For this week’s Miyazaki Monday, the film featured is from1995 called Whisper of the Heart.
The film centers around Shizuku Tsukishima, a 14 year old girl living in present day Tokyo. She is like any normal teenage girl, goes to school, hangs out with her best friend and comes home to her family. She is also a huge fan of books and loves to write as well.
Over the course of the movie, she meets a boy named Seiji Amasawa. Initially, she finds him annoying but later her feelings change. This is due in large part to finding out that he is the boy who had previously checked out a lot of the books she would find at the library. He loves violins and leaves for two months for Italy to study how to make them. He encourages her to pursue writing during that time he is away.
Shizuku finds inspiration in a cat statue that she found in an antique shop (ironicially she was led to the antique shop by a real cat she saw on the train). She called the cat in the story “The Baron” and in the story he was looking for his lost love Louise. She poured her life into wanting to finish the story. When she completed it, she was encouraged by the antique shop owner Shiro Nishi to learn more in school so that her skills as a writer will develop and grow.
The film released in Japan on July 15, 1995. It was the highest grossing film in Japan that year. Miyazaki was the producer and writer of the film. The director was Yoshifumi Kondo. It was the first Studio Ghibli film to not be directed by one of the co-founders of the studio. Kondo was looked at to be the successor but tragically he died in 1998 and this would be the only film he directed.
There is some English spoken in the original Japanese version. The song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” was featured prominently in the story line of the film and a version done by Olivia Newton-John plays during the opening credits of the film. An English dubbing done by Disney was released in the U.S. in 2006. The voice actors featured in that dubbing include Brittany Snow, David Gallagher, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Jean Smart, Cary Elwes, and Ashley Tisdale.
To close out, here’s another intro from 2006 done by John Lasseter as a part of TCM’s month long celebration of Miyazaki films: