Anime Programming in the US
Making a Living in Manga in Japan with Felipe Smith
Lost in Translation
Released in Japan in 1995, Whisper of the Heart was the first Ghibli cinema film not directed by the studio's founders, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata (though Ghibli's 1993 TV film, Ocean Waves was directed by Tomomi Mochizuki). Whisper of the Heart was directed by Miyazaki's long-time friend, acclaimed animator Yoshifumi Kondô, who was widely expected to become a major Ghibli director when Miyazaki retired. However, Kondo died in January 1998, at the age of only 47.
Released on U.K. DVD in 2006, Whisper of the Heart is a slice-of-life teenage drama about an imaginative schoolgirl called Shiziku, and a series of events prompted by her discovery of an antique shop, and her efforts to find a boy whose name is on a library card. The story was based on a manga by Aoi Hiiragi, as was Ghibli's more fantastical The Cat Returns, which has some links with Whisper of the Heart.
Optimum has already released two Ghibli films on Blu-ray this year, Laputa: Castle in the Sky and My Neighbors the Yamadas. They followed last year's Blu-ray releases of Ponyo and Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind. The company is currently releasing Ghibli's 2010 film Arrietty in U.K. cinemas.
The play.com website currently lists Whisper of the Heart as a "Double Play" release.
Update - An earlier version of this article overlooked Optimum's Blu-ray releases of Ponyo and Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind. Thanks to Ian Charvill for the correction.
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