Studio Ghibli has just confirmed that the Yamaha SRX600 is the best bike ever. When I say “just confirmed,” what I really mean is “confirmed 27 years ago with the film Whisper of the Heart,” which has a Yamaha SRX in a starring role.
Right as the movie begins, a Yamaha SRX is clearly shown. The exact year of the motorcycle is unclear, because it has a combination of parts from older and newer models. Yamaha made the bike from 1985 to 1997, and the movie came out in 1995. Yamaha also made a 400-cc and 600-cc version of the SRX, the smaller of which was more popular in Japan, so it could be either one.
But it still counts! The point here is that Studio Ghibli decided the Yamaha SRX line is important enough for a detailed recreation in the movie Whisper of the Heart, a charming coming-of-age tale about a girl named Shizuku, directed by Yoshifumi Kondō.
It was Kondō’s directorial debut, but would also be his last. Kondō died in 1998. The man, however, appears to have had impeccable taste in cars and motorcycles. A BMW E34 5-Series also makes a cameo. Look at the intricate detail!
There are many more cars, motorcycles, scooters and bicycles in the movie. The Yamaha and BMW just get the most screen time and detail of the bunch.
There’s also a pretty great cover of John Denver’s “Country Roads,” with updated lyrics by Shizuku, adapting the Denver classic into a song about living in the concrete jungle of Tokyo.
And if Yamaha, BMW and John Denver aren’t enough to convince you to go watch the movie — you can stream it on HBO Max — it’s also more or less where the famous Lofi Girl originated; Shizuku inspired the image of the girl studying at her desk. I’m going to assume she’s writing her stories and lyrics, but also, probably, about her excitement over one day owning her own Yamaha SRX.