Whispers of the Heart, which is also known as Mimi o Sumaseba, literally translates to “If You Listen Closely” is a Japanese animated movie. Directed by Yoshifumi Kondo, this animated musical coming-of-age romantic drama film was released in 1995. It was written by Hayao Miyazaki and became a movie adaptation of a 1989 manga of the same name, written by Aoi Hiiragi. Studio Ghibli took the charge of its animation for Tokuma Shoten, Nippon Television Network, and Hakuhodo. Before the director Kondo’s death in 1998, Whisper of the Heart was the only film that he directed. Later in 2022, a spinoff film, called the Cat Returns was released, which specifically focused on a minor character of the film, the Baron.
What is the storyline of Whispers of the heart?
The story follows the life of a 14-year-old girl, Shizuku Tsukishima, who attends Mukaihara Junior High School. Yuko Harada is her best friend. Shizuku lives in a Tokyo suburb with her parents Asako, Seiya, and older sister Shiho, and is keen on reading books, particularly fairy tales. One summer evening, she goes through the checkout cards in her library books, she discovers that all of the books were previously checked out by someone named Seiji Amasawa.
Yuko tells Shizuku that she has a crush on a boy named Sugimura, who happens to be Shizuku’s friend. While walking home with Yūko, Shizuku realizes she left her book at the school. When she runs back to get the books, she discovers a boy reading her book which he returns, but not without teasing her and slighting her lyrics, which leaves her feeling irritable for the rest of the evening.
One day in school, Yūko is devastated when Sugimura asks her to reply to a love letter, sent by his teammate. When Shizuku confronts Sugimura and scolds him for his actions, he reveals that he had a crush on her. However, she rejects him to not hurt Yūko. Shizuku leaves feeling leveled. Feeling disconsolate, Shizuku goes to the antique shop, where she meets the boy again. He shows her the workshop, where he is learning to make violins to pursue his dream of becoming a master luthier. While their conversation goes on, the boy is revealed to be Seiji, Nishi’s grandson, and Shizuku and Seiji finally befriend each other.
Days after, Seiji leaves for Cremona, Italy where he had been registered for a two-month study with a master violin-maker. This inspires Shizuku a lot and she decides to pursue her skill of writing seriously in the same two months. She asks Nishi if she can write a story featuring the Baron, to which Nishi grants his consent in exchange for being the first to read her story.
Reception by the audience and trailer launch:
In 1995, when whispers of the heart were released, the audience was taken by surprise with its wholistic take on young love. After nearly 30 years, the hit film is ready to carry on with a sequel. Finally, the first trailer of the project has gone live.
The studio has also approved a live-action sequel to Whisper of the Heart. The live-action sequel is scheduled to be released in Japan ahead of Halloween, in November. Fans who have grown up with the film have many questions in mind. How are Shizuku and Seiji doing in the movie’s wake? Is the couple going to stick around?
In the trailer, it goes with this sequel which takes place 10 years after Shizuka and Seiji met. Now both are a bit older and wiser, and the two are still in touch by way of hand-written letters, and a reunion in person is just around the corner.
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