Call Me Chihiro

Shigeru Kishida

" the loneliness of Chihiro is predictably, but immensely touching in musical representation "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the download only release

Call Me Chihiro (ちひろさん) is a 2023 Japanese slice of life film directed by Rikiya Imaizumi and the lead character is formidably performed by actress Kasumi Arimura.

This slice of life film has archetypal ingredients, but Call Me Chihiro isn't as sentimental as so many others. It's set in a rustic, small village, and includes a protagonist who interconnects with others, changing their lives, while still feeling loneliness on the inside, its photography is simple and naturalistic, and it's also quite an intriguing character study and alludes to the theme of heartening warmth against small-time natural sentiment.

Shigeru Kishida' music is unsurprisingly simple and natural in execution, using a small array of instrumental, gentle performances by, amongst things, piano, guitars, jazzy woodwind, Hammond organ and electronics. It matches the content and qualities of this film and offers a serene, soothing and natural musical experience, while also embodying more immersive and deeply reflective feelings.

There are several themes linked to the bond she has with other characters. Looking beyond the principal of a musical theme, most expressions of the film, the loneliness of Chihiro is predictably, but immensely touching in musical representation; the solo piano in the cues 'One summer day' and 'Another Chihiro' are absolute highlights. These two cues, alongside references to the theme of solitude in conjunction with other instruments elsewhere in the score, are what provided me great solace. An innumerable number of Japanese composers writing for an array of media use the sensibility of the solo piano to great effect, even in works that do not stand out at all. For example, I know hundreds of animated projects aimed at a youthful audience, that utilize musical tricks and traits of the lowest demeanour, but often include a remarkable theme by this instrument.

Beyond the apt, yet predictable nature of the score, there are supplementary immersive sounds that appear in places in the film as flashbacks occur. The cue' Rest of days' provides an unnecessary reworking of famous classical music for the solo piano, which is nonetheless engaging. But the unjust song 'Sun of Love -Alternative mix' by music group Quruli (Shigeru Kishida and Masashi Sato) baffles me. Yes, it is a song co-created by the composer of the score, but it does not, in any way, correspond with the feel and content of the film.

My huge appreciation for the score by Shigeru Kishida is a 'compromise' of how it works in context, and its standalone musical qualities, which weighs less in my final verdict.

1. Call Me Chihiro 1:33
2. Theme of Okaji & Chihiro 0:39
3. Homeless Ojisan 1.10
4. Daylight madness 0:31
5. Makoto's lunchbox 01:26
6. Theme of Okaji & Chihiro II :42
7 One summer day 3:37
8. Chihiro's recollection 2:17
9. Treasure map 0:37
10. Theme of Tae & Aya 1:29
11. Another Chihiro 3:06
12. Goldfish 1:24
13. Identity 01:49
14. Theme of Tae & Aya II 1:24
15. Moon viewing 1:39
16. Rest of days 2:16
17. Sun of Love -Alternative mix- Quruli 04:09

Total duration: 30:46

1. ちひろさん
2. オカジとちひろ
3. おじさん
4. 白昼の狂気
5. マコトのお弁当
6. オカジとちひろ II
7. 夏の日の出来事
8. ちひろの回想
9. 宝の地図
10. 多恵と綾
11. ちひろとちひろ
12. 金魚
13. 綾の正体
14. 多恵と綾 II
15. お月見
16. その後の日々
17. 愛の太陽 -Alternative mix- / くるり


(click to rate this score)  
(total of 1 votes - average 4.5/5)

Released by

Asmik Ace, Inc. & Victor Entertainment (download only release 2023)