Whisper of the Heart : 5 of 5
I'm still working my way through the Disney DVD releases of Studio Ghibli's masterpieces, and recently I watched Whisper of the Heart for the first time. This is simply one of the most beautiful films I've seen, not only from an animation standpoint, but also because the plot is so wonderful. There's also such a nostalgic feeling about the way life in Japan is portrayed, that it makes me miss being there even though I've only been in the country for about 30 days of my entire life! The story (which loosely ties together with The Cat Returns, since they both feature the cat figurine called "The Baron") is about a girl named Shizuku, addicted to fantasy books, who keeps seeing the same boy's name on the library cards of the books she enjoys. There's a little budding romance, some excellent life advice about doing what you believe in, and an ending that had my tears really rolling! The backgrounds in this movie are nothing short of spectacular - detailed city scenes, beautiful landscapes, and even the small apartment Shizuku's family lives in, all just make you want to be there. There's are so many animation details, too, such as bugs flying around streetlights at night, and tons of subtle blushing in the characters' faces when they're embarrassed - I just can't imagine the work that went into making this film. I can definitely say this is now one of my favorite Studio Ghibli films, and I'll certainly be returning to watch it again from time to time!