Premiering in European theatres on Wednesday, 12 April, the anime 'Suzume' has been desperately awaited.
The latest masterpiece by acclaimed director Makoto Shinkai, creator of 'Your Name' and 'Weathering with You', has arrived in our theatres. After its release in Japan in November 2022, European fans can now finally experience the hyped-up anime, six months later than their Japanese counterparts.
The trailer has triggered a hype when it was released about six months ago, mainly on TikTok where the borderline transcendental theme song by artists Toaka and RADWIMPS went viral. Since its appearance on the Berlinale the anime was considered one of the most-awaited premiers of the year.
In fact, Shinkai's "Suzume" was the first Japanese anime to compete in the main competition at the Berlinale since Hayao Miyazaki's 'Spirited Away' won the Golden Bear in 2002. The feature wasn't able to follow its predecessor's lead, but it received enough exposure to keep the public's interest up until its release date in Europe, two months after the Berlinale.
'Suzume' follows a 17 year old girl called Suzume (voiced by Nanoka Hara). She meets a boy, Souta (voiced by Hokuto Matsumura), who says he is travelling in search of a door. Deciding to follow him into the mountains, she discovers a door sitting in the middle of some ruins, the only remnant that has survived the passing of time.
Giving in to an impulse, Suzume turns the handle, and other doors open in the four corners of Japan, letting in catastrophes. Her mission is straight-forward: she must close every one of those doors. Guided by Sota and a mysterious cat, Suzume sets out on a journey to close them all.
© Suzume no Tojimari official website
Starting with an action-loaded intro, the movie shows multiple surprising angles, like the amount of humour and sometimes almost absurd plot twists. The use of 'almost' here is deliberate as the silly parts still do integrate well into the movie, leaving the spectator giggling and in awe at the same time.
For two hours, the movie balances human encounters and thrilling combat for the fate of Japan. All the while, Shinkai uses magnificent animations and image-building as the background of a story about love, trauma, and finding out who you are.
What's more is that Shinkai has deliberately created a situation where it's a young woman who saves the man. Granted, the main story is driven by Suzume's actions and the male character, though omnipresent and taking the role of comedic relief, is only second lead.
The only criticism one may express is that the animation on the characters may be a little modest at times, seeming almost 2D. However, the landscapes, backgrounds, actions and the legendary food-animations - which literally made the whole theatre gasp - are the current non plus ultra.
There's much to love about 'Suzume', and more than enough for us to be excited about whatever the filmmaker comes up with next.
'Suzume' is in theatres now! Check out the program on the Kinepolis website.