Young lovers’ lives aren’t going quite as they planned/promised once they hit adulthood.

Studio Ghibli’s theatrical anime Whisper of the Heart (Mimi wo Sumaseba in its Japanese-language release) has an ending that simultaneously seems to tie everything up and leave hardly anything resolved. At the movie’s end, main character Shizuku and the guy she’s fallen in love with, Seiji, watch the sunrise together. In a scene steeped in the romance that’s developed over the course of the film, Seiji says he wants to marry Shizuku, and she accepts.

▼ Trailer for Whisper of the Heart

There’s a catch, though: the new fiancées are just 14 years old, and so actually getting married and starting a life together is still something so far in the future that their commitment is essentially hypothetical. It’s an ending so idealized and unrealistic that it can actually be depressing for viewers who wish their real lives could be like that, and maybe that’s why we’re now getting a sequel that shows whether or not the childhood sweethearts’ promise pans out when they become adults.

A sequel for Whisper of the Heart has just been announced, but this time around, it won’t be animated. Instead, it’s a live-action movie set 10 years after the events of the anime. During the decade in between, Shizuku has given up on her dream of becoming an author and is instead working as an editor for a children’s literature publisher. Meanwhile, Seiji is still living overseas as he pursues his ambition of becoming a professional violin maker, the dream that’s taking him away from Japan at the end of the anime. Physical and emotional distance has begun to erode their relationship, prompting Shizuku to set out to recapture their fading passion.

▼ Actress Nana Seino will play Shizuku, while Seiji will be portrayed by actor Tori Matsuzaka.

While Whisper of the Heart is best known internationally thanks to the Studio Ghibli film, for which Hayao Miyazaki wrote the screenplay, the story was originally a manga created by Aoi Hiiragi in 1989. Though Hiiragi would later draw a spinoff titled The Cat Returns, which was also adapted into a Ghibli anime, it was a pure fantasy tale with no relation to Shizuku and Seiji, which will make the live-action movie the first continuation of the original narrative.

Yuichiro Hirakawa is attached to the film as director, with filming scheduled to begin next month and the release in Japanese theaters slated for September 18. There’s no word yet of an international release, though the involvement of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which is co-distributing the film with Shochiku, bodes well for Whisper of the Heart fans around the world finding out if Seiji Amawsawa’s love story has an ending as sweet as Seiji Nakazawa’s.

Source: Livedoor News/Cinema Today via Jin
Top image: Studio Ghibli
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