The Great Studio Ghibli Watch Through: Whisper of the Heart

Whisper of the HeartWhisper of the Heart is the first Studio Ghibli film I’ve seen that’s not been set in a fantasy or science fiction universe. It’s set in the real world and is about your average tween girl and boy.

And it’s perfect.

Something’s been missing from my life, friends, and that something is adorkable, anime romances.

Whisper of the Heart is a super cute story about Shizuku, a junior high girl, who’s obsessed with books. She goes to the library all of the time and eventually discovers that some boy is always checking out the same books she does (thanks to the old, card-in-book system). She begins to fantasize about meeting him and maybe falling in love. Of course, when she does meet him, things don’t go exactly as she expected.

I watched Whisper of the Heart because I heard the Baron was a character in it. If you remember from a few weeks back, I fell in love with The Cat Returns—a movie featuring the Baron and Muta. These cats are VERY minor characters in Whisper of the Heart. I figured the Baron would come to life at some point in this film (he’s a figurine cat) and help Shizuku with her dreams, but that didn’t happen. He helped her fulfill her dreams—just without ever becoming anything more than a statue. I wasn’t too disappointed about that. The movie was terrific in spite of there being very few cat-related scenes.

The movie works for me mainly because its characters are so relatable. Shizuku is basically Tween!Me. I was literally made fun of for going to the library all of the time and loving to read. I was a writer too (even back then) and reacted IDENTICALLY to her when I asked people to read my stories. (I would leave the room where the person was reading, pace while freaking out, and have a mini-meltdown after I got feedback.) Shizuku is actually one of the most relatable nerd-girl characters I’ve ever seen in film, and I just loved her for it.

The story too was amazing. I loved the romance between Shizuku and her mystery boy, Seiji. It was the nerdiest love story ever—including wooing by books and libraries galore. They were just too cute together, and while at first, I was a little put off by her thinking she had to work to deserve him, I liked how it all was resolved in the end. Shizuku’s transformation into a writer was great too—it definitely balanced out the film so it wasn’t just a cute love story but also the tale of a girl becoming an artist.

Speaking of artist (ahem, art), the animation in Whisper of the Heart was gorgeous. The detail in Shizuku’s home, the antique shop, and the library was glorious and the cityscapes were just lovely too. I didn’t expect Whisper of the Heart to be as beautiful as some of Studio Ghibli’s more rural pieces, but this time around, the urban setting looked fantastic.

My only issue with Whisper of the Heart is a small one. It’s the song “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”  It just weirded me out to hear the words “West Virginia, mountain mama,” in a Studio Ghibli film. That’s it though. That’s my only negative about this movie.

It was really hard for me to decide on the ranking of Whisper of the Heart. If I would allow it, I’d tie it for second with The Cat Returns, BUT I’m going to let The Cat Returns drop down to third just because this movie was so darn cute.

Okay, recommendation time! Can any of you tell me about other cute, anime romances? I need more—especially if there are nerdy people involved!   

My Current Studio Ghibli Movie Rankings

  1. Howl’s Moving Castle (Review)
  2. Whisper of the Heart
  3. The Cat Returns (Review)
  4. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Review)
  5. Castle in the Sky (Review)
  6. My Neighbor Totoro
  7. Ponyo

Image Source: Heck Yeah Whisper of the Heart

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11 thoughts on “The Great Studio Ghibli Watch Through: Whisper of the Heart

  1. I watched The Cat Returns after this one and so was surprised that the cat did come to life. I wasn’t sure how the two were connected.

    This movie does, as you say, have such a sweet romance, though, and I’d like to rewatch it some time for that reason. One of my other favorite romances is in From Up on Poppy Hill, though if you are going through Studio Ghibli films, you’ll probably get to it at some point.

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