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

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 scheduled to release on September 18, 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

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

The story is a beautiful rollercoaster of emotions with a story depth 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 is based on the original manga and “Junen-go” (present) which takes place ten years after the original story and follows Shizuku, now 24, which is far from Seiji who lives abroad.

Whisper of the Heart Live Action Movie PosterPic credit: Sony Entertainment

Shizuku has given up on her dream of becoming a novelist and now works as an editor for children’s novels. Seiji is still chasing his dream.

Shizuku is played by Nana Seinowhile Seiji is played by Tori Matsuzaka† The film is directed by Yuichiro Hirakawa (The Promised Neverland Live Action Movie).

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

Whisper of the Heart: Past Adaptations and Spin-offs

Probably the most famous adaptation is Studio Ghibli’s 1995 animated film. It was written by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Yoshifumi Kondō, who died shortly after. 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 several MCs, but features the Baron. It is based on Hiiragi’s manga Baron: The Cat Returns (Baron: Neko no Danshaku), with a few differences, including the ending.

The Baron as depicted in The Baron: The Cat Returns mangaPic 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. Photo credit: studioghibli.com.au

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

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