My thoughts on Whisper of the Heart (1995):
1. The relationship between Shizuku and Seiji has been described as “puppy love.” I don’t see it that way. Here is why: I was surprised when, at the end of the movie, Seiji asks Shizuku to marry him: They’re in the 8th grade — they’re not ready for marriage. However, Seiji makes it clear to Shizuku that they’ll get married after he attends a school for making violins, in Cremona, Italy. While Seiji is going to school in Italy, Shizuku will be going to high school. So it’s not like the two of them are rushing into marriage: Marriage will happen eventually, and school comes first. They’re not the stereotypical “Oh, we’re so in love” young couple who disregard their lives for the sake of their relationship. They’re mature: they know the cost of pursuing their dreams.
2. There is so much in this movie that I can relate to. For example: Shizuku feeling like she’s just living life day by day, her trying to find what she wants to do with the rest of her life — what she feels passionate about — her feeling inadequate when compared to someone else — someone who already knows what they want to do with their life — and her deciding that the way to pursue her passion is to write a story.
3. I like the song Country Road.
4. The movie’s score is very good, and the animation is beautiful.
5. I love all the characters.
6. There is so much attention to detail in the world of the movie.
7. Parts of this movie have been called cheesy or hard to believe. I don’t see this movie as cheesy or hard to believe. The characters’ actions all make sense. There was never a moment where I thought “No one would say that,” or “No one would do that.”
8. Is the cat doll, The Baron, alive? No. I can see why people say that he is alive: The position of his hands, cane, and top hat constantly change. However, there are three reasons why, personally, I don’t see The Baron as alive. First, no one noticed that The Baron was constantly moving? I can understand how Shizuku wouldn’t notice it: She only goes to the shop a few times, and thus wouldn’t have time to pick up on such a thing. (Once, she does say to The Baron “You look sad today, somehow.” But that observation is just that — an observation. It doesn’t lead anywhere.) But Seiji and Nishi wouldn’t notice The Baron moving, either? I find that impossible. Second, if Nishi does know that The Baron is alive, why doesn’t he tell Shizuku? He tells her the story of how he got The Baron, and of his long lost love. He opens up to her. So it just seems, for lack of a better word, dishonest that he wouldn’t then tell Shizuku that The Baron is alive, too. Not to mention that he wouldn’t tell Seiji? I don’t see Nishi doing either of these. And if Seiji knows The Baron is alive, too, why wouldn’t he tell Shizuku? I don’t see Seiji keeping the fact that The Baron is alive a secret from Shizuku. Third: What would The Baron do while alive? I see the fact that The Baron is constantly moving as a metaphor for him being alive — alive in the sense that, like any object, the doll will have an affect on people — not that he is actually alive. Does that make sense?