"Mimi wo Sumaseba"
(If You Listen Closely)
by Aoi HIIRAGI
Ribon Mascot Comics, 1990
Yes, you may recognize the title of this manga. 'Mimi wo Sumaseba' is also the name of a Studio Ghibli animated movie, and yep, that movie was based on this shoujo manga! I am not exactly sure why, out of all the shoujo manga out there, Ghibli decided to make a movie from this manga, but I am glad they did. 'Mimi wo Sumaseba' (the English title of the movie is 'Whispers of the Heart') is one of my favorite Studio Shibli films! So when I finally saw this manga at thebookstore, I had to get it. It's not exactly a random title, but I think the manga itself is fairly unknown, so I am including it on this page :)
The story in this manga is fairly similar to the movie, but there are some notable difference. The manga is about a gurl named Shizuku TSUKISHIMA who is an avid reader and has a great imagination. One summer day she notices that all of the books she has checked out from the library were all checked out before her by the same person, someone named Seiji AMASAWA. This sparks Shizuku's interest, and she daydreams about what kind of person this Seiji could be. One day at school she leaves one of her books in class and goes back to get it, and finds a strange boy in her classroom reading her book! The boy returns her book, and teases her a little, leaving Shizuku very annoyed at him! Later, on her way to the library, Shizuku sees a black cat riding the train with her! Curious, she follows the cat when it gets off at the same station as her, and she is led to a neighborhood she has never been to before.
In the neighborhood she discovers a strange store that sells all kinds of unusual things. The item that interests Shizuku the most is a little statuette of a cat. But when the shopowner asks her if there is anything she wants, Shizuku panics and buys a pair of glasses instead, and leaves. Before she gets very far, she discovers someone is chasing after her! It's a cute guy with glasses. He came from the store she was just at, and gives her a postcard from the store that is a picture of the cat statuette! Anyway, the plot of this manga follows Shizuku as she tries to discover who she is and what she wants to do in life. The cat statuette plays an important role in fuling her imagination, and she does eventually meet the mysterious Seiji. Some differences between the manga and anime... Instead of one big white catnamed moon, we have 2 black cats instead. One is Moon, the other is Luna. Seiji does not make violins in the manga. Also, Shizuku does find Seiji's name in many of her library books, but she ALSO finds AMASAWA Kouji's name in another book. Kouji is Seiji's brother! We also get to learn more about Shizuku's older sister. If you like the movie, this manga is worth checking out, even if it's just to see the differences :)
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