"Suzume" is cycling to school one morning when she encounters a strange young man who asks her for directions to the nearest ruin! She sends him off in the direction of a dilapidated complex and continues her journey. Gradually, though, she begins to wonder who he was and what he was up to. Quickly, she races to find him and encounters a door - sitting in the middle of a wet patio. She opens it to see another world on the other side. If she crosses the threshold, though, it becomes her own world with the other world, well, still on the other side... On the ground she notices a small carving. It looks like a cat, hang on - it is a cat - and suddenly all hell breaks loose as a giant worm tries to enter her world through the door. Luckily, her wanderer, "Souta", had also found the door and together they close it and lock it with a magical key. He explains that there are loads of these portals around the Earth and it is his job as a "closer" to keep them shut else the planet will be destroyed. Now, back to the cat. It seems that it has a special purpose here, and when it appears to curse "Souta" - turning him into a yellow, three-legged child's chair (that previously belonged to "Suzume") we find their investigations take on a bit of a comical effect as they rush from door to door chasing the open wormholes and the cat - all while slowly discovering that they might be falling in love. It's quite fun for the first half hour with plenty of action, a bit of humour with the hobbling wooden seat and as we establish the story and the characters. Thereafter, though, I found this to be a little too repetitive with the story recycling itself a bit too often. There are a few extra characters drafted in - her aunt, with whom she lives, and a lady who runs a bar who takes her in for the night - but they don't really add very much to what is essentially a short story stretched out for two hours that could easily have been shorter and more condense. The production is colourful and the standard of animation throughout is bright and vivid, and I did quite enjoy it - but as a story it really lacks substance as it progresses to it's eventual close. To be fair, that denouement is not as predictable as you might have thought and it tests the mettle and the affections of all concerned as many of the assumptions that we (had all) made as the story developed become questionable. By that stage, though, I had sort of lost interest in "Suzume" as a lead character.
With a compelling story, jaw-dropping animation and impressive action sequences, _Suzume_ is a contender for Makoto Shinkai’s most thrilling and enjoyable film to date. It’s an uninterrupted adventure with relentless twists and turns and no brakes. You’ll easily fall in love with the film’s rich and detailed animation, not to mention the jazzy and stylish score provided by rock band Radwimps and composer Kazuma Jinnouchi that would make even Yoko Kanno envious. Suffice to say, _Suzume_ is a dazzling rabbit hole of animation and charm. **Full review:** https://boundingintocomics.com/2023/04/18/suzume-review-a-dazzling-rabbit-hole-of-animation-and-charm/
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