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Headscratchers / Whisper of the Heart

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  • Just how old is Nishi? According to The Other Wiki the film takes place in 1994, and Nishi appears to be in his sixties, maybe seventy at the most. He claims to have studied in Germany "before the war" and fell in love with that woman. Yet in the flashbacks showing how he first found the Baron the costumes do not look anything like 1930s fashion - if anything they look like something from the years prior to WWI. It could be that the artists were taking liberties, but it does not seem plausible that he could be old enough to have done the things he claimed to have done.
    • Let him be born a bit before 1920 - 20, 21 as he left Germany, around 75 in the movie. He opens or closes the shop depending on his mood, so it's a retirement hobby at this point, and he doesn't find it all that easy to move around anymore as far as I can see - Shizuku had to help him with the stepladder. I saw nothing out of the ordinary for a guy in his seventies. As for the clothing in the flashback, it's probably part artistic choice, part mirroring the dolls themselves (which are most probably a good bit older than the 1930s).
      • The clothing makes sense once you realize that this scene isn't a true flashback so much as Shizuku's visualization of the events as they are told to her.
  • Does Seiji speak Italian? If not, how did he get by in Italy for 2 months? And if so, has he been learning Italian just so he can go to Italy?
    • Well, violin-making is his passion. So it's possible that he decided to learn Italian early on. It's also possible that the master in Italy speaks Japanese, considering that he's a friend of Nishi.
  • Just how old are Seiji's parents? His father was "Dr." Amasawa when he donated the book to the school's library in 1953 (according to the English subtitle translation of the flyleaf), 41 years before the story occurs. Whether a medical doctor or an academic, he was unlikely to be less than 23 when he gave the book. That puts him at least age 64; but by having a much younger wife Seiji's age is quite possible. Surely he can't be any older than that or tongues wagging would have ensured that everyone in the school knew who Seiji was (the guy with the ancient father). For biological reasons it is not credible for his mother to be that elderly, but because Seiji's last name is not Nishi, she is presumably Mr. Nishi's daughter. Nishi is argued above to be roughly 75. Presuming Nishi was still single when he returned to search for Louise after the war, which would have been a daunting prospect until at least 1950, and that searching took him a year, he ends up marrying earliest at 1952, age 33 or so, and can have a girl child soon after. So Seiji's mother is born 1953-60, marries Amasawa any where from 1971 to 1978, then has Seiji in 1979. So Seiji's parents are father 64 (min) and mother 34-41. Some would say lucky Dr. Amasawa.
    • If you freeze-frame the image, you'll see that the book was actually donated in 1958, not 1953. So he would be 59 at the time of the story, not 64. Furthermore, the English subtitle actually says Mr. Amasawa; we only get the word "Doctor" later on, when Shizuku asks the teachers about the book, and one of them replies "Ah, Dr. Amasawa, yes. I've read this book too; it's quite a good one." Let's presume the teacher only said "doctor" because that's Amasawa's current title, not the title he had when the book was donated. So Seiji's dad could be 18 at the time of donation, making him 54 at the time of the story.
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    • Furthermore, as far as I can tell (my Japanese is rusty), the flyleaf says "donation" in black up above, and below is a red family stamp (which I presume says "Amasawa" even though it doesn't match Seiji's checkout card in any way.) Family stamps act like signatures. When you get a package, for instance, you "sign" for it by stamping a form somewhere. And the stamp itself doesn't actually say "Mr." (or "San"); it just includes the family name. So we could imagine that Seji's dad was actually 10 years old when he donated the book. (It's a book of fairy tales, after all). Maybe he attended this school himself when he was young, and he asked his dad (Seiji's paternal grandfather) to let him borrow the family stamp for a moment so he could mark the book. That would make Seiji's dad 46 at the time of the story, married to a woman in the age range of 34-41.
  • What happened to Nishi's wife (Seiji's grandmother)? Nishi doesn't noticeably miss her. Louise is who is in his mind, and there is no suggestion that he traveled back to Japan from Germany with an illegitimate child in tow.
    • Wild Mass Guessing: Nishi and his wife had a bad relationship, and he prefers not to talk about her. He feels that Louise was his true love.
    • Maybe Nishi's wife is alive, but simply not involved with the events of this story. After all, we never get to see Nishi's home; we only see him at the antique shop. Maybe his wife just doesn't visit the shop very often.
    • Keep in mind that, when we see Nishi dreaming, it's shortly after he's told Shizuku the story of the Baron and of his own lost love. It may not be that he doesn't miss his wife (if she's dead) or that he has a bad relationship with her (if she's alive), only that, having had Shizuku's interest bring up all those old feelings, they are what's present in his mind in the timeframe the story is concerned with.
    • Maybe there is/was no wife and his daughter is adopted.


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