Anime: Whisper of the heart

After watching My neighbours the Yamadas, I couldn’t help wanting to watch more Studio Ghibli films. There’s a quality about them that makes them classics which you can watch again and again and again. Much like Disney films, but I love Disney movies more because of all the musical numbers than the actual stories themselves. So yes, I ended up looking at trailers for the most recent Studio Ghibli film – From up on Poppy Hill and when that didn’t satisfy my craving, I watched my favourite Studio Ghibli film of all time – Whisper of the heart.

Now I have to clarify that the reason I love Whisper of the heart, is simply because I see so much of myself in the main character of Shizuku. The way she sees stories in the world around her, the way she finds some of the most mundane things interesting, the way in which she pursues her interest and most of all her ambition – to not be a burden to the one she loves makes her one of the most independent female characters that I know of. Of course this doesn’t stop her from falling in love and for caring about her friends. But her character is both innocent and headstrong, brutally honest yet curious about the things around her. I love how her head is always buried in books and yet it drifts away up there in the clouds. I love her willingness to explore, her insatiable appetite for the world around her and her imagination. She is a very ideal female role model. Head in the clouds, yet still grounded on her own two feet. Inspiring, which might explain why so many girls have fallen in love with the show. Add to that the sweetest love story and you’ve made every teenage girl swoon. It’s so different from the western depiction of adolescence, yet so very refreshing and grounded in reality. Because we have all been 15 and dreamt big dreams and lived for a while in our imaginations. We’ve had secret loves and seen friends fall in love for the first time and whisper of the heart captures this time perfectly. The crossroads between innocence and responsibility. Learning that life is a lot bigger than what we first envisioned it to be. It was a time of trying new things, learning new things and learning about the consequences of things. It was the time of first love, which in my opinion is always the sweetest, but also learning that not everything goes the way you want it to.

The reason perhaps I love Shizuku so much is because like her, I engrossed myself in books at that age and like her I wrote my first novel at that age. Now, I know for a fact that I’ll never be a writer, but it was an experience that I will forever cherish and look back fondly on. It was an experience in which I learnt a lot about myself. Add to that, 15 was the age I figured out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I wish I had watched this film then, but I didn’t even know the film existed then. Instead, I watched all the Studio Ghibli films only when I was in university.

So yes, Whisper of the Heart has a very special place in my heart. It may not be the best Studio Ghibli film in terms of animation and flow of the story, but it is very inspiring and will hopefully inspire many other youngsters to find their dreams and to work out their identity. The journey of self-discovery is not an easy one, but it is one that you will not regret. Besides, I strongly believe that it is only when you know yourself that you can truly fall in love with someone else. And of course, whisper of the heart reminds us that we sometimes find love (not just romantic love) in the most unexpected ways, be it through the borrowing of books or the following of a cat up a hill into a curiousity shop.

3 Responses to “Anime: Whisper of the heart”
  1. GoodbyeNavi says:

    Whisper of the Heart is a very sweet movie and is also one of my Studio Ghibli favorites. Reading your post made me want to watch again just so that my heart can be warmed. You are right that Studio Ghibli generally makes instant classics and stur nostalgia in most of their films.

    • everworld says:

      I would love to have a Studio Ghibli movie marathon one day and introduce friends and family to the world of Ghibli films. They truly are classics, considering that some of them come out more than 2 decades ago!

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