An Evergreen Tale of Young Love
rysm at age 47, shortly after completing the film. It’s clear animation lost an important talent who would have gone on to do interesting work. Kondo brought Miyazaki’s storyboards to life, infusing everyday moments with the emotional intensity of adolescence. When classmate Sugimura (Martin Spanjers) confesses to Shizuku that he’s had a crush on her for a long time, she insists that can’t possibly be true. And it doesn’t matter what either of them feels: Yuko (Ashley Tisdale) has a crush on Sugimura, and Yuko is Shizuku’s best friend. Flustered by this line of argument, Sugimura replies angrily, “I don’t speak girl code!”
In his proposal, Miyazaki also wrote, “It’s easy to cynically declare that wholesomeness is a fragile concept, only possible if protected by others, or that true love can never occur in this era without serious challenges. Even if so, it seems to me that it also ought to be possible to express — in an even stronger, overwhelmingly powerful way — how wonderful the quality of wholesomeness is.” After the plethora of sarcastic wisecracks and poop, fart and belch jokes in recent American features, the wholesomeness of Whisper of the Heart provides a welcome change in tone.
The film concludes with one of the most delightful and understated credit crawls in recent memory. As a young chorus sings “Take Me Home, Country Road” in Japanese, the audiences sees an ordinary street in the Tama Hills. Amid the shoppers and children and dog walkers, Shizuku and Seiji go by on his bicycle; Moon, the chubby cat, trots along on some unknown errand — and Yuko meets up with Sugimura after a baseball game. “Sayonara, Country Road.”