Shizuku Tsukishima is a 14-year-old student at Mukaihara Junior High School, where she is best friends with Yuko Harada. Living in Tokyo with her parents Asako and Seiya, as well as her older sister Shiho, Shizuku is a bookworm and is keen on writing. During an ordinary evening, she looks through the checkout cards in her library books. She discovers they have all been checked out by Seiji Amasawa. She begins to daydream about this mysterious man who shares her taste in books. Being a curious girl, she aims to find out who this man is. Coincidentally, Shizuku soon encounters an annoying young man, later revealed to be Seiji, who often teases her.
Finding a cat riding a train, Shizuku follows it to discover an antique shop run by Shiro Nishi. In the shop is a cat statuette, “The Baron”. After Shizuku returns home, she learns from Yuko that Sugimura has inadvertently upset her, as he does not know that Yuko has a crush on him. Sugimura, confused by both Yuko’s and Shizuku’s anger towards him, confronts Shizuku after school. Shizuku reveals that Yuko is in love with him while Sugimura declares that he has liked Shizuku for a long time. She, however, turns him down.
Shizuku returns to the antique shop and encounters Seiji there. She learns that Seiji is actually very nice and they befriend each other. There, Shizuku sings “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, a song she has been translating for her school graduation, accompanied by Seiji and Nishi. Seiji is revealed to be the grandson of Nishi. Seiji shares with her his dream of becoming a master luthier. The two begins to secretly slowly fall in love with each other. Days after the two meet, Seiji leaves for Cremona, Italy, for a two-month study with a master violin-maker. Inspired by Seiji’s sense of purpose with his life and feeling like she has to live up to him, Shizuku decides to test her talents as well. Discussing with Yuko, she decides to pursue her writing seriously during the two months. She asks Nishi if she can write about The Baron, to which Nishi grants his consent on the condition that he will be the first to read the finished story.
Shizuku begins to concoct a fantasy story featuring herself as the female protagonist, the Baron as the male hero who is looking for his lost love, Louise, and the cat she followed from the train (who is, among other names, known as “Moon” and “Muta”) as the story’s villain who took her from him. Devoting her time to her writing, Shizuku eats snack food, stays up until early in the morning, and her school grades drop. Shizuku argues with her family over her grades, and as she continues to push herself into finishing the story before Seiji returns, she begins to lose heart.
When her story is complete, Shizuku delivers the manuscript to Nishi. After Nishi reads Shizuku’s writing and gives her his benevolent assessment, she breaks down in tears because she knows that, despite her hard work, her story is not good enough. Consoling her with udon, Nishi reveals to Shizuku that when he studied in Germany in his youth, he found his first love, Louise. They discovered the twin statuettes of the Baron and his female companion in a cafe, but they could only purchase them singly because the female statuette was in repair at that time. Nishi kept the Baron while Louise would hold onto the Baron’s companion, and they and the two cat statuettes would reunite at a later time. However, the two lovers and the statues were subsequently separated during World War II and were never reunited.
Deciding she wants to attend high school to learn more about writing, Shizuku is returned home by Nishi and announces to her mother that she will return to her entrance exams full-time. The next morning, she discovers Seiji below on his bicycle. He has returned a day early, and decided to finish high school before returning to Cremona to become a luthier.
The two youngsters ride Seiji’s bike to a lookout and watch the sun rise over the city. While they are there, Seiji professes his love for Shizuku and proposes future marriage, which she happily accepts.
Info & Credits
|Title||Whisper of the Heart|
|Japanese Title (Romanized)||Mimi wo sumaseba (If You Listen Closely)|
|Duration||1 hr 51 min|
|Original Work||Aoi Hîragi|
|Screenplay / Storyboards||Hayao Miyazaki|
|Screenplay and Adaptation (US)||Cindy Davis Hewitt, Donald H. Hewitt, Jim Hubbert|
|Executive Producers||Yasuyoshi Tokuma, Seiichiro Ujiie, Takashi Shoji, Tatsumi Yamashita, Tsutomu Otsuka, Rick Dempsey (US)|
|Producers||Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki, Ned Lott (US)|
|Original Music||Yuji Nomi|
|Non-Original Music||Bill Danoff, John Denver, Taffy Nivert (“Take Me Home, Country Roads”)|
|Casting (US)||Ned Lott|
|Production Manager||Nozomu Takahashi|
|Art Director||Satoshia Kuroda|
|Shizuku Tsukishima||Brittany Snow||Youko Honna|
|Seiji Amasawa||David Gallagher||Kazuo Takahashi|
|Yuko Harada||Ash||Maiko Kayama|
|Shiho Tsukishima||Courtney Thorne-Smith||Yorie Yamashita|
|Yasunari (Seiya) Tsukishima||James B. Sikking||Takashi Tachibana|
|Asako Tsukishima||Jean Smart||Shigeru Muroi|
|The Baron||Cary Elwes||Shigeru Tsuyuguchi|
|Shirou Nishi||Harold Gould||Keiju Kobayashi|
|Sugimura||Martin Spanjers||Yoshizane Nakajima|
|Kinuyo||Mika Boorem||Mayumi Iizuka|
|Kousaka-sensei (Miss Kousaka)||???||Minami Takayama|
Whisper of the Heart Trailer