Suzume No Tojimari Movie Review: Suzume, a high school student in southern Japan where she lives with her aunt, is a typical high school student. She eventually meets Souta, a young man who is also exploring the area in search of ruins. She decides to investigate his trail of footprints and discovers a freestanding door in the abandoned hot springs resort.
But when she opens it, she finds another world, one from which ancient disaster-causing forces are only too happy to flee. But as soon as you lock the door, the situation deteriorates further. Daijin, a talking cat, transforms Souta into a chair, and it’s up to Suzume to close doors and stop disasters across Japan as they pursue Daijin and try to return Souta to his body.
Suzume No Tojimari Movie Review
Ultimately, Suzume no Tojimari is the tale of a young woman who sets out on an actual quest to overcome a traumatic experience that she and a substantial percentage of Japan share. Suzume endured the Tohoku earthquake that struck Japan in 2011. The only difference is that while she made it, her mother did not.
She puts up the facade of a carefree teenager, but this is actually her defence mechanism. Suzume doesn’t trust anyone, not even her aunt who she’s lived with for the past ten years or her school pals. By putting some space between herself and the pain, she may be able to prevent herself from ever again experiencing the kind of anguish she felt after her mother’s death, but she also may never be able to recover from it.
Despite the film’s focus on a character’s profound emotional anguish, though, it ultimately has a hopeful message. Suzume must repeatedly rely on the goodwill of strangers throughout her travels. Despite their lack of familiarity with one another, they continue to welcome her into their houses.
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Meanwhile, as Souta is increasingly reliant on her to help him go around in his wheelchair, their relationship strengthens. A relationship between them formed by their shared experience of battling otherworldly entities that no one else can see is unlike any other she has experienced since her mother’s death. Her unwillingness to part with him grows the more they journey together. However, even a fool can see that he shouldn’t be cut off from his physical form for too long. Tragically, she loses her mother, and may lose Souta, all too soon.
Suzume no Tojimari, like the other films written and directed by Makoto Shinkai, is divided into the standard three acts. & Braving the Storm Together. Supernatural elements are introduced in the opening act, which also features a healthy dose of comedic relief. The stakes are raised in the second act with the introduction of a major threat that is ultimately neutralised. Finally, in Act 3, our protagonist must deal with the fallout from Act 2’s disclosures and complications as he struggles to reclaim what was lost.
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This format allows for a solid picture with plenty of twists and turns, but it is also very predictable. Those who have seen “your name.” or “Weathering With You” will be able to predict the general direction this movie is taking at any given time. Because of this, the film’s primary strategy—playing on your emotions—is somewhat muted, which is a shame.
While the picture follows the same basic structure as Shinkai’s other works, there is one significant difference that significantly alters the viewing experience. If you’re looking for a villain, your name doesn’t fit the bill. Unless, of course, you consider weather-related disasters and nameless deities to be villains, in which case, we’ll be weathering the storm alongside you. On the other hand, Daijin is the antagonist in Suzume no Tojimari. Daijin is a cat, but the fact that it can be talked to and challenged adds a new dimension to the plot.
Visually, Suzume no Tojimari is stunning, with beautiful use of light and colour throughout, notably in the world beyond the door, which features the apparent contradiction of sunshine and a starry sky. With one exception, the film looks as great as you’d hope for from Makoto Shinkai.
The eldritch thing that Suzume sees in Tokyo appears extremely false in wide shots, like a cheap CG effect was slapped on top of the otherwise superb animation and integrated poorly. It’s such a jarring contrast that it detracts from what should be the film’s most moving scene. This is, fortunately, the only noticeable flaw in an otherwise stunningly animated film.