From the creators of the Academy Award(R)-winning SPIRITED AWAY (Best Animated Feature Film, 2002) comes a tale based on the screenplay from the legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki. During summer vacation, a schoolgirl named... more » Shizuku, who longs to discover her true talents, observes an ordinary-looking cat riding by himself on the train. Intrigued, she decides to follow him. This chance encounter leads her to the mysterious Seiji, a boy who is determined to follow his dreams, and The Baron, a magical cat figurine who helps her listen to the whispers in her heart. Soon, Shizuku's exciting adventures carry her far beyond the boundaries of her imagination. Featuring extraordinary storytelling, enchanting animation, and an all-star voice cast, this 2-disc set will inspire dreams and warm hearts of all ages. (c) 1995 Aoi Hiiragi/Shueisha ? Nibariki ? GNH« less
AN UNFORGETTABLE, HEARTWARMING, COMING OF AGE FILM FROM STUD
Mohd Jafar | Hyderabad, AP India | 11/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whisper of the heart is one of the most sensitive, heartwarming and beautiful films ever made. Based on a shojo manga by Aoi Hiiragi, Written and produced by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Yoshifumi Kondo, whisper of the heart is a tale of self discovery and coming of age of a high school girl Shizuku who is not sure what she wants in life. A series of dramatic events bring her closer to a guy Seiji from her own school. Together they embark on a journey which will help them find their inner potentials, realize their dreams and also love for each other. Also featured in the movie is an old man who runs an antique shop stocked with amazing treasures, including a magnificient porcelain figurine "the baron" (also featured in "The cat returns). Both of these characters play an important role in the film. Though "The cat returns" is kind of follow up to "whisper" yet for some reason it was released on dvd before "whisper".
Rarely is a film as honest and realistic as whisper of the heart and that's what makes it amazingly special, charming and successful. Within its thin plot and realistic settings, whisper has its magic moments which are downright uplifting and strike a chord somewhere deep inside. The film itself is a breath of fresh air.
Whisper of the heart, though slow in pace, draws you in from the very beginning and refuses to let you go. Its a heartwarming tale which makes you feel nostalgic and helps you relive the adolescence. Except for the Shizuku's dreamy fantasy sequence, the film relies heavily on dialogues and simple and real situations. The locales and the backgrounds shown in the film are as beautiful and breathtaking as in any other ghibli film. Open spaces, beautiful countryside, deep blue sky with summer clouds, a bicycle ride atop the hill, there are numerous things and moments in the film that set the mood just right, leaving the viewer spellbound and satisfied. After a while you forget completely that you are watching an animated film. Music plays an important role in the film and is soft and relaxing though we do get lots of those silent moments too for which ghibli films are famous. Also featured in the film is John Denver's song "country roads" which makes the perfect backdrop for the film. Not to mention here, the royalty disputes which arised later, making it difficult for the movie to see an American release.
Be it character development, animation or background art of the film, attention to details is simply stunning.The incredibly detailed backgrounds of the fantasy sequences were done by Naohisa Inoue who was an established artist and a long time Miyazaki fan. Impressed by his fantasy work, Miyazaki himself invited him to work on the film. Whisper of the heart dvd released by Buena Vista in Japan includes a special documentary showcasing the dreamy artwork of the film.
Director Yoshifumi Kondo had worked on many ghibli films such as Kiki's delivery service, Grave of the fireflies and Pom poko etc, as an animator. Hayao Miyazaki, who was looking for new breed of directors for ghibli, recognised Kondo's talent in no time and gave him a chance to direct this movie. Unfortunately, whisper of the heart remains to be the first and the only film directed by Yoshifumi Kondo. Just after the release of whisper, Kondo succumbed to aneurysm. It is evident from whisper of the heart how immensely talented and sensitive director Kondo was.
Films like whisper of the heart are very rare and come once in a lifetime. Watching a film like this is an experience to behold and cherish forever."
Sabad One | 01/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie, produced by Studio Ghibli (the same company that produces Miyazaki's movies) is a gem. Unlike all of Miyazaki's movies, this one tells in a very poetic way a story about credible young people, their coming of age, and their growing awareness on their dreams and aspirations. It is also a beatiful love story between two children who are discovering that they seem to be made for each other.
This is also one of those movies that will remind you of your school years, and I find amazing the accuracy with which children's emotions are depicted. Indeed, this is something I really appreciate about most of these Japanese directors: the ability of depicting children for what they are, rather than as cute mature and witty "little" adults, as much of Hollywood instead does.
As in virtually all of Studio Ghibli's movies, the drawings are beautiful, some of them breathtaking, and the characters are lovable and well constructed. One of the major "characters" is a cat that will certainly end up loving!
If you liked this movie, I would also strongly suggest you to look for another two Studio Ghibli movies that share the same genre. One is "Ocean waves" (which centers around the complicated love-hate relation between two high school student), and the other one, which is absolutely wonderful, is "Only yesterday", the story of a young Tokio woman who rediscovers herself during a vacation in the countryside. I think both of them (especially the last one) are true masterpieces."
An inspirational, beautiful coming-of-age film
Makiko Itoh | Earth | 12/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am so glad that this Studio Ghibli gem is finally getting a U.S. release, so that it can get an even wider audience.
Unlike some better known Ghibli productions such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, Whisper of the Heart has very few fantasy elements; it's a story that is very 'real'. The setting of Whisper Of The Heart (original title: Mimi wo Sumaseba) is a typical Tokyo suburb, and the main protagonists are Suzuka and Seiji, a girl and a boy in junior high school. Suzuka is not quite sure yet what she wants to do with her life, but Seiji on the other hand has already found his lifes work. The themes this movie cover are universal, such as: What does it mean to have, and pursue a dream? What is the use of education? What does it mean to love someone? And so on.
This is a perfect family movie also, for kids over age 10 or so and up. The pace may be a bit too leisurely for younger kids and they may not quite get the themes of ambition, etc as well as older kids might, though there is plenty of other elements to hold their attention, such as the gorgeous animation and the cheekiest cat imaginable. (There is absolutely nothing in this movie that's 'inappropriate' for young children in any way - just that the themes may be a bit difficult for them.) Adults who remember their teenage years would love this movie also. It made me remember what it was like to be 13 and unsure of myself and what I wanted to 'do with my life', and of hanging out with my friends, and the crushes I had on boys, etc. This movie is particularly great for young girls, since Suzuka, the main character, is one of the most realistically portrayed low-teen girls I've ever seen on screen. Ironic, since she's animated. (I wonder why so many Ghibli movies feature a girl as the main character?)
I do hope that Disney doesn't dub this with hyperactive voice actors - the original voices are quite calm and 'normal'.
Incidentally, this is a prequel of sorts to The Cat Returns (Neko no Ongaeshi), since a cat statue that appears in Whisper... comes to life so to speak in the more fantasy-oriented The Cat Returns. You can enjoy either movie on its own, however."
The Beauty all around Us
Toivo Voll | Tampa, FL United States | 01/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whisper of the Heart is a wonderful Ghibli movie; although the animation style shows a bit of age, the visual compositions, the magic that makes the ordinary suddenly special, the human touch and warmth of people all make that totally inconsequential. Even if the characters might not be the smooth and flashy style, their movements, the life in them, let alone the breathtaking backgrounds are better than almost anything modern animation has produced. The plot itself doesn't read as anything exciting that would make one pick up the movie, but that would be a mistake; Whisper of the Heart is about idealism, about love, about the emotions that make us human, that make life worth living. This doesn't make it a boring chick flick or art movie, though. The characters have enough quirks and humor to them to keep even an action aficionado entertained. There is nothing adult about this movie, in the best senses of that word. No foul language, no sex, no drugs, no drinking, no violence. This is the kind of movie that you can show to a child of any age, from seven to a hundred and seven, and the magic will be there. It is the kind of work that inspires faith in humanity."
An Artistic Masterpiece!!!
Aviation Artist | Newnan, GA USA | 04/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before I saw this fantastic animated masterpiece, my only contact with Japanese Anime' was when my nieces and nephews came for visits (they were interested in watching Ninja/Karate/Sailor Moon, etc). These cartoons, although hypnotic and mesmerizing to the kids, seemed mindless with no real message (not that there's anything wrong with that).
One evening this past January, I was flipping through the channels when I came upon TCM's Thursday night special tribute to Hayao Miyazaki. I listened to the pre-feature info-guy describing the great artistry and storytelling of this director and thought "I'll give it 2 minutes and then continue flipping".
After only ten minutes I found myself totally immersed in the experience. What a beautifully crafted, artistically amazing, and poignant study of two young Japanese students encouraging one another to follow their dreams as they surprise themselves by falling in love.
As a professional artist, I was amazed at the superb quality and artistry of the background panels, each one alone a separate masterpiece, and the 3 dimensional feel in the movement/action. This was not what I had expected.
The most striking element of this masterpiece (at the risk of being trite) was the slice of modern Japanese life/culture it imparted to me. The characters were real, while at the same time decent, moral kids. There was a certain innocence in the characters that was totally refreshing and endearing. They projected an almost spiritual reverence for their elders and total respect for their teachers. Because the Japanese culture is shown to be "user friendly", their parents had no fear for their kids traveling on bikes and rapid transit throughout Tokyo. It was quite charming to follow the various characters through their daily activities and reminded me of my own childhood before our American culture became so dangerous.
I now own many of Miyazaki's films including Porco Rosso, Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, and a few others. However, my personal favorite is still Whisper of the Heart. I can't wait to introduce my nieces and nephews to these fantastic and beautiful stories. "