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Short takes

Not suitable under 9; parental guidance to 11 (violence, themes, language, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Suzume
  • a review of Suzume completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 April 2023.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 9 Not suitable due to violence, themes, language and scary scenes.
Children aged 9–11 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, themes and language.
Children aged 12 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Suzume
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy themes and coarse language
Length: 121 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Suzume’s (voice of Nicole Sakura in the English version and voice of Nanoka Hara in Japanese) recurring dream takes place in the ‘Ever After’, a world under a rainbow sky filled with stars, in which the four-year -old version of herself is searching for her mother. Always searching but never finding. After her mother is killed by a Tsunami, her Aunt Tamaki (voice of Jennifer Sun Bell in English and Eri Fukatsu in Japanese) takes her in and raises Suzume as her own daughter. On the way to school one sunny day, Suzume encounters a strange man called Sota (voice of Josh Keaton in English and Hokuto Matsumura in Japanese) who is looking for a random door in an abandoned village. Suzume gives him directions but then decides to see if she can help him herself. While searching the ruins, Suzume finds a mysterious door that leads to another world. She lifts up a strange object, which turns into a cute but devious cat called Daijin (voice of Lena Josephine Merano in English and Ann Yamane in Japanese). Completely freaked out, Suzume runs away leaving the portal open behind her. Upon returning to school, Suzume realises she can see things that others can’t. She notices mysterious smoke in the sky, along with sinister red and black clouds that twist and turn – this turns out to be a creature called a ‘worm’ that causes natural disasters wherever it goes. Instinctively, Suzume knows that these things are coming from the doorway she left open and she races back to the abandoned village to close it. Here she encounters Sota, who is trying to close the door himself. Together, the pair fight back the red smoke and destructive forces trying to escape but their relief at closing the portal doesn’t last for long. Suzume realises that the object which transformed into a cat was actually a keystone, instrumental in keeping the portal closed. What makes matters worse, is that Daijin turns Sota into a child’s chair and then begins running all over Japan opening other portals. Suzume and Sota (in his chair form) follow along, trying to reach the doors before the evil forces are released and numerous human lives are lost.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

A child separated from her mother; Death of a parent; Tsunamis, Earthquakes; Mystical creatures causing rampant destruction; Portals to other worlds.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • As Suzume and Sota try to close a portal, they are repeatedly pushed back, glass shatters around them and Sota’s arm is badly cut by a falling beam.
  • Sota, in his chair form, runs towards Daijin and nearly hits the cat.
  • When Suzume repeatedly insists on helping Sota save people from the worm, he asks her if she is not afraid to die.
  • There are scenes of the destruction caused by earthquakes and tsunamis.
  • The worm blasts out or doorways, occasionally it looks as if it is on fire or about to burst.
  • Suzume is nearly hit by cars as she runs across a busy road. She jumps off a bridge as horrified onlookers watch but instead of falling down, she is pulled up by the worm that is twisting and turning. She then falls through the worm and back down to Earth. She awakens in the waterways of an underground tunnel, looking battered and bloody and bruised.
  • Suzume hits Daijin, lashing out at the cat for its role in Sota’s destruction. She picks up the cat and almost throws it but then puts it down, telling it she never wants to see it again.
  • Sota’s grandfather yells angrily at Suzume from his hospital bed.
  • A character crashed his car.
  • Suzume finds a door that she can enter, taking her to the world where Sota is trapped. As Suzume enters, it is like the earth is on fire and the worm is a black, lava-like creature.
  • A large, black cat transforms into a white creature and begins fighting the worm.
  • Suzume falls into a fiery heap, but Daijin breaks her fall.
  • Cars nearly crush Suzume.
  • A large creature hits and claws at the worm.
  • Suzume pulls Sota’s chair legs out of the worm where he is embedded. Daijin bites at the chair legs and ultimately retakes its place as the keystone.
  • Sota (back in human form) and Suzume are nearly crushed by falling debris.
  • Suzume and Sota stab the keystone back into the worm.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • A stone-like statue transforms into a cat, and Sota is transformed into a chair and is slowly turned to ice, in his chair form, as he becomes the keystone. This begins to happen a couple of times. He sits on a deserted beach filled with bones and slowly, ice creeps up his chair legs and begins to engulf his body. The final time he is completely turned to ice and Suzume is devastated.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The film contains repeated flashbacks of four-year-old Suzume, wandering through abandoned ruins, all alone, huddling with a chair in the cold and walking through town and a meadow, always calling for her mom. She has tears streaming down her cheeks and her mom is never there and never able to answer.
  • The worm creature repeatedly erupts from the portals, pushing its way through with tremendous force, desperate to release its destructive power. It twists and turns, triggering earthquakes; laying red, sinister, smoke over everyone in the town; causing Suzume to see things that are not really there; and nearly leading her to fall to her death. Daijin, in a sweet little voice, urges Suzume on, encouraging her to find and reach the portals before the worm is all the way out, saying things like: “When the worm falls the earth will break… People will die…A whole lot of them”.
  • Before they can close the portals, Sota calls on the gods to help them contain the worm and Suzume is encouraged to listen to the past and hear the voices of those who once lived or worked in the abandoned sites. She sees families going about their business, children and parents interacting, loved ones saying: “See you soon” or “See you tonight”, not knowing that in mere moments their worlds would be turned upside down or simply cease to exist. Nothing scary happened in those moments, just normal life, but knowing that utter devastation is soon to come, makes the scenes eerie and may disturb or confuse some young children.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Twitter is shown and used.
  • Characters buy food and eat at McDonalds.
  • Marlboro cigarettes are shown and used.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • When her aunt tells Suzume that she will be home late, Suzume asks if she has a date and tells her aunt to take all night if she wants.
  • Suzume has a crush on Sota, gets red cheeks at the thought of him and later professes her love for him.
  • Suzume says that her aunt would be happier if she went on a date every once in a while.
  • A couple of women tell Suzume how attractive Sota is.
  • A character is referred to as a “playboy”.
  • Tamaki is worried Suzume is having a boy over while she is not home. She asks her niece if she is seeing someone and calls the would-be boyfriend a “low-life good for nothing”.
  • A random character asks Suzume and her aunt if they are in a love triangle with another character.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Suzume kisses the chair form of Sota to try to wake him up.
  • Suzume is seen in the bathtub with her bare back as she washes blood off her body.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Characters drink and smoke in a bar. Some appear to be drunk.
  • A character asks for a beer.
  • Adult characters smoke cigarettes on a few occasions.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Hell
  • Damn it!
  • Idiot
  • Crap
  • Pissed
  • Ticks me off.

In a nutshell

Suzume is a fantasy, adventure anime from the acclaimed writer-director Makoto Shinkai. The film is likely to appeal to fans of the genre and anyone interested in Japanese culture, and is best suited to tween and older audiences.

The main messages from this movie are that life can be very hard but that things won’t always be so tough; that nights can seem endless but mornings will come; and that ultimately, love is the most powerful force in the universe, something worth living and fighting for.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Responsibility
  • Sacrifice
  • Teamwork
  • Friendship
  • Love.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Lying to family about where you are and when you will be back.
  • A young girl following a man she doesn’t know into an abandoned village and not telling anyone where she is going.
  • Trusting strangers and getting a ride from someone you are not familiar with.
  • Lack of communication with loved ones.