Your Name, also known as Kimi no Na wa, has been a constant topic of conversation since it’s original release in Japan last August. It has since become the highest grossing anime film of all time, surpassing Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. Despite its massive success, however, it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar at all. Your Name was created and directed by Makoto Shinkai, who is also responsible for past hits such as 5 Centimeters Per Second, Garden of Words, and The Place Promised in Our Early Days.
Synopsis: Your Name follows our main characters Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu. Mitsuha is a high-school girl who lives in the country but yearns for a life in the city. Taki is her complete opposite, living in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo while balancing a part-time job. One day, Mitsuha wakes up to find herself in an unfamiliar apartment in Tokyo. At the same time elsewhere, Taki finds himself waking up in a girls body in the countryside. It takes them a while to figure out what’s happening, but eventually realize that they are switching places. After figuring this out, they decide to search for each other.
Your Name very much focuses on the characters, as everything they do in the other’s body can affect both of their lives. Being unable to control the phenomenon, they establish ground rules for each other and leave daily logs on their phone’s notepad. As time continues, they become bonded together by time, fate and feelings. Soon after, they discover a connection to the meteor that only passes through every 1500 years.
Review: The story is conceptually very simple, but its use of individual points adds great depth as the movie goes on. Your Name is, at times, philosophical; but still remains simple enough for the average viewer to understand. Each and every important part are expertly blended together, with nothing feeling out of place. The body-swapping trait that Your Name takes advantage of, is actually fairly uncommon. In recent years, only two other similar shows come to mind. These two are Kokoro Connect and Yamada-kun and The Seven Witches. With the most recent of the two having been released back in Summer 2015, compared to other overused anime settings, Your Name is a refreshing change of pace.
There is a very heavy use of foreshadowing throughout this movie and almost spans the entire first half. Around when the foreshadowing stops, it turns tail and becomes an emotional drama once the meteor becomes involved. From here on, it’s somewhat of a mystery, as Taki travels to where Mitsuha lived in order to figure out what happened to her. In order to fully understand the plot and development, I had to watch the movie twice. Even still, if I watched the movie a third time, I’m sure I would uncover something new. Your Name‘s story is full of surprises that you can’t uncover from just reading a review or watching the movie once.
There isn’t much to complain about in the characters department either. Taki and Mitsuha are fairly average 17-year-old high school students in the springtime of their youth. They are easy to relate to, with simple habits and traits. The character design was on point with the setting of the movie, and I still love the string that both Mitsuha and Taki wear at one point or another during the movie. While they could have been explored more, we were able to get a good enough grasp of them as characters to satisfy the story. Thankfully, I was able to go see the movie in both English Sub and English Dub. Because of this, I am able to say that both the English and Japanese cast were superb.
Easily the best thing about this movie is the gorgeous animation and backdrops. Makoto Shinkai did an amazing job directing this film, and it definitely shows. The art itself is strong enough to evoke emotions, even in the smallest of scenes. The use of vivid colors, camera angles, and movement really put the location into perspective. As with the character design, the animation fits perfectly with the story this film was trying to tell. Every blur, flare, and particle help add an incredible depth to the setting and overall feel of the movie. After going to see Your Name three times, I still can’t find anything negative to say about the animation or the artwork.
Second only to the aforementioned animation, is the music. RADWIMPS did an amazing job with Your Name‘s soundtrack, in both versions of the movie. Instead of just using the same Japanese versions of their songs in the English Dub, they were so impacted while spending time in the states that they decided to re-record the entire soundtrack in full English. Not many movies or bands can say that they have done this, especially with the quality RADWIMPS has. If I had to nitpick something about the sound, it would be that a couple sound effects felt out of place and that they could have been better used like in Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale. This isn’t exactly a “negative” and the soundtrack easily makes up for this.
Easily one of the most enjoyable movies I have seen in a long time, Your Name could almost be considered a “perfect” movie. The characters are relatable, the setting is fresh, and the soundtrack fits perfectly with the feel of the movie. Not to mention the animation, which I believe to be some of the best we have seen in the last five years. I don’t think a single fan of anime or Japanese animation could sit through this movie and not be touched by either the story, music, or artwork. Makoto Shinkai and his staff deserve all the praise they have received in relation to this movie, and I can’t wait to see their next work.
Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) on MyAnimeList.