Whisper of the Heart: if there ever was a need to sell the idea that animation is a medium and not a genre, this excellent KONDOO Yoshifumi film may be the perfect showcase. It deals with the hardships of first love and figuring out one’s destiny as it tells the story of a young middle-school girl who tries to find out who is the boy that has similar reading habits to her. It is a delightful and realistic narrative, filled with interesting and relatable characters, from the talented, sensitive protagonist (nicely voiced by HONNA Yooko) to her best friends in school to her caring but absent parents and older sister. The animation is quite good: the character design is simple but extremely functional, with the characters all being very distinctive, while the recreation of a suburb of Tokyo is quite detailed and realistic. The use of music is relevant and well-done: “Take Me Home, Country Roads” will never be as memorably used again, and composer NOMI Yuuji’s original is very good. This is pure joy.