Following along the line of some of Ghibli's lesser films (at least in my opinion) comes along 'Whisper of the Heart'. Another one that's just very basic in its overall plot, and though carries with it a sort of originality, it's still mostly just a tale of finding love, in the end. However, I have to admit to appreciating its overall execution.
This one tells the tale of a 14-year-old high school student named Shizuku Tsukishima (Yōko Honna/Brittany Snow) who has a bit of an obsession with fantasy books, and aspires to become a writer some day.
Upon a regular trip to the library, she realizes that the majority of the books she reads have most recently been checked out by the same mystery man, known as Seiji Amasawa (Issei Takahashi/David Gallagher). Of course, Shizuku wonders who this guy is, and we can figure it out for ourselves very abruptly - he's the guy who keeps giving her a hard time when he passes by and teases her.
However, the more charming parts of the movie lie in the relationship Shizuku ends up having with Seiji's grandfather, Shiro Nishi (Keiju Kobayashi/Harold Gould) who shows her around an almost fairy tale-like antique shop, and encourages her to sort of find the light within herself, based on following her dreams of writing. It's also within this antique shop that we find a statue of a cat called "The Baron" who, even I recognize, will eventually come back in 'The Cat Returns'. This is who she bases her story on, and much of the movie has to do with the struggles of being a writer just as much as it is about a love interest.
Again, I consider this one to be a bit of a lesser film in the Ghibli collection, but it was definitely better than I expected it to be. It's just another charming little slice of life film, and if you've ever tried writing a day in your life, I feel that there must be something here that you can relate to on some level. Writing seems a hell of a lot easier than it really is.
Unfortunately, director Yoshifumi Kondō passed away in 1998, and it's evidently known that he was largely being looked to, to succeed more famous Ghibli directors, Miyazaki and Takahata. Admittedly, a pretty worthy-sounding successor, in my humble opinion. This film had some beautiful backgrounds that give one a new appreciation for the beauty of Tokyo, and it's frankly an overall relatable subject for a lot of people. Though there's not much to it, it's another nice little film to check out on a Sunday afternoon.
As anime is an all-around untapped resource for my viewing pleasure, I have decided to explore the Ghibli titles, one-by-one. It seemed good a place to start as any. I'll be focusing on these titles throughout the month of August.