Suzume is a 2022 Japanese Anime romantic fantasy written and directed by the amazing Makoto Shinkai, whose Your Name blew our minds. The movie follows a young girl who encounters a young man searching for abandoned areas with doors and ends up helping him prevent a supernatural Worm from causing earthquakes across Japan. As always, a lot is going on in this movie, and it helps to discuss the film. Without further ado, here’s the plot and ending of the movie Suzume explained; spoilers ahead.
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Where To Watch?
To find where to stream any movie or series based on your country, use This Is Barry’s Where To Watch.
Oh, and if this article doesn’t answer all of your questions, drop me a comment or an FB chat message, and I’ll get you the answer. You can find other film explanations using the search option on top of the site.
Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:
What is the Ever-After?
Ever-After is a plane of existence where living beings go after their death. All times exist simultaneously in this place. The living can’t enter this place. However, there is a door in Tohoku which allows some living to enter.
What is the Worm?
The Worm is the creator of earthquakes. It is kept in check by a pair of keystones which keep the Worm contained in the Ever-After and stops it from wreaking havoc in the world of the living. The Worm can enter the world of the living through mystical doors in places of ruin.
The Worm is based on the mythology of Namazu, a creature beneath Japan, held in check with a stone by a god. If the god is distracted, Namazu causes earthquakes by thrashing about.
Who is a Closer?
A Closer is someone who, through generations, is handed the duty to locate and close doors that can become points of entry for the Worm. The Closer carries a mystical key that seals the Door. The user of the key must imagine and feel the people who once existed in the place of the ruin, creating the keyhole that can be used to lock the Door.
What are the Keystones?
The Keystones are the artefacts that keep the Worm inactive – one on the head and the other on the tail. The role of the Keystones is played by two deities. The movie shows us that if freed, these deities have powers of possession and can transfer the duties of the Keystone to another living being.
Suzume: What is Daijin and Sadaijin?
They are two Spirit gods that play the role of Keystones. The western one near Kyushu is Daijin, and the eastern Keystone near Tokyo is Sadaijin. Both of them are required to be present together to completely deactivate the Worm.
The movie mentions that the Door near Tokyo was once opened in 1923, causing the great earthquake in Kanto. It appears that after that, the Sadaijin has been consistently guarding the western front up until 2011 the Tohoku earthquake. We don’t know what transpired in 2011 and how the Worm got free.
Suzume Movie: Plot Explained
Who is Suzume? What happened in 2011?
Suzume is a 17-year-old student who lives in Kyushu with her aunt, Tamaki. Suzume’s mother is presumed dead in the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 that destroyed Tohoku, where Suzume lived as a child with her single mother.
Back then, at the age of 4, after the quake, in search of her mother, Suzume mistakenly entered a Door that took her to Ever-After, and she has faint memories of meeting someone there who gave her a 3-legged chair.
Suzume: Why was the chair missing a leg? What happened to the chair’s leg?
Suzume’s mother crafted the chair as a birthday gift for Suzume. This is not explained, but it appears the chair broke a leg in the earthquake of 2011 and was lost. A future version of this chair was given to the 4-year-old Suzume by the 17-year-old Suzume inside Ever-After. We’ll get back to this later on.
Who is Souta?
Souta is a university student who comes from a family of Closers, and he goes around Japan finding and closing Doors to stop the Worm from invading and creating destruction. In the movie’s opening, Souta runs into Suzume and enquires if she has seen a Door that stands amongst ruins, and she points him to an abandoned village.
The Door at Kyushu
Suzume gets curious, heads to the abandoned village, and finds the Door amongst the ruins. She opens it to see another reality (Ever-After) but can’t cross over. She finds a stone in the ground and removes it; the cold stone turns into a cat and runs away.
Why can Suzume see the Worm and Ever-After?
As a little child, Suzume entered a door that took her to Ever-After; this seems to have given her the ability to see the Worm and Every-After. An alternate theory is that Suzume’s mother was a Closer, too, so their family can see the Worm.
Suzume: What was the cat?
The cat is Daijin. When Suzume removed this Keystone, the artefact retook the form of the cat. It looks to transform back into the being it once was and give away the Keystone’s role to someone else.
The Worm at Kyushu
Because Suzume removed the Keystone, the Worm enters from the Door at the ruins. At school, Suzume realizes only she can see it and connects it to the earthquake warnings. So she returns to the ruins and helps Souta shut the Door; she brings him back to her house to tend to his wounds.
Since Suzume freed Daijin, it is looking to win her love. This is why you see it become healthy when Suzume assumes it to be a stray cat and feeds it fish. At this point, the Daijin transforms Souta into a chair.
Suzume: Why chair? Why is he a chair?
The chair is a random object that Daijin transforms Souta into merely because he is sitting on it. It also passes on the responsibility of the Keystone to him.
But the chair is special to Suzume, which amplifies her need to help Souta in his mission and reverse the spell on him. While it appears that Souta is sleeping in his chair form, he is slowly turning inanimate, which means he’s getting closer to becoming the Keystone that needs to be jabbed into the Worm.
The Worm at Shikoku
Chasing behind Daijin, Suzume and Souta enter a ferry and end up in Ehime. They see the Worm at a distance, and with the help of the Oranges Girl, Chika, they get to Shikoku. An abandoned school has become a portal from which the Worm is trying to enter. With Souta’s guidance, Suzume uses the key to close the Door. They see the Daijin again before it runs away. While they suspect it’s been opening the doors, the Daijin has been trying to get Souta to these open portals so he can perform his duties as a Keystone.
The Worm at Kobe
Suzume spends the night at Chika’s place and heads out to Kobe, where Daijin has been sighted on Social Media. The rains cause Suzume and Souta to be stranded at a bus stop, and a passerby, Rumi, a single mother of twins, gives them a lift. Suzume is also tasked with babysitting the kids and serving at the bar. Suzume spots the Daijin among the customers and chases after it, and they end up at an abandoned amusement park with the Ferris Wheel cabin being a Door.
Though Souta grabs Daijin, he lets it escape to save Suzume, who’s about to fall because she sees a vision of her 4-year-old self talking to an older person who she assumes is her mother. However, this is Suzume from the future. We’ll get to that in the end. After closing the Door, Suzume heads back to Rumi’s bar, where she spends the night.
Souta’s consciousness is now dwindling as he gets closer to becoming inanimate. But a little kiss from Suzume wakes him up.
The Worm in Tokyo – Souta becomes a Keystone
Souta guides Suzume to his apartment in Toyko, and there she meets his friend Serizawa briefly. Soon, Suzume and Souta confront the Worm that has left from an underground door in Tokyo. The Second Keystone seems to be completely out, and it’s unclear why. The Worm prepares to quake on the city below. Daijin tells Suzume that she needs to jab the chair (Souto) into the Worm to stop the destruction, and with a heavy heart, she does.
Souta is now the single Keystone in Ever-After, where Suzume cannot go. Daijin approaches her with utmost joy and is rejected by Suzume, and it shrivels because Suzume doesn’t return the love. She heads back up to the city.
Souta’s Grandfather is old and hospitalized and was once a Closer. While he is unable to help Suzume physically, he explains that she can see Ever-After and the Worm because she accidentally entered the Door when she was 4. He also tells her that the only way to reenter it is if she goes back to that same Door in Tohoku.
Tamaki and Sadaijin
Tamaki tracks Suzume down through her cash withdrawals. In Serizawa’s car, the three of them, along with Diajin, head to Tohoku. They take a break in between when Suzume and her aunt have a heated discussion. Sadaijin appears, revealing that it had possessed Tamaki, and that’s why it brought forward her inner thoughts and regrets.
Why did Sadaijin possess Tamaki?
Why and for how long Sadaijin had possessed Tamaki is left unclear, making it one of the oddest plot gaps in this film. If it was only for a short duration, we have to write it off as the spirit gods are just randomly playful – and not necessarily in a cute way. At an earlier point in the film, the Daijin appears to have possessed a random person at the bar, but it brings up a whole other question – why could Suzume see Daijin at the bar when others could not, and why could she not see Sadaijin instead of her aunt? If you have some theories on this, please comment below.
The Worm at Tohoku
Suzume reconciles with her aunt, and they all head to Tohoku, where she finds the Door and enters Ever-After along with Daijin and Sadaijin. The Worm is sealed by the chair (Souta). Suzume removes the chair, and this gives back Souta his human form. I believe the Daijin released the curse since it couldn’t win Suzume’s love. Souta prays to the gods, and both the Daijin and Sadaijin become artefacts, and Souta and Suzume jab it into the head and tail of the Worm to neutralize it.
Suzume meets Suzume, and the 3-legged chair
Because Ever-After is free of time, the older Suzume gets to meet her 4-year-old self. She gets to tell her younger self that as horrible as it feels, she will grow up with warm people, even strangers, who love her. And that she will find someone she loves too. Suzume hands her younger self the three-legged chair, and it is this chair that she will keep fondly over the years until one day it becomes Souta.
Suzume Movie: Ending Explained: Did Suzume end up with Souta?
The crux of the movie is not the romance between Suzume and Souta, although, in the ending, Souta does return to meet Suzume. Clearly, they like each other. In an interview with director Makoto Shinkai, he mentions that he made Souta an inanimate object to take the attention away from the boy-girl romance. The movie was about Suzume’s growth, not pegged only on falling in love with one person.
Suzume: What is it about then?
The film is about the journey of a girl who went through extreme trauma as a child when she lost her mother in an earthquake. Her aunt stepped in to take care of her becoming her new mother figure. Throughout her life, she’s found people who have loved her. We also see that in her journey, she meets strangers who are kind to her – provide her with food and shelter. Even if she runs off on them, they are only relieved that she’s unharmed when she returns. Suzume extends kindness to Souta, who she fights for and frees from his curse. Suzume’s journey ends with her assuring her lost and confused 4-year-old self that her future will be bright and filled with love, which is why she grew up to be the person she is.
Suzume: What happened to Daijin? What happened to the cat?
Unable to win the love of Suzume, the Daijin lifts the curse off Souta and becomes the Keystone once again. Suzume jabs Daijin into the head of the Worm while Souta pins Sadaijin into the tail. The two artefacts remain to guard the Worm until the next episode.
Who are Daijin and Sadaijin | How did Suzume’s mother die? | Fan Theory
What if the role of the Keystone is passed on from person to person over generations? What if somebody was once turned into a talking cat and then was given the responsibility of the Keystone, just like Souta was converted into a talking chair and given the responsibility of the Keystone? In the movie, Sadaijin even mentions wanting to revert to their original form, just like the talking chair wants to become human again. This makes the Keystones a chain of beings instead of only one set.
When Suzume was young, her mother disappeared during the earthquake of 2011. What if, in the days leading up to the quake, Suzume’s mother was converted to a black cat by the previous Keystone and was supposed to become the next Keystone (just like Sota was turned into a chair and supposed to become the next Keystone)?
But because it meant leaving Suzume all alone, her mother (in the form of the black cat) never became the frozen Keystone jabbed into the Worm. She wanted to ensure Suzume was cared for by someone else – her sister, Tamaki. But not playing the Keystone role caused the Worm to strike, leading to the terrible earthquake of 2011. A disastrous quake like that could have happened only if a Keystone was missing.
The mother (in the form of the Sadaijin) ensured that Tamaki took Suzume with her and cared for her over the years. In Tamaki’s heated argument with Suzume, this is the conversation:
Suzume: It wasn’t me who asked to live with you. It was you who said, “Let me take care of you from now on”. You said you would take care of me.
Tamaki: I don’t remember that. You can leave my house now! Give me back my life!
Tamaki can’t remember some of the things Suzume claims she said. Is this because the mother (as Sadaijin) got Tamaki to say those things? Tamaki also says, “I didn’t come to pick you up sooner”. This means that little Suzume was alone for a while before Tamaki arrived. So she would have been in foster care, and we don’t know for how long – Days? Weeks? Perhaps it was not until the coaxing of the mother (as Sadaijin) that got Tamaki to go get Suzume.
So in effect, Sadaijin has always been with Tamaki, with only Daijin plunged into the ground as a Keystone. When Suzume removed it, Daijin mistook this as an act of love and sought Suzume’s love and was disheartened when she rejected it. With Diajin also extracted, no more Keystones were guarding the Worm, and it began exiting out of many Doors and managed to completely leave in Tokyo. A new Keystone, the chair (Souta), was jabbed to contain the Worm.
This is an improbable explanation, as the director didn’t intend it, but it makes for fun speculation. This theory also puts Tamaki in a bad light. But I would be interested in knowing other theories that you might have. What did you think about the plot and ending of the movie Suzume? Drop your comments below.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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