Japanese animator and filmmaker Makoto Shinkai is back with another anime film, and NGL, I’m equal parts excited and scared. I still remember how his previous works “Your Name” and “Weathering with You” made me cry on my bedroom floor for 15 minutes straight (and that’s a lot of crying for someone who usually doesn’t cry over anime films).
Shinkai’s upcoming coming-of-age film “Suzume no Tojimari” (Suzume Locking up the Doors) revolves around Suzume, a 17-year-old girl who discovers a mystical door in an abandoned building. She opens the door as if spellbound, which makes similar doors open one after the other all over Japan. Turns out disasters happen whenever these doors are opened, signaling her “door-locking” journey.
It seems that Suzume won’t be alone on the journey. Previously teased as a road movie, the official trailer revealed that she will be joined by a mysterious young man, a white cat, and—wait for it—a sentient yellow chair. I’m still suspicious about the chair, but if its character is anywhere near as interesting as Olaf of “Frozen,” then I’m totally here for it. It’s probably even gonna snatch the limelight from Suzume. (Just kidding… or am I?)
Aside from Suzume’s mission to lock the doors of disaster, the film will also be an adventure of self-growth and pursuing freedom in the contemporary world. It’s gonna be a lot, but I’m looking forward to see how Shinkai and his team will seamlessly weave the subplots into the main one. And as with his previous works, I’m expecting “Suzume no Tojimari” to be an intricate visual masterpiece.
I think I speak for the majority when I say it’s always great to see women and girls take the lead in films, especially those that focus on coming of age and independence. Suzume’s story seems to be the perfect medium to explore the questions young people ask themselves regarding their identity and place in their families, schools, and communities.
The movie is set to hit Japanese cinemas on Nov. 11. Meanwhile, international viewers will have to wait until 2023.
Photo screengrabbed from “Suzume no Tojimari” official trailer