Studio Ghibli’s Whisper of the Heart is getting a live-action sequel, and the trailer reveals that the story will explore whether the childhood love between Shizuku Tsukishima and Seiji Amasawa persists into adulthood.
According to the on-screen text included in the trailer, the sequel is set “10 years since the day [Shizuku and Seiji] made that promise to each other” and went their separate ways to pursue their unique passions. The featured imagery shows that the two have been keeping in touch during their many years apart via handwritten letters. Nana Seino (live-action adaptation of Tokyo Tribe) and Tori Matsuzaka (live-action adaptation of The Promised Neverland) star as Shizuku and Seiji, respectively.
Written by Hayao Miyazaki, directed by Yoshifumi Kondō and based on the manga of the same name by Aoi Hiiragi, Studio Ghibli’s Whisper of the Heart premiered in 1995. It tells the story of two 14-year-olds who fall in love and help each other develop and explore their respective passions. When following those passions means living on opposite sides of the world for several years, they make a promise a marry each other one day. The movie grossed over $34 million at the global box office and inspired a spinoff movie, The Cat Returns, which debuted in 2002. Sony Pictures Entertainment announced the live-action sequel in January 2020.
Notably, Whisper of the Heart is not one of the films featured in this year’s Studio Ghibli Fest, which began earlier this month. However, The Cat Returns is included in the lineup alongside Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Only Yesterday and Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Fans of Studio Ghibli have plenty to be excited about in addition to Whisper of the Heart’s live-action sequel. Not only will the Ghibli-inspired theme park open soon, but multiple announcements have been made about new merchandise. This includes a set of Howl’s Moving Castle rings that function as both jewelry and mini-figurines. The rings showcase six versions of fan-favorite character Calcifer and retail for either 1,100 yen individually or 6,600 yen as a collection.
Moreover, the first English release of Shuna’s Journey is scheduled for Nov. 1. An original watercolor illustrated graphic novel by Miyazaki, Shuna’s Journey follows the titular prince on his journey to save his people from a deadly famine.
Many classic films by Studio Ghibli, including Whisper of the Heart and The Cat Returns, are available to stream on HBO Max. The live-action movie is scheduled to premiere in Japan on Oct. 14.