Whisper of the Heart (2022) is a Japanese romance starring Nana Seino as Shizuku (She-Zoo-Koo) and Tori Matsuzaka as Seiji (Say-G). It opens in 1988 with the main couple meeting and vowing to both pursue their dreams. Shizuku’s dream is to be a novelist, and Seiji’s dream is to move to Italy and practice cello. We are soon transported to ten years later where only one of our lovers has accomplished their goals. From there on we wend our way from the past to ten years later as the story develops in both worlds.
The director, Yuichiro Kirakawa, has his work cut out for him keeping two stories running simultaneously with seamless transitions. There is the past, ten years ago, when Shizuku and Seiji have their improbable, but still sweet, meet-cute in the school library where Seiji has been checking out and reading books he thinks Shizuku is likely to read, too. His hope is that she may notice his name on the check-out cards. This crazy scheme somehow works. This is in contrast to today, when Seiji appears to have accomplished his goal of moving to Italy and becoming a master cellist. Shizuku, on the other hand, has not made her dreams of becoming a novelist come true. Instead, she is working as a children’s book editor who does not find the time to write anymore. Kirakawa uses stunning and playful transitions that sometimes come out of nowhere, at the least likely moment to expect a time shift. The playfulness of the time shifts leads to a wonderful crescendo wherein both the 14- and 24-year-old versions of Shizuku and Seiji sing and play cello together in an improbable, but stunningly beautiful, quartet.
The music is wonderful throughout with several breaks for singing and cello music. Whisper of the Heart is called a direct sequel to the animated film of the same name from 1995 and adapted by Hayao Miyazaki. The 1995 version is based on the 1989 manga Mimi o Sumaseba written and illustrated by Aoi Hiiragi. In no way is it necessary to be up-to-date with any previous Whisper of the Heart media to enjoy the 2022 version.
The only extra is the trailer. For audio, you may choose between English and Japanese. For subtitles, your choices are English and German. I recommend Japanese audio with subtitles for a better experience vocally from the actors.