Makoto Shinkai movies are always filled with deep lore and mystery that even now some of them are stuck in many of our heads with different thoughts. Despite all that, all of his movies are strongly character focused and tell the story of their struggle against fate. A normal human battling against supernatural forces. But overtime I think like some of the movies feel narratively weak except for Your Name, Weathering With You, Garden of Words to name a few. They even lost me at some point. The newest 2022 film Suzume no Tojimari earned a massive commercial success, sitting right behind Your Name, the theme song set fire on the internet before the movie was even released, and it’s highly praised by pretty much everyone. But it left a mixed impression and a bittersweet ending. Let’s explore it a bit.
About Suzume no Tojimari
Suzume no Tojimari is a modern-day fantasy-based story that follows a highschool girl named Suzume. She meets a young man who travels all around the country looking for ruins and sealing doors that opens to a realm called Ever-After where the souls go after passing away. It’s also a portal for a supernatural threat that can cause the world’s destruction. Suzume accidentally removes a keystone that holds the doors closed which comes with a great ramification and she must take it in her hands to restore everything to normal. I won’t get much into the plot as it’s worth it to explore on your own.
What to like about Suzume no Tojimari?
Let’s get to main stuff first then the issues. The visuals look gorgeous and the OSTs are breathtaking. The whole movie is brimming with easter eggs and little details such as the wheels bounce on uneven road, the cinematic and dynamic camera panning, the timelapse of the day passing like an actual real-life filming, the roads look like steaming on the sunny day, and many more that I can’t list all which makes every single scene alive and vibrant. The more I watch, the more I notice new things.
I love the road-trip adventure aspect it took. I also love that the character of Souta Munakata was turned into a chair which helped with the story and characterizing. I thought he was just going to be a dude towering over Suzume and vomiting exposition. But they have a good dynamic that bounce off one another in an effective and entertaining way. The comedic interactions between the characters were very fun too. The general pacing of the movie is great too. Every character got the attention and care they deserved. Specially Suzume’s aunt who would normally be a hinderance but instead she jumped in with Suzume, making her an integral part of Suzume’s character. Halfway through the movie everything comes to a standstill and you are left with the thought of what will happen next, what exactly can Suzume do, was everything until now gone in vain? I love it when a story leaves you such questions which makes the story all the more intriguing.
The Theme of Nostalgia
The theme of family and bond is apparent throughout the whole movie. The places we’ve been do hold our memories and stories. But when we hang onto nostalgia too much, it prevents us from moving forward and accepting what we’ve gained so far. We can’t get back what’s lost, but we can cherish what we have left. That’s what depicted by Suzume’s leaving of her chair behind in the end, leading her old self heal emotionally. Family, job, lover, friends, siblings, kids, and even pets are brought up in different ways in Suzume’s journey. Everything that was seemingly missing in her life, she finds them one by one and learns to value them. It’s about going back to the loved ones, something that Suzume’s mother sadly could not and what Suzume herself almost missed.
The character of Daijin who is a cat like creature is supposed to be the keystone that holds the door to Ever-After closed. And it’s sad to see how he went out after realizing his mistake. A movie that’s about fighting against what is preordained eventually fell under the theme that there are some things that you can’t change. Daijin’s just wanted to be free by passing on his role to someone else. His innocent like demeanor may seem ominous at first but you can’t help but feel sorry for him. This is where the story felt short and Daijin’s character remained trapped the way it was before. In the end, the movie went back to its status quo along with character development, but it left us a with this unresolved feeling. It’s a bittersweet ending that I wish could’ve been different.
Suzume no Tojimari is a thoughtful movie that’s been made with much care and passion. It’s not near perfect as some aspect felt short but definitely worth the watch. It broke the typical iceberg and gave us a unique experience with some after thoughts to ponder upon. The movie is out on Apple TV but other platforms have yet to acquire it. If you’ve watched it, you are free to discuss about it in out Discord server.
Thank you for reading. ~♡~