Suzume (Nanoka Hara/Nichole Sakura) lost her mother when she was very young, growing up with her aunt, Tamaki (Eri Fukatsu/Jennifer Sun Bell) as her adoptive mother. Maturing into a teenager, Suzume has the world at her feet and those endless possibilities are filling her mind.
Then one day she meets Sota (Hokuto Matsumura/Josh Keaton), a young man who has a very special job which saves millions of lives every day. He’s a Closer, a person who finds doors all over Japan and closes them before a giant otherworldly worm escapes and causes disasters in their home country.
Coming across one of those doors one day, Suzume is puzzled and fascinated all at the same time, especially when Sota goes to work. Without thinking, Suzume throws herself into the danger and aids her new friend, but his job is made even more difficult when his form changes and he’s forced to rely on Suzume for help. Together they start to travel, finding those doors so that disaster can be averted.
Suzume is the latest animation from revered writer/director Makoto Shinkai, best known for his overwhelming success with Your Name. and Weathering with You. Bringing his own personal touch, Suzume is a mixture of the incredible and transdimensional mixed with the ordinary and every day. All put together with beautiful animations and drawings that create both worlds.
At its heart though is Suzume herself and where a lot of the story starts out being typically anime, it may surprise its audience as to just how poignantly touching the story becomes. What for most may feel like a straightforward adventure turns into something deeper and more meaningful as it deals with Suzume’s own issues with grief.
Also, Sota’s introduction may lead the audience to believe that a generic love story will drive the film. Although thankfully this is subverted, helping the audience understand love on a metaphysical level, rather than putting a label on it.
Ultimately, Suzume will leave the audience feeling good and will win over crowds as it has done in its native Japan. Just be ready for the strangeness which could only really depicted in anime.
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