Whisper of the Heart live-action movie release date set for October 2022 after COVID hiatus

Baron Humbert von Gikkingen
Baron Humbert von Gikkingen, as depicted in the Whisper of the Heart Live Action Movie. Pic credit: Sony Entertainment

The release of the highly anticipated live-action adaptation of the coming-of-age manga Whisper of the Heart (耳をすませば, Mimi wo Sumaseba) has been announced for October 14, 2022.

The film was originally set to be released on September 18, 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Aoi Hiiragi’s titular manga, which was published in 1989, spawned an animated film adaptation by Studio Ghibli in 1995.

The story follows ninth-grader Shizuku Tsukishima who dreams of becoming a novelist. Upon meeting Seiji Amasawa, a fellow student who aspires to become a violin maker, she develops feelings for him after initially disliking him.  

The story is a beautiful rollercoaster of emotions with a depth to the story rarely seen in contemporary manga of the same genre.  

Whisper of the Heart Live Action Movie: Two-Part Story

Whisper of the Heart Live Action Movie is told in two parts: “Ano koro” (past) which draws on the original manga and “Junen-go” (present) which is set ten years after the original story and follows Shizuku, now 24, who has grown distant from Seiji who lives abroad.  

Whisper of the Heart Live Action Movie poster. Pic credit: Sony Entertainment

Having given up her dream of becoming a novelist, Shizuku now works as an editor for children’s novels. Seiji is still pursuing his dream.

Shizuku is played by Nana Seino, while Seiji is portrayed by Tori Matsuzaka. The film is directed by Yuichiro Hirakawa (The Promised Neverland Live Action Movie).

Yoko Honna, who voiced Shizuku in the Studio Ghibli’s adaptation serves as a narrator in the teaser. The fan’s favorite — the Baron (Baron Humbert von Gikkingen) is also to make an appearance.

Whisper of the Heart: Previous Adaptations and Spin-Offs

Probably the best-known adaptation is Studio Ghibli’s 1995 animated movie. It was written by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Yoshifumi Kondō, who died shortly thereafter. Thus, Whisper of the Heart was Kondō’s only film as a director.

The Cat Returns (2002), a spin-off, was also animated by Studio Ghibli. The film has different MCs but features the Baron. It draws on Hiiragi’s manga Baron: The Cat Returns (バロン 猫の男爵, Baron: Neko no Danshaku), with a few differences, including the ending.

The Baron as depicted in the Baron: The Cat Returns manga. Pic credit: amazon.com

The visual design for Baron differs in the manga and in the movies.

The Baron as depicted in the Studio Ghibli’s The Cat Returns. Pic credit: studioghibli.com.au

Hiiragi’s Baron is a dark gray cat with large blue eyes and long pointed ears, whereas Studio Ghibli’s Baron is orange-yellow with smaller green eyes and shorter ears.  

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