Suzume Review: My Anime-Watching Experience in India

I had been eagerly awaiting the release of Makoto Shinkai’s brand new movie, Suzume, for close to four years; ever since the release of his previous work, Weathering with You. I wasn’t fortunate enough to live in one of the major cities where his earlier films were released, so I had no opportunity to witness his vision on a big screen. But times have changed, and today, we can see our favorite anime in theaters, all thanks to well-known multiplex chains like PVR. I have recently been able to view all the popular films on huge screens, including Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie, One Piece Film: Red, Demon Slayer: Swordsmith Village movie, etc. Well, I just finished seeing Suzume no Tojimari, the latest film by Makoto Shinkai, on the big screen in India, and I am going to share my review, along with my experience of watching the movie with fellow otakus of India.

Suzume no Tojimari – Makoto Shinkai Strikes Again

Experience Inside the Cinemas

I have turned into an ardent fan of Makoto Shinkai’s filmography over the years and always wanted to witness one of his works on the big screen. Well, that dream came true this week with the release of Suzume no Tojimari all over India. Even the creator Makoto Shinkai visited India for its grand release, but I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet him and hear his thoughts on Suzume.

But watching this movie in the theatres is a big win in my books already. Just know that I’m from a Tier 2 city in India and was so surprised to see so many anime fans at the PVR Cinemas near my home; even though I’m not from a Metropolitan Indian city. Friday was a working day too, yet the cinema hall was brimming with fans in their cool anime merch. And we got a houseful show as a result.

While Western audiences are different when it comes to enjoying and elevating the movie-watching experience inside theatres, our Indian fans are on another level. While waiting for the movie to start, I could see many groups of fans cheering and shouting chants like, “Shinzo wo Sasageyo!”, “Eren Yeager”, “Luffy”, “Dattebayo,” and more; enjoying with their fellow otakus.

It was extremely fun to embrace the anime culture and everything about our favorite animes with everyone. But once the movie started, all of us were silent and wonderstruck by the visuals. Well, by now we know that is expected for the Makoto Shinkai movie already, right? Fans erupted with claps, applauded for every brilliant montage, and went crazy for the humorous scenes. Well, that was the most joyous thing about this experience. Watching an anime alone sure brings you comfort but watching it and celebrating it with the anime fans truly elevated the experience; turning it into a memorable and precious moment for me. That’s enough about my experience of watching a new anime movie in India, now onto the review of the Suzume no Tojimari movie.

Suzume no Tojimari Review

The poster of Makoto Shinkai's Suzume no Tojimari.

Talking about how awesome the movie was, well, Suzume is another great cinematic experience from the creator behind stellar works like Your Name, Weathering With You, 5 Centimeters per Second, and more. Right from the start, the movie captivated me with its impeccable visuals. The story shares the typical Makoto Shinkai tropes such as a calamity, a boy-girl duo, etc., but it never fails to impress you.

For those unaware, it is the tale of a young girl named Suzume who gets entangled in a series of catastrophic events when she meets a strange man in the streets. I mean, the narrative may sound simple, but what makes the difference here is the characterization and visuals meticulously created by Makoto Shinkai and Co.

All the characters in the movie were so full of life; it was heartwarming to see the interactions and conversations between them. We have a wide variety of characters such as Kawai-mythical cats, a closer, twins, etc., and all together fit in the story in a good manner. The chemistry between the characters was wonderful and a joy to watch. Makoto also paid homage to Hayao Miyazaki (Ghibli Studios) by creating a Studio Ghibli-inspired kawaii cat character. There was even a mention that this cat looks like it is from The Whisper of the Heart (1995). This movie is purely magical, and you really get sucked into the beauty of Japan as intended by the creator.

Whilst there is a serious story going in the background, a touch of humor here and there was flowy and unconfined, making everyone just laugh their heart out. Makoto Shinkai is a genius when it comes to out-of-the-world visuals, and time after time again, he proves why he is one with his works. The delicious foods, eye-catching setting in Japan, mandatory rainy sceneries, etc., leave you awestruck.

Though the previous works of the creator were centered around the romance between the main characters, here the main storyline focuses more on the disasters, with a side serving of romance. This was a different approach, but it worked well, thanks to the compelling characters. While the first half of Suzume was totally fun and moving, the latter half took a serious turn and there was a clear slowdown in the pacing. But that doesn’t affect you in any way as the emotional climax will steal your heart and makes you overlook the trivial negatives in the movie.

The soundtracks in Makoto Shinkai movies are always enchanting and soulful, which is the case here as well. However, the movie left me a little disappointed in one part, as not even one of the songs was featured in its entirety like it was done in Makoto sensei’s previous works such as Nandemonaiya, Grand Escape, etc. But Suzume (feat. Toaka) humming in the background at times, and the outro at the end helps me make peace with the fact and mend my aching heart.

Overall, Suzume no Tojimari is a stunning visual spectacle of the highest order, which if possible for you, deserves to be watched on the big screen with a crowd that would fawn over the visuals with you. The movie is said to be inspired by the real events of the 3/11 disaster in Japan and the people associated with it. Thus, as touching as it was to us, it should have been more for the Japanese people.

Just as how Suzume overcame her traumas in the end, the Japanese might be able to find some comfort brought in this movie. The balance between the themes of enjoyment and grief is perfect here and ultimately instills hope for everyone. Suzume is a must-watch for all Makoto Shinkai fans, and anime fans in general. So, don’t miss out on this one. I hope you can also witness the joy and experience I had with fellow otakus. So, make sure to book your tickets and enjoy the movie with your friends.

Anime India Community Is Coming Up Roses

Gone are the days when people used to call anime or even animated movies as leisure content made for kids; skipping over gems like this movie without realizing their actual value. While this was going on, the OG animes such as the Dragon Ball series, Naruto, One Piece, etc., started sowing the seeds and building the foundation of a fledgling anime community in India. Over the past few years, India has become one of the largest anime fanbases worldwide. This resulted in renowned cineplex chains acquiring rights for the latest anime movies and presenting them to us on the big screens.

We are living in the best times as anime creators are now even visiting India to interact with the fans and understand our perspectives. For example, the creator of Suzume visited Mumbai, India for the premiere of the movie and had quite an interactive session with the fans. No one can stop the growing anime culture in India, and we expect to witness more anime events than ever before in the near future. Are you ready to join us on this journey?

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