Before it was a Studio Ghibli anime, Whisper of the Heart was a manga, so how does its artist feel about the follow-up?

There’s a lot of waiting involved in the upcoming live-action Whisper of the Heart movie. For fans of the Studio Ghibli anime classic, it’s been 27 years since they last saw middle-school sweethearts Shizuku and Seiji, and even within the story itself the two have been separated for 10 years while Seiji is in Italy establishing himself as a cello player and Shizuku remains in Japan trying to get her career as a writer off the ground.

We’ve still got a couple months to go until the new Whisper of the Heart hits theaters, but the producers have given us a fresh sneak-peak with the release of a new batch of visuals from the film, two different poster designs, and even some comments from the original creator.

Though the live-action Whisper of the Heart is a continuation of Shizuku and Seiji’s story, it will also include flashback scenes to their time together as teens, and one version of the poster recreates their unforgettable sunrise bicycle ride on the morning they pledged their hearts to one another.

The second poster shows the pair as adults, on the same street, but with contrasting backgrounds reflecting the different countries they’ve spent the last decade in. The sunlight is also concentrated into a vertical line, another sign of division, suggesting that the distance hasn’t been entirely easy for them, even with the poster’s tagline saying “There’s someone I want to see.”

▼ Runa Yasuhara and Tsubasa Nakagawa portray Shizuku and Seiji as teens, and their adult selves are played by Nana Seino and Tori Matsuzaka.

These days, the best-known Whisper of the Heart is the Hayao Miyazaki-written 1995 theatrical anime from Studio Ghibli. The anime, though, is actually an adaptation of a 1989 manga of the same name, created by Aoi Hiiragi, who had the following to say about the live-action sequel.

“It’s been 33 years since I drew the Whisper of the Heart manga, and 27 years since the anime movie adaptation. After hearing the passionate artistic vision for a story set 10 years later from the staff, who grew up watching the anime movie, I became very interested in the idea. This is a new movie that’s being born, and it’s a mysterious feeling for me to see characters who have completely separated from the individua work walking their own paths. But I feel like a parent, excitedly waiting to see what sort of world their children will show them.”

Whisper of the Heart opens in Japanese theaters on October 14.

Source, images: Press release
© Aoi Hiiragi/Shueisha © 2022 Whisper of the Heart Production Committee
©︎柊あおい/集英社 ©︎2022『耳をすませば』製作委員会
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