Saturday, November 24, 2001

Whisper of the Heart (Mimi Wo Sumaseba)

Genre: Romance / Drama
General Audience
Credits: 1995 Hayao Miyazaki, Yoshifumi Kondou, Aoi Hiiragi (manga writer)


Whisper of the Heart DVDs
Limited Edition Artbooks
Original Soundtrack
Whisper of the Heart Items

Skysenshi's Description:
Shizuku Tsukishima is a self-confessed bookworm who visits the library on a daily basis. One day, she notices that in all of her library borrower's cards, there is a name that is always ahead of her. Somebody named Amasawa has been reading the very same books that she reads! Suddenly her thoughts were filled with this boy's name and a quick burst of desire to meet this boy envelopes her. He reads the very same material that she does, so he might turn out to be a very interesting person...Who could this Amasawa be?

Little treasures ... In pursuit of dreams >>> by skysenshi
If You Listen Closely (Whisper of the Heart) tells of a young adolescent's discovery of love and how this leads to a realization that she has not yet found that elusive "dream for the future". Her young feelings push her to the limits of her abilities, challenging her to look for herself. A gem in the rough. Unpolished. Beautiful.

Like many of Hayao Miyazaki's works (i.e. Mononoke Hime / Princess Mononoke), Whisper of the Heart has a lot of subtle metaphors and symbolisms buried underneath the guise of a simple plot that has an ordinary middle school girl at the center of its axis. One need not overanalyze to notice that every litle trinket in this movie has its own story, and that all of these are connected to the main figures Shizuku and Seiji. Truth be told, one could find it quite fun to try to decipher these relations even before the whole puzzle unfolds itself. The opening song Take Me Home, Country Road, for instance, which is an American song originally performed by Kenny Rogers, suddenly metamorphoses into a rewritten Japanese song. This marks the significance of change--a very important element in this anime. There are so many other little things that are amusing to note, such as the mysterious chubby cat, the doll named Baron, the grandfather's clock--all of which play a vital role in the storyline development. In the beginning, you'd think that magic is involved. In the end, you'd ascertain that it really is, though not in the way one would expect.

Character design is superb. One couldn't help but fall in love with Seiji, the lonely artist, who knows what he wants and is relentless when it comes to achieving it. Shizuku, the confused soul, represents the laid back attitude of today's youth. From these two characters, one can see the best of a genius mind. There is no need for exotic visuals or high-tech animation procedures. The raw substance alone speaks for itself.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 9; Characters 10; Sounds 8

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