This month’s blind spot pick marks a big accomplishment in my animation blogging career: I have now seen every Studio Ghibli film! I’ve even seen the obscure 2 shorts Panda! Go, Panda! (adorable btw). This month’s entry Whisper of the Heart is my final film to check off the list and fortunately it marks another solid entry from the studio. Not my favorites but perfectly amiable animated film with some great messaging.
Whisper of the Heart is by one-time only director Yoshifumi Kondō. It also marks the only Studio Ghibli film to have a spin-off or sequel. Covered earlier this year, The Cat Returns is about a minor character in a fantasy story that the lead character Shizuku writes.
In the movie Shizuku is a 14 year old who loves reading and writing. She loves going to the library but she starts to notice that all of the books she is checking out have already been read by a boy named Seiji. What she doesn’t know is Seiji is a young man who she is annoyed with and has to work on a school project with singing ‘Country Road, Take Me Home’ by John Denver.
Seiji is learning to make violins and even goes to Italy to study under a master. Meanwhile Shizuku spends time with Seiji’s grandfather Nishi, who owns an antique store. He shows her the statue of the cat Baron and she decides to pursue her dreams of writing.
The romance between Seiji and Shizuku plays out like a classic romantic comedy, which I really enjoyed. I also thought the sequences with the fantasy story with the Baron were a lot of fun. As a big fan of homeschool, I also like that Shizuku decided when she wanted to focus on her writing and when she wanted to attend the public high school.
The animation is nice and it feels like a Miyazaki movie with a young heroine, trips to Italy, flying sequences and talking cats, so you can’t go wrong there. I also enjoyed the music and overall it’s a fun little movie.
I guess what keeps it from being a favorite is at nearly 2 hours it feels a little drawn out for the plot. It would have been a little better at the 90-100 minute mark and some might find it boring.
Aside from that I would definitely recommend Whisper of the Heart. Watch it and then watch The Cat Returns and you will be delighted!
So there you have it! My last Studio Ghibli film to watch. What other anime films would you recommend? Let me know in the comments section.
4 thoughts on “Blind Spot 35: Whisper of the Heart”
I must be alone in considering this my favorite Ghibli film, but it just spoke so directly to me since I relate so much to Shizuku and her doubts and dreams. The conversation with her parents is one of the best parenting scenes in film, encouraging her to follow her heart but being realistic about the possibility of things not working out as hoped. It’s a film I watch for inspiration when I need it, so I’m glad you got to cap off your Ghibli watching with Whisper of the Heart.
I still have a few to catch up on myself (Princess Kaguya, Pom Poko, Ocean Waves). I did like The Cat Returns, even if it felt like one of the more minor Ghibli films. I would have loved it if it could have ended with Shizuku closing the story, as if it were one of her books she was finishing writing.
I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but I would recommend Children Who Chase Lost Voices (aka Journey to Agartha) from the same director as Your Name. Sorry if I’ve already mentioned it to you, but it’s a film I’m really fond of and enjoy recommending.
I can see why it would be a favorite. It was really sweet and heartfelt
I have a question. Do you have any idea where the first picture (https://54disneyreviews.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/whisper-of-the-heart5.jpg?w=764) you included is from? I just watched this movie and it doesn’t look like this still is from the movie– I can’t recall seeing a scene like this. If you have any idea I’d be very grateful.
It’s in the beginning when they are both going to the library