Suzume no Tojimari (2022, ComixWave)
Suzume no Tojimari
On her way cycling to school, a long-haired stranger stops Suzume to ask if there were ruins nearby. After letting him know, she suddenly has a feeling they've met before and decides to follow after him to the ruins. She doesn't find her there but instead, she finds a white door and decides to open it. A strange place appears but nothing happens when she goes through the door. Instead, she discovers a little statue on the ground but astonished, it runs off after she picks it up.
After returning to school late, a small earthquake occurrs but no one seems to notice the giant snake-like shape appearing from the ruins apart from Suzume. She rushes back to the site and discovers the stranger Souta struggling to shut the door and she helps. Later Souta is cursed and Suzume decides to help him close the remaining gates around Japan before they lead to catastrophe.
Since I was in Hong Kong when it was due to screen, I went along to get a postcard (they were giving a different one out for the first three weeks of screening). It turned out... so-so.
It felt like watching Lost Voices but instead of journeying through Agartha, it's Japan. I was pretty excited when I heard from Shinkai's first press conference that it would be a road trip so he could show off as much of the country as possible but it's actually far from that. It features few places and the over all flow felt more like a JRPG where the protagonists are travelling from dungeon to dungeon, sealing off the "evil gates". And no, they don't work like Doraemon's Anywhere Door.
The relation between Souta and Suzume just didn't quite click with me even though there were quite a few in tears amongst the audience. Same for the antagonist mascot too.
As with previous movies, it re-uses a lot of art assets so a lot of times it feels like you're watching Your Name or Weathering again. Yes, we see the Yoyogi Docomo Tower again that's now a signature of Shinkai's movies even though we're well south of Tokyo in this movie. That said, it's still eye candy. Ghibli fans among you might have fun with the music.
There aren't any bonus scenes after the credits so there's no point waiting for one if that's what you're after. I also couldn't spot Hina and Hodaka from the last movie, Weathering despite Shinkai hinting it won't be like Avengers but might feature cameos but, maybe you can spot them.