Taku Morisaki is a Tokyo University freshman heading home for his high school class reunion. The trip makes him think back to his second year in high school, when his best friend Yutaka Matsuno introduced him to Rikako Muto, a transfer student from Tokyo. Yutaka shows some interest in Rikako and eventually starts to date her. Taku, on the other hand, appears indifferent. The situation changes when Rikako goes to Taku for help during a class trip. Even so, he never sees himself develop a friendship with Rikako. In addition, the event comes to strain his friendship with Yutaka.
The drama focuses on the relationship between Taku, Rikako, and Yutaka. Love polygons are very common in anime (ex. Marmalade Boy and Kimagure Orange Road). However, unlike these anime, Umi ga Kikoeru is not particularly comical. Rather, it takes a serious look at the feelings and motivations of the individuals.
Umi ga Kikoeru was a TV movie made in 1993 by Studio Ghibli (makers of Nausicaš and Totoro). A direct translation of the title is "I can hear the sea," but Studio Ghibli's official English title is The Ocean Waves. It was actually the first film produced by Studio Ghibli that wasn't directed by Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata. It was also the first and possibly only film made by Ghibli for TV. It was partially an experiment to see if the quality of a theatrical film could be made for TV. In that respect, Umi ga failed, as it went both behind schedule and over budget.
If you are wondering about the significance of the title, it refers to the difference between Kochi and Tokyo. Kochi is near the coast, and so one can hear the sea there. But the ocean waves disappear in the big city.
One aspect of Umi ga Kikoeru that is difficult to bring across through subtitles is the accents of different individuals. Rikako speaks with a Tokyo accent, while most of the other characters speak in a Kansai accent. The Tokyo accent is considered to be standard Japanese, but to those that speak different accents, it can sound snobbish.