts of the story, but when I hit play on the film I thought my braincell was finally at its limit because it wasn’t quite how I remembered it.
Low and behold, I was right.
It wasn’t until I went back and read after watching that I realized all the differences in story’s structure between the manga and the film’s adaptation.
And though I’m sure there are those who will disagree, after going back and reading I didn’t see the film’s changes as a detriment to the overall story. Yes, as a reader you’re going to notice the parts that are missing or changed, but for the medium it used to convey the story, I don’t consider the film’s adaptation to be far off the mark that is manga.
Out of everything, I’d have to say there were roughly four elements that stuck out to me the most.
Starting with Mio and Shun’s interactions. Post reunion in the manga, they were a lot more lovey-dovey than they were presented in the film. Prime example being that all the kisses they shared leading up to the hotel scene were nowhere to be found. Shun’s snippiness in the film really kept Mio at bay, but do I think that creative decision added more weight to the tension that was growing between them before they finally get to said hotel scene.
On the less physical end of their interactions, the second element was that the film makes it seem like Mio really didn’t contact Shun at all. Especially since Shun’s character doesn’t really hold it over Mio’s head as much as he does in the manga.
Now, the congratulations postcard that Mio sends to Shun is still in the film, but you don’t even see that it’s FROM Mio. So, while I’m screaming and pointing at my screen, it’s more of a breadcrumb for the viewer’s who’ve read the manga, and not everyone’s done that or even will. But again, I think this also emphasizes the distance between them in the start of the film that makes them bridging the gap all the more sweeter to see.
Another part was Mio’s navigation of his feelings for Shun. There’s a flashback in the film where Mio is making a delivery to the owner of Mimi’s Bar and briefly tells them about his situation with Shun in a roundabout way of seeking advice.
I’m under the assumption that this was in place of the manga scene when Mio initially tried to call Shun from the mainland but got Eri instead.
In that scene, she expresses to Mio that Shun is gay and that essentially Mio shouldn’t string him along if he’s not sure about his feelings. That was the moment that Mio decided to take the time to consider what his true feelings are for Shun before contacting him again.
Watching the flashback to Mimi’s Bar for the first time confused me, because Mio’s character design looked relatively the same as he did in the present. But watching it a second time made me go ohhhhh okay that’s what’s happening.
I don’t think the change to Mimi’s Bar negatively impacted the film’s way of presenting the story because it still made sense to me with the way they set up Mio’s distance from Shun over the past three years.
The last element was one that probably stood out the most: flashbacks. The film heavily leaned into flashbacks for both Mio and Shun’s characters. The memory of Shun’s school days and Mio’s memories of his mother were the two that I felt the film hit on the most. I’m actually really glad for them going into Mio’s memories more in general because it really brought out just how much his character values family.
As someone who has read the manga, of course these elements in the film are going to stand out by comparison, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing to me.
After going back and reading I didn’t see the film’s changes as a detriment to the overall story. I also believe that Kii Kanna Sensei being attached to this project as a supervisor and character designer for the film is part of the reason why their distinct art style and story still shined throughout the film so well. But it goes without saying that there’s only so much that can be done, and be kept, in a film with under an hour to work with.
The way I see it is that the film’s adaptation takes a more subtle approach to the story, where as the manga spells it out for you. And for me, I feel that each of them were the appropriate choice for the medium the story was being told in.
There are plenty of stories that have changes going from page to screen, and vice versa (don’t forget about those adapted from shows/films). The most important question I ask myself is: Did the medium the story was adapted to use it in a way that effectively communicated the message of its original source? And for me, Umibe No Etranger did just that.
I’m just so happy that I’ve finally seen the day that I’d have the opportunity to talk about both the manga and the anime film together for Umibe No Etranger. I can’t remember the last time I wrote this extensively, and it’s probably 98% ramblings, but if you made it this far I hope you enjoyed 😂
This post is my attempt at a proactive first step for planning a video to cover the same things I’ve written here on my YouTube Channel! So, if you rather watch/listen to my braincell fall apart, that’s something you can look forward to 😂
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time! 💕
Update: I made the video!!!
English Sub and Dub for Umibe no Étranger: Stranger by The Shore is available to stream on Funimation
Find where to buy your print and/or digital copy of Seaside Stranger: Umibe no Etranger through Seven Seas Entertainment
Note: Despite there being a rating of TV-14 and Older Teen (17+) to the film and English print respectively, I would suggest looking into trigger warnings before starting this series.