Monday, November 07, 2005

Mimi Wo Sumaseba

During the weekend I was able to get hold of a copy of another movie from Ghibli Studios. The animation movies from Hayao Miyazaki's studio are always worth watching, visually they are stunning and their stories interesting - it effectively leads the viewer to unconventional and pleasantly surprising twist and turn.

The latest Ghibli movie I was able to watch was Mimi Wo Sumaseba (1995) or Whisper of the Heart (1995). Its not the latest Ghibli movie but it is refreshing. This particular Ghibli tale was adapted from a shojo manga by Aoi Hiragi, it was adapted for anime by Hayao Miyazaki (who wrote the screenplay) and directed by Yoshifumi Kondo.

The tale centres on the young girl, who goes by the name of Shizuku (Tsukishima Shizuku). At the onset of the story Shizuku is in the middle of taking a series of entrance exams for high school (?). However, unlike her friends, who are busy cramming, Shizuku is occupying her time reading as much books as possible and translating a popular country song. Roads for a school presentation. The bookworm Shizuku notices that the books she has borrowed from the local library has also been borrowed by someone named Seiji (Amasawa Seiji). This realization and subsequent serendipitous events propels Shizuku into an adventure of self-discovery and love.

Fans of Shojo manga would be familiar with the plot. And it seems somewhat predictable, but its not. The developments of the characters are interesting and will hold one tantalized to story, begging the question what next?

The film shows that Ghibli can produce an anime based in the reality of Japanese life and at the same time maintain the dulcet tone of its stories. Not to mention it was effective in co-opting a popular song and make it one in spirit with the anime.

For Ghibli fans look out for oblique references to other Ghibli animes. Clue: the town itself points to another Ghibli movie, look at the landscape.

For an anime ninety-nine percent devoid of fantastic creatures this is an interesting and touching tale. Not a tearjerker, not even a feel good anime but it is guaranteed to make you sigh and remember the journey of self-discovery, self-realization and love we all went through.

Mimi wo sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart)1995
Directed by Yoshifumi Kondo; Based on the shojo manga of Aoi Hiragi; Screenplay written by Hayao Miyazaki. Cast: Youko Honna, Kazuo Takahashi et al


Post a Comment

<< Home