Whisper of the Heart

Whisper of the Heart is an anime movie in the Whisper of the Heart Franchise
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Imaginative, intelligent 14-year-old Shizuku Tsukishima secretly longs to be a writer, reading anything she lays her hands on. Observing that the same name continually crops up on the borrower's lists of books she takes from both the school library and from the public library where her father works, she wonders who this Seiji Amasawa, who shares her taste in reading, might be. When they do finally meet, Seiji upsets her by criticizing her work, and she storms off. Idly following a cat she sees getting off her train, she finds herself in a chic residential area. Wandering into an antique store, she befriends the shopkeeper (eventually revealed as Seiji's grandfather) and becomes intrigued by Baron, an elegantly dressed German cat-doll. Shizuku and Seiji learn that they share a love of music, and with his violin playing and her singing, they soon become closer.

Baron himself appears in Shizuku's dream and shows her a magical fantasy world, which Shizuku begins to turn into a story. Grandfather encourages her to continue writing, while reminiscing about his prewar youth in Germany, where he loved and lost the owner of Baron's lady-doll companion. But Seiji's future plans threaten their growing friendship-he is taking two months off school to have special violin tuition. If he shows promise, his father has agreed to let him go to Italy and study to become a professional musician. Meanwhile, their friendship and her writing project are distracting Shizuku from her schoolwork and may even mean she fails her exams.

A gentle, beautifully executed movie based on a manga by Aoi Hiiragi, which, like Kiki's Delivery Service, juxtaposes flights of fantasy (Shizuku's daydreams of journeys with Baron) with commonplace realities (Shizuku's "failure" in the eyes of her teachers). It revolves around the stresses of love and ambition, the need to lay the groundwork of both careers and relationships, and the difficulty of balancing it all when your head and heart are awhirl. It marries the lush production values common to Studio Ghibli productions with a new directorial vision that, sadly, developed no further. Director Kondo died, tragically just into his forties, soon after the film was released. A sequel, Happy Times (Shiawase na Jikan), exists in manga form, while the real-world location, Tama Hills, also got the Ghibli treatment in Pompoko. It is implied that one of the stories that Shizuku ends up writing is the basis for another anime, The Cat Returns.

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Shizuku Tsukishima ( x ) ( x ) ( x )
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Original US Poster Art

General Information Edit
Name: Whisper of the Heart
Release Date: March 7, 2006
Name: 耳をすませば
Romaji: Mimi wo sumaseba
Release Date: July 15, 1995
Rating: G
Runtime: 111 (mins)
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Aliases Prick Up Your Ears If You Listen Closely/Carefully
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