Suzume, created by Shinkai, is a treasure trove of life lessons. These lessons are subtly conveyed through the movie’s scenes, the character’s actions, and much more. Although the plot appears simple, it is actually a nuanced and valuable source of experiences and advice that will benefit young viewers.
Adventure is always at hand
Suzume redefines the idea of adventure. An abandoned door becomes the gateway to the afterworld. Adventure is always with and around us; all that matters is how we look out for it. Adventures seek us out, but we are too wrapped to realise it. Sometimes an adventure isn’t about exploring a new world. Instead, it can be facing a challenging meeting with your boss or excelling in an exam that causes you anxiety. Choosing to confront life with courage instead of retreating defines an adventure.
Dealing with trauma is an ongoing process
Childhood memories have a profound impact on us, evoking both joy and sorrow. Coping with trauma is a continuous process, and for Suzume, the loss of a parent is something she grieves internally, often not realizing its full weight until she is faced with adversity. In the movie’s final scene, an older Suzume comforts her younger self, symbolizing her acceptance and grieving for her loss. Though it may not be apparent to outsiders, Suzume never forgets her mother.
Memoirs from childhood are priceless
The three-legged stool that connects Suzume and contains Sota’s soul, leading them on an adventure, is a priceless memoir of Suzume’s childhood. The scene where her mother builds the chair for her birthday and her excitement demonstrates why she cherishes the stool, even after it loses a leg. As we grow older and tidy our homes, we may unknowingly discard these precious mementoes. These memoirs are gifts wrapped in childhood nostalgia that we give ourselves.
You mature with experience, not age
Suzume’s guardian, Tamaki, is a young woman responsible for raising her sister’s daughter. Her experiences prepare her for motherhood even though she is not yet ready. On the other hand, Suzume matures through her experiences and strives to be an ideal daughter by keeping Tamaki at ease and away from tension. The experiences they share mature them beyond their years.
When you decide to help yourself, the world helps you
Throughout Suzume and Souta’s adventure, they rely on the kindness of strangers. Chiko provides Suzume with a home and clothing on their first stop, while Rumi, her children, and Souta’s best friend, Tomayo, play equally important roles. Suzume also demonstrates her kindness by helping those around her. These acts of generosity reinforce the idea expressed in Coelho’s “The Alchemist“: when you pursue a goal, the universe conspires to help you achieve it.
Sacrifices are not worthless
Tamaki’s monologue about her sacrifices teaches us that sacrifices are not worthless. Tamaki becomes a parent to Suzume. Souta and his grandfather also make great sacrifices to protect their world from disaster, and Suzume’s determined efforts to save Souta show that such sacrifices are worth it for the greater good.
Looks can be deceiving
The story’s villain, the seemingly harmless white cat Dajinn, teaches us not to judge others by their appearances or first impressions. He endangers Souta’s life, and his love for Suzume blinds his vision, and he cannot see where Suzume’s happiness lies. Suzume’s adventure thus offers valuable lessons about kindness, sacrifice, and the true nature of things.
The last lesson that Suzume Ni Tojimoro leaves us with is Suzume’s dialogue, “I’d been given everything that matters a long time ago.”
If one lives by this motto, we understand that happiness is near us and can be ours if we are ready to embrace it.