Suzume: a cosmic anime adventure that sparkles with whimsy and woe (film review).
Makoto Shinkai, the Japanese animator hailed as the heir to Hayao Miyazaki, has crafted another visually stunning and emotionally resonant anime film with Suzume. This tale of a grieving teenager and her three-legged chair companion embarking on a cosmic journey to save the world is equal parts awe-inspiring, whimsical, and disorienting.
Nanoka Hara voices the lonely yet intelligent Suzume, who stumbles upon a mysterious quest while exploring abandoned ruins. The film’s supernatural disaster elements, combined with a quirky talking cat and a chair-turned-comrade, make for a uniquely charming experience that will keep viewers guessing.
Shinkai’s signature blend of serenity and frenzy shines in the flick, with breathtaking moments of calm punctuating the madcap action. The film’s exploration of love, grief, and man’s relationship with nature feels both familiar and fresh, as Shinkai delves deeper into the darker aspects of human experiences.
This anime’s quirkiness is perhaps best exemplified by the transformation of Souta, Suzume’s mysterious guide, into a three-legged chair, an odd narrative choice that nevertheless results in some wildly entertaining sequences. The film’s radiant originality is a testament to Shinkai’s ability to draw from his influences, like Studio Ghibli and Haruki Murakami, while still crafting something uniquely his own.
The film’s convoluted storyline sometimes hampers its emotional impact, and a more restrained approach to character relationships might have served the story better. Suzume‘s ending, too, leaves audiences with a sense of longing for a more satisfying conclusion.
Despite these shortcomings, Suzume remains a spookily beautiful cosmic adventure that sparkles in the memory, thanks in no small part to its enchanting blend of the mythic and the comical. It’s an iridescent gem of a film that, like its young protagonist, keeps moving forward, seeking to heal and protect the world around it.