Mimi wo Sumaseba
- Whisper of the Heart
- by Yoshifumi Kondō and written by Hayao Miyazaki
- based on manga
Shizuku is a 14 year old girl who is very free-spirited and currently enjoys her summer vacation. She likes to go to the local library where she notices that the books she reads are mostly read by a boy named Seiji. One day, in a local train Shizuku sees a strange cat sitting near to her. She decides to follow the cat and arrives at an antique shop owned by the violin maker Nishi. Indeed, the mysterious boy Seiji has the same name as the shop owner. Shizuku and Seiji become friends. Whereas he is quite sure about following his dreams, Shizuku still struggles and is unsure about her future plans. Then she sees a strange cat statue ‘The Baron’ which more or less gives her inspirations.
The anime movie has an adorable storyline. It is easy to follow and a beautiful movie to watch. There were no boring scenes meaning that the story is very enjoyable. To sum up the story, it focuses on two young teenagers who are seeking for their future plans but also for love and self discovery.
Emotion is an important aspect in the movie because it is a love story containing confessions of love. Shizuku falls in love with Seiji who has planned to move away to realize his dreams. The friendship between both has been turned into a love relationship. Besides emotions of love, the movie is also filled with some dramatic scenes. In fact, the whole movie is filled with many emotions especially between both main protagonists. Not only emotional aspects are present but also funny elements can be seen in the movie. For instance, a funny scene can be seen where Shizuku is called out by a boy and the whole class starts to react very childish.
‘Whisper of the Heart’ also depicts real life topics such as child psychology. In fact, the movie shows how it means to grow up and how Shizuku develops feelings for boys. It is not only about infatuations but also love confessions which are not always easy and quite complicated. Shizuku and Seiji also learn how to deal with their first love. Moreover, the anime also deals with more serious topics such as depression and the thought of dropping out of school.
We really like the characters because of their unique style and personality. Shizuku, the main protagonist, is a bookworm but she also likes adventures and storytelling such as following a cat to an antique store which is filled with many ‘old stories’. For Shizuku, Seiji seems to be very annoying especially at the beginning. However, it turns out that he is very kind and fond of Shizuku’s poetic lyrics she rewrote from the song ‘Country Road’.
The art of the animation is very beautiful as expected from a Studio Ghibli movie. The landscapes are very pretty and also the town shows a detailed depiction. Besides the background, the character design is also well done. They have an adorable look and their emotions are good depicted. We also like the art of the cat figure ‘The Baron’ and Muta/Moon (the big cat).
We were fascinated by the choice of the music. The intro (Country Road by John Denver) is very amusing and especially the Japanese version during and at the end of the movie is very creative. We really like the changing of the lyrics in Japanese. The song makes the movie even more enjoyable.
Side-Note: ‘The Cat Returns’ is actually a spin-off from this movie where the focus is more on the minor ‘characters’ in other words the cats (especially Baron and Muto). In fact, ‘Whisper of the Heart’ does not have such a fictitious story compared to the spin-off. In addition, the movie also concentrates more on real life topics such as growing up and infatuation.
All in all, we recommend the movie which is another good work by Studio Ghibli. We really like watching it because it is not as kitschy as other romance stories. You can also feel with the characters and therefore understand more or less their actions. In addition, it was also a pleasure to watch because of the beautiful art of animation and the great choice of music.