Just like Hayao Miyazaki, the one called as the Master of Ghibli, Makoto Shinkai also made a career with beautiful anime films that tell ordinary stories with extraordinary setups and elements. Furthermore, the dazzling visual that the anime has to offer. It’s all masterpiece.
After the box office successes with Kimi no Na Wa (Your Name) and Tenki no Ko (Weathering with You), Makoto Shinkai, is back with his latest masterpiece.The master of melancholic anime is back with a breath-taking visual film. It is Suzume, the film is named after its heroine namely Suzume who is destined to be the ‘Chosen One’ to save the world from apocalypse.
Shinkai’s two previous films Your Name and Weathering With You both used natural disasters as important elements. The natural disasters are important part to complete the young romance stories. Similar to Suzume, the film mourns Japan’s past on the Great Earthquake of 2011. Suzume is a confrontation toward that sad past and lingering trauma to acknowledge that people are okay now and everything turned out okay in the end.
Unlike the two previous films that show impending disaster or the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, it is about a past memory. It’s a film that showcases those people who grew up facing the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. It’s about facing those lingering sadness from the past even if the memory is starting to face. Suzume is making peace with the past through a super-artistic visual.
This film tells a story of a teenage girl named Suzume seen as a small child, wandering through a wrecked landscape and soon wakes up at home as a teenager living on Japan’s southern island. On her way to school, she meets a young man named Souta who is looking for a mysterious ruin somewhere nearby.
After telling the location, Suzume who is curious rushes to the location and arrives before Souta. Then she discovers a door that will bring a malice to the earth. A door that acts as a gate for a monster from another world to destroy Earth. Souta is a ‘Closer’ (people who control the gate and are responsible for keeping the door closed) has to close that door to avoid malice. Souta and Suzume then walk on a journey to close several doors across Japan.
Despite the story that is sounds pretty dark, it’s actually pretty funny and sometimes light-hearted. Makoto Shinkai is a man who knows how to create beautiful visuals and stories from a disaster background.
Suzume’s storyline is up there. It’s good and it’s quite straightforward. It’s the fusion of youth romance, drama, and adventure. Making the romance bloom along with the adventure of the main characters. It’s a seamless fusion between the real world and the fantasy world.
No such thing as an extreme plot twist making this film more emotionally relatable instead of giving a gimmick shock. The intensity also steadily grows as the film processing. Some flashbacks are infused to bring the drama elements out. Yeah, the plot is simple but it’s clean, well-directed, and the details are amazing.
Let’s pinpoint some details such as the location of the doors from Kyushu up to Ehime. Going through several cities such as Tokushima, Kobe, Tokyo, Miyagi, and Tohoku, Suzume’s birthplace. The region is the real-life site of the 2011’s Great Japan Earthquake. The detail brings a personal feeling of the Japanese that went through the disaster.
Then a cat (otherworldly cat) who banishes Souta into a three-legged chair character gives comic relief to the whole story. Especially with the infused of the current trend element, the social media network. It’s funny seeing a cat playing hide and seek with a chair and go viral on social media. It contributes nothing to the story, but it gives that relatable feeling in a funny way.
For the visual animation. Do we need to talk about it? It’s obviously a top-notch. Just like two previous films, the film’s vivid and dynamic depiction of rain, clouds, and sunlight. Not forgetting the city and natural scenes. The visual creates a sense of energy and urgency that reflects the film’s themes of resilience and hope in the face of adversity. The film’s use of colour and lighting creates a dreamy and enchanting atmosphere that complements the film’s romantic, adventurous and mystical themes.
Suzume in short is a film with enchanting visual storytelling. Overall, the visuals in Suzume are a marvel of animation, and they contribute to the film’s themes of resilience, lingering sadness, and the power of hope.
Our Score (9/10)
Studio: CoMix Wave Films, Story Inc
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Story: Makoto Shinkai
Voice Actors: Nanoka Hara, Hokuto Matsumura, Eri Fukatsu, Shota Sometani, Sairi Ito