Suzume (2022)

Suzume (2022)


A wonderful adventure and fantasy tale from the director of the anime hit Your Name.



Adventure, Animation, Drama, Fantasy
Aimi, Akihiro Tajima, Ayumi Tsuji
123 min


It’s not Makoto Shinkai’s best, but it just might be his most accessible and crowd-pleasing outing to date.

What it's about

After opening a portal to the afterlife, Suzume and her newfound pal Souta must travel all over Japan to stop the demons from escaping and wreaking havoc on the country.

The take

Part fantasy, part road trip, and part coming-of-age, Suzume is a rich and fast-paced tale with no dull moments in between. The energy is relentless and the animation, as expected, is dazzling, so even though there are occasional plot holes and melodramatic reaches, you’d be hard-pressed not to forgive them. Suzume still wins you over. Of course, the fantastical aspects are what make Shinkai’s films his, but Suzume works best when it zeroes in on humans and their complicated feelings toward each other. The confrontation between Suzume and her aunt, where Suzume accuses her of suffocation and the aunt, in turn, laments the life she could’ve had if she wasn’t charged with caring for her dead sister’s daughter, is just as shattering as any scene involving slaying monsters or battling gods. I only wish there were more tender moments like this, but Suzume is just as endearing and entrancing all the same.

What stands out

The sentient chair that follows Suzume around is objectively funny and a welcome presence in the already-bizarre version of Japan that Suzume lives in. Leave it to Japanese animators to make a three-legged chair a compelling character, rife with emotion, depth, ability, and action. The way it’s able to chase after demons and grieve for his past life will haunt me for a long time, and I mean that as a compliment.

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