Beautiful Darkness is the kind of comics we need more of. It not only has a sustained thematic subtext, but uses the images to convey information not present in the text. Too often we default to a double dip of narrative from text and image. As readers we're taught to treat the illustrations as secondary. This album, using the full power of the medium, elucidates a story that couldn't exist in another form. Highly recommended.
Ultimately, on the My Neighbor Totoro to Princess Mononoke Ghibli intensity scale, Whisper of the Heart falls closer to Totoro. Its value, like Totoro or Spirited Away, lies in the depiction of a believable child character.