* Warning: Possible spoilers. I tried to avoid them, but some may have slipped through. *
Last week, I went to theaters for the first time in years to check out Makoto Shinkai’s latest film, Suzume no Tojimari, or just Suzume. Truthfully, it was my first opening day screening since forever ago (I think last time was a midnight showing of The Dark Knight?). Let me just say now, I’m glad I went.
Like many of Shinkai’s films, we got some adventure, hints of romance, and a whole host of different emotions. If you haven’t seen some of his other work, I’d highly recommend doing so. But now, let’s talk about today’s star, Suzume.
The story follows high school girl, Suzume, and this mysterious man she meets by chance one day, Souta. Innocent curiosity leads from one thing to another, and before long she is roped into a journey across Japan closing doors with Souta.
Yeah, I know, sounds a bit weird. Closing doors? But, there’s more to it than that. We’re talking supernatural doors, ones which hold back disasters. It’s pretty wild, but hey, welcome to anime.
I can’t really get into more specifics without spoiling things, so I’ll leave it at that and change to more high-level stuff.
There’s a lot of moving parts in this film, resulting in a pretty emotionally-driven story. We got my personal favorite, romance, as one of the main driving forces here. You pretty much see it right away, between Suzume and Souta. It’s obvious, but also pretty subtle, with the adventure being a bigger focus (and logically so, given the circumstances they’re in). It really was a favorite thing of mine from this movie.
But it’s not just that. The comedic moments are pretty abundant too, and they hit at just the right times. It’s difficult to tell a dramatic story and have proper comedic relief, but they nailed it in Suzume.
There’s also some touching and sad moments too. Namely, Suzume’s relationship with her aunt and things related to her past. I won’t lie, I got a bit emotional around a bunch of strangers in the theater… Don’t worry, the movie doesn’t leave you feeling gut-punched.
The characters are all so balanced and fleshed out as well. None of them are one dimensional. Suzume, Souta, Daijin, even the side characters all feel so developed. For someone who values characters so much, it set the film apart and elevated it to a whole different level.
As with all of Shinkai’s films, the production quality was top notch. Speaking briefly, everything about it was really enjoyable. Let me get specific.
The animation is absolutely stunning. The level of detail, the picturesque scenes, it was all amazing. Action scenes felt intense, visceral. The mystical elements looked really cool too. I can’t describe with words how beautiful it all was. But hey, that’s what screenshots are for!
The flow of the animation was smooth also. There were some moments with the chair (yep, chair) that seemed a bit off, but it didn’t hinder the rest of it.
The voice acting was impeccable as always. The whole cast was excellent. I can’t speak for the dub, however, as I didn’t watch that one. Guess I could have, for this post, but meh. I’m sure it’s fine, if you enjoy dubs.
But, what I really wanted to comment on was the music. The soundtrack for Suzume is incredible. The songs are beautiful, powerful, and just all-around great. The song from the trailer especially gets me. Like, I stayed for the full duration of the credits just to listen to them. Even now, as I’m writing this, I’m listening to it. So damn good.
Suzume no Tojimari is a masterpiece, and a great addition to the world of anime. The adventure is exciting, the romance is sweet, the comedy is hilarious, and the drama tugs on your heartstrings expertly.
When I think about the quality of an anime, manga, or movie, I think about whether I’d want to add it to my collection, and how badly I want it in there. If it gives any indication, I want to buy this the moment it’s available in my country. It’s that good.
To wrap this up, all I’m going to say is you should absolutely check it out. It’s such a good movie, and an absolute pleasure to watch.