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‘Suzume no Tojimari’ is originally a lesbian romance plot, director reveals

In his recent interview with a media outlet, Makoto Shinkai, the acclaimed director of ‘Your Name’ and ‘Weathering With You’, revealed that his latest box office hit, ‘Suzume no Tojimari’ wasn’t supposed to be your typical boy-meet-girl romance, but rather a love story between two girls.

‘Suzume no Tojimari’ has now premiered in the U.S., following its success in Japan, South Korea, China, and other countries. The ‘Your Name’ director attended the premiere, where he was interviewed by the entertainment outlet, Looper about his latest anime film. Shinkai then expressed his desire to move away from tiring movie plots and explore the sisterhood-type-of-romance theme in ‘Suzume’. However, the producers encouraged him to change the main characters’ genders to cater to a wider audience.

“I felt that in ‘Your Name’ I [did] everything that I possibly could in terms of ‘boy meets girl’ and will they, won’t they, will they meet.’ That element of romance is very relatable to the masses, which is why it was a subject matter that resonated with a large audience,” he told Looper.

Shinkai believed that Suzume would fit in a non-binary. Yet, they wanted him to stick to the usual romance plot to appeal to the masses.

“I wanted to pivot to a more sisterhood type of romantic story, but I had to change that because my producer said, ‘You may be tired of these romantic stories, but your audience loves it,” he said.

Changing the story was also the reason why Shinkai had to turn Souta, Suzume’s love interest into a chair to prevent a more romance-focused flick.

This contemporary slash fantasy tells about the adventures of a 17-year-old girl who meets a mysterious boy searching for a magical door. She then follows him and discovers a mysterious doorway in the mountains. As she attempts to reach the door, it begins to open more portals, heading to several areas in Japan — where a new adventure awaits them.

In 2022, the animated fantasy movie, ‘Suzume no Tajimari’ was produced by CoMix Wave Films. This year, it has evolved into a global hit, ranking 10th in Japan’s highest-grossing anime movie of all time, and was nominated for the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival Awards. It was also  released in Philippine cinemas in March.


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