Childhood sweethearts find their promise might not be so easy to keep once they become adults.

Studio Ghibli’s 1995 anime film Whisper of the Heart’s image of young romance is about as romanticized as it can be. A pair of 14-year-olds meet, fall in love, and make an earnest promise to marry one another, despite knowing that their academic and career ambitions mean they’re going to be spending years living on opposite sides of the planet before their wedding day.

It’s such an idyllic ending that some adults, understanding all too well how hard it would be to actually maintain such a relationship all the way to the altar, find it kind of depressing. But we’re about to see if, and if so how, protagonist Shizuku and her childhood sweetheart Seiji’s hearts stay tied together, as a live-action sequel to Whisper of the Heart is on the way, and its first teaser trailer has just been released.

As the teaser opens, we hear 14-year-old Seiji declaring “It’s my dream to become a cello player” (a diversion from the anime, where he wants to be a violin maker). That ambition will be taking him overseas for years to come, and the young Shizuku, whose goal is to become a novelist, replies “While you’re in Italy, I’m going to keep studying and writing stories.”

“I don’t know how many years it’ll take, but let’s come here again,” says Seiji, as we see a recreation of the sunrise promise that serves as the anime’s climax.

“10 years since the day they made that promise to each other,” the onscreen text informs us, followed by “the story of what happens to them starts now.” It’s not entirely clear if the live-action film is going to be set in the current day, or if it’s supposed to be taking place 10 years after the Whisper of the Heart anime or source-material manga were released (1995 and 1989, respectively). In any case, Seiji and Shizuka apparently have been keeping in touch the old-fashioned way, with hand-written letters, sent in traditional red-and-blue-bordered air mail envelopes.

“Shizuku, how are you doing?” asks Seiji in his letter, his choice of words implying that their correspondence doesn’t have the frequency of modern-day long-distance relationship text messaging. “It’s been a long time,” we hear Shizuku say, further lending credence to the theory that their hearts might not have been whispering at each other the entire time they’ve been apart. There’s also a special audio Easter egg for fans of the anime, as the voice that speaks the film’s Japanese title, Mimi wo Sumaseba, at the end of the video is that of Yoko Honna, Shizuku’s voice actress from the Ghibli anime.

▼ A pair of posters have been revealed, one showing Tori Matsuzaka and Nana Seino, who portray Seiji and Shizuku as adults, and the other with Tsubasa Nakagawa and Runa Yasuhara, who play the pair as junior high students.

The movie debuts in Japanese theaters on October 14, conveniently just about two weeks before the Ghibli theme park, with its recreated locations from the Whisper of the Heart anime, opens on November 1.

Source, images: YouTube/松竹チャンネル/SHOCHIKUch
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where the linguist in him liked the water drop/Shizuku visual metaphor in the trailer.