A Timeless, 1995 Gem of a Movie

Some things really are timeless. Even if they aren’t.

A contradiction? Not to one of the incredibly lucky persons who have seen Whisper of the Heart, a 1995 Japanese Anime movie adapted from a 1989 Manga comic book.

This is an impossibly charming (although somewhat predictable) adolescent love story. The “bibliographic record” (information about each item in the Library, which you can find in our database) for the video puts it this way: “A schoolgirl named Shizuku, who longs to discover her true talents, meets the mysterious Seiji, a boy who is determined to follow his dreams, and the Baron, a magical cat who helps her listen to the whispers in her heart.”

True, but incomplete. The real reasons to see this 25-year-old gem are as follows:

  1. It is sweet but wise in the way it depicts relationships between junior-high students, their parents, and their siblings.
  2. It is stunningly beautiful the way it uses artwork to display light, shadows, depth, clouds, landscapes, sunrises, and the streets and homes of western Tokyo.
  3. It cleverly weaves together subplots involving a real (and grumpy) cat, a bejeweled statuette of a cat, and other offbeat elements.
  4. The music is gorgeous, and viewers get to hear an old hit from yesterday in startlingly fresh and funny new ways—especially if you like the sound of the violin.
  5. This movie makes you feel really, really good—and hopeful about the future.
  6. It features a library. (Yay!)

Finally, it is fun to revisit that place in time: the early 1990s. This really is a time capsule: the municipal library in which Shizuku hangs out at is just beginning to digitize its collection and phase out its card catalog. Also, the sight of Shizuku and her classmates in crisp school uniforms probably strikes American kids as quaint. But these details don’t matter much: Shizuku and Seiji could have just stepped out onto the pavement of a bright Tokyo afternoon today, so fresh are their personalities and fears and dreams.

Do yourself a favor: see this movie. Twenty-five years is long enough to have waited. You can pick up a copy of Whisper of the Heart at the Library by using our No Contact Holds Pick-Up.

If you’re a teen and you love Anime like this and other films and TV shows, join the Teen Underground Anime Club.




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