Whisper of the Heart – Anime Review

The Essentials

Name: Whisper of the Heart
Genre: Drama, Romance
Episodes: N/A
Released: June 3, 1995
Based On: Whisper of the Heart manga by Aoi Hiiragi
Director: Yoshifumi Kondô
Produced By: Studio Ghibli
US Distribution By: Walt Disney

Major Japanese Cast

Shizuku Tsukishima: Youko Honna
Seiji Amasawa: Issei Takahashi
Shirou Nishi: Keiju Kobayashi
Seiya Tsukishima: Takashi Tachibana
Shiho Tsukishima: Yorie Yamashita
Asako Tsukushima: Shigeru Muroi

Major English Cast

Shizuku Tsukishima: Brittany Snow
Seiji Amasawa: David Gallagher
Shirou Nishi: Harold Gould
Seiya Tsukishima: James B. Sikking
Shiho Tsukishima: Courtney Thorne-Smith
Asako Tsukushima: Jean Smart


Animation: 7/10 (x 4 = 28 pts)
Story: 8/10 (x 4 = 36 pts)
Music: 8/10 (x 4 = 32 pts)
Coherence/Story Arc: N/A
English Dubs: 8/10 (x 1 = 8 pts)
Gut Score: 7/10 (x 5 = 35 pts)

Total: 138/180 (77.2%)


Whisper of the Heart is about a girl, Shizuku, is a girl who loves to read and write. However, she’s started to notice that all the books that she’s checked out from the library all have the same name on the card, showing that they’ve read the book before her: Seiji Amasawa. However, all of this writing and reading also takes away form her school work, much to her parent’s chagrin.

One day, she notices a cat riding the train she’s on and she decides to follow it when it gets off. This eventually leads her to an interesting shop which is owned by an old man. There, she seems many interesting items, including a statue of a cat named “The Baron.” Shizuku soon finds that the old man who runs the shop is the grandfather of Seiji.

After a few false starts in getting to know each other, the two start dating. Shizuku soon learns that Seiji is an apprenticing luthier, and Shizuku realizes that while Shinji has an idea of what he wants to do in life, she doesn’t. When Shinji goes off to Italy for two months to further train, Shizuku decides to take off from school and write a novel.

Whisper of the Heart is pretty much a love and coming-of-age story through-and-through, and this it accomplishes with reasonable success. Others have described Whisper of the Heart as the type of film that makes one feel “warm and fuzzy,” and, again, if that’s what you’re looking for, it probably accomplishes that goal.

However, one of the things which this seems to result in, however, is a plot which is rather slow to develop, with not much going on in the meantime. For whatever reason, I also wasn’t as impressed with the animation in this movie as other Ghibli movies. Maybe I’m just more used to more modern animation (this was made in 1995), but whatever. Maybe if I watch it again I’ll change my mind on that point.

Overall, if you’re looking for a good romance movie, you’ll probably be really pleased with this, but this movie is one that would probably bore someone looking for anything else.

First Watched: October 2007
Do I Own: No
Do I Recommend: Yes, if you’re into love stories


2 thoughts on “Whisper of the Heart – Anime Review

  1. I’m definitely into love stories, and this is one of the best, a combination of romance and coming of age. This is my favorite Ghibli film of all — and it wasn’t directed by any Miyazaki.

  2. I actually didn’t know this is based on a manga! Thanks for pointing it out.

    I think out of all the Studio Ghibli’s film. This is one of the most “light hearted” one. The characters feel 3-dimensional. I also like how Miyazaki modified the song “Country Road” in the anime.

    I own it and definitely enjoyed it. I am a little surprised that you are not impressed with the animation. I thought it is really good for a drama that has not actions.

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