The world Makoto Shinkai presents us with in Suzume is just as magical as his previous films, and the mythology needs to be expanded upon!
Just what a talking cat, an equally vocal three legged chair and a young lady have in common is a crazy mystery. And in Makoto Shinkai‘s latest film, Suzume (すずめの戸締まり, full title: Suzume’s Locking Up), the investigation into this has far reaching consequences! This film’s title is also her name, and it follows familiar beats as his past works, namely Your Name and Weathering With You (movie review)
Part of this latest tale considers how she deals with PTSD in an Alice in Wonderland type tale. This young lady (voiced by Nanoka Hara) is one of the few survivors from the 2011 Tohoku tsunami and when she was a toddler, she had little comprehension about all that happened. She could not find her mom and that grief sets the tone for what’s to come. This film starts off with images of the devastation and it’s dark. Although this child gets taken in by her Aunt Tamaki (Eri Fukatsu) to become her new mom, is that enough? Although she hasn’t talked about those days with auntie, life in Kyushu seems pretty good.
Coming to North America today is the highly-anticipated new film from director Makoto Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura, the creative team behind the critically-acclaimed, global smash hit Your Name.
The Weathering with You is too apt for a charged tale of life, love, and controlling the weather. The timing could not be any better as parts of Canada and the East coast being hit with snow. High winds and other dangers notwithstanding, for those able to make it, this film is worth getting out to! Thankfully it will stay in theaters longer as the wild and woolly weather can dissipate in a few hours.
The summer of his high school freshman year, Hodaka runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo, and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. The weather is unusually gloomy and rainy every day, as if to suggest his future. He lives his days in isolation, but finally finds work as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Then one day, Hodaka meets Hina on a busy street corner. This bright and strong-willed girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky…
Plenty of praise and examinations have been given to Makoto Shinkai‘s Your Name since its debut last year. Although this film is essentially a romantic comedy, I was more enamoured with the mythic elements. This filmmaker took the best from other cultural traditions and wrote a Twilight Zone style story which I liked. This movie has an East clashing with the West attitude. It shows when Mitsuha Miyamizu (Mone Kamishiraishi), a young girl from a rural part of Japan, yearns for a life in modern Tokyo and makes the mistake of wishing upon a falling star.
She wanted to shirk cultural traditions and from there, I knew where this film was going. Since classical times, spotting such a fireball was often feared more than regarded as divine intervention. If a prayer is said upon seeing it, just what happens can go any which way. In this film’s case, both are considered!
Comet Tiamat is getting closer to the Earth and it is the raison d’être for how this tale comes together. She’s not always a creation goddess but is also representative of primordial chaos. This chunk of rock and ice could have been given any name, and some viewers may wonder why this Babylonian figure is used? My theory is that this name was chosen to make viewers of this anime aware that this film is a shōjo product through and through. Her essence is everywhere. From the Earth to the Heavens, in the offerings at the shrine and coming visible at twilight, a sense of omnipotence can be felt as she comes closer to Earth affecting the main character, Miyamizu-chan.