Shizuku is working on a translation of John Denver's "Country Road" lyrics. A bookworm at heart, she spends a great deal of time at the library. On her way over there one day, she notices a strange sight: a cat riding the train by itself. It decides to get off at her stop, and Shizuku follows the cat to an antique shop. She meets the proprietor and is enchanted with a statuette of "The Baron" - a grand cat in a top hat. She also meets Seiji, the grandson of the proprietor and finds out he's a classmate. Seiji is an aspiring violin maker, and wants to go to Italy to learn the trade from the masters. Shizuku starts to fall in love with him, but all too soon, Seiji gets his wish and goes off to Italy. Inspired by his dedication, Shizuku sets a goal of her own: to write her first novel. She chooses to write about the adventures of "The Baron". In this way, she pursues her dream while he pursues his. This movie tells a story about a girl's personal growth in today's urban society and is one of the most accurate depictions of Japanese city life to date in anime. Screenplay and character designs by Hayao Miyazaki.
Though not officially one of Miyazaki's works, this one is still done by Studio Ghibli and is yet another masterpiece of animation. Not at all for kids (they simply wouldn't appreciate its theme) this is the perfect thing for otaku in the age range of 16-20. The touching coming of age story is all too real, and the usual fantastic Ghibli animation makes us feel we really are in Japan. As usual, excellent music and three-dimensional characters make for a fantastic movie. If you liked Graduation, you'll adore Whisper of the Heart.
Currently only available fansubbed.