Written and Directed by Makoto Shinkai
Produced by CoMix Wave
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Release Date: August 26, 2016
Runtime: 107 minutes
Sub Version Available: Yes
Dub Version Available: Yes
Available on DVD/Blu-Ray and various streaming services.
What You Need To Know:
Your Name, stylized as your name. is an original anime film by acclaimed director Makoto Shinkai whose other work includes 5 Centimeters per second, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, and The Garden Of Words. As well as a number of successful shorts. your name. was produced by Noritaka Kawaguchi and Genki Kawamura with a soundtrack by the Radwimps. It is currently the highest grossing anime film of all time.
What You’ll Find Out:
Right from the opening frame of your name. it becomes clear that you’re in for a spectacle of animated beauty that’s a level above the norm. As a meteor races toward Earth, a piece breaks off and enters the atmosphere in a dazzling display of color and intensity that upon my first viewing I could only describe as breathtaking. Barely a moment later one of the narrators, Mitsuha Miyamizu remarks that the view is breathtaking. I knew then that I was exactly the sort of softie this movie was made for and I let myself fall wholeheartedly into a somewhat slice of life story that I would normally pass up.
One morning Mitsuha wakes up with no memory of the day before, over the course of the day she finds messages written in her notebook that ask “Who are you?”. Seemingly the next day, time moves strangely at certain points throughout this story but it’s intentional and effective, Mitsuha wakes up in the body of a boy named Taki that lives in Tokyo. This sets up the general narrative foundation of your name., at its heart, it’s just another entry in the tired body swap genre. But through extremely strong storytelling conventions and a clear sense of direction and point of view, Makoto devises very clever ways of keeping it interesting. Sure, a few moments are lowered by the traditional ground rules that are meant to be broken scenes such as “no touching” but it is a story about an adolescent boy and girl switching bodies after all. These scenes provide the brief moments of unnecessary fan service, thankfully there aren’t that many of them. This does however set up the running gag of Mitsuha’s sister Yotsuka continuously catching Taki grabbing Mitsuha’s breasts and reacting with judgment and disgust. I honestly wanted the joke to get old but Yotsuka consistently made me laugh.
Body swap drama aside, this is very much a story about myths, religion, and universal connections. Mitsuha’s grandmother, Hitoha is the head of the family shrine which makes her grandaughters shrine maidens. Shrine maidens are responsible for performing various rituals for the town’s prosperity and it’s through their education that we viewers receive some well-handled exposition. The world building of your name. is solid. Hitoha carries on the family tradition of weaving and explains that history lives in the thread, each one represents a union and the flow of time. This comes shortly after Taki learns the importance of Twilight/Golden Hour/Magic Hour, astoundingly we’ve been treated to an explosion of useful information without it coming across as too heavy-handed or a slog on the pacing. Bravo your name. For that matter practices of the Shinto religion aren’t something that I have much exposure to and as a member of the Western audience I found it to be one of the more fascinating aspects of the story. One of the rituals Mitsuha and Yotsuha perform is a ceremony that involves them spitting masticated rice into a vessel to be left to ferment and become a form of sake, certainly a unique plot device that I’ve never seen before.
Eventually, the swaps stop happening so Taki makes his first attempt at calling Mitsuha only to receive an out of cellular network response. He then gets on a train in search of Mitsuha’s hometown, whose name he never learned, with nothing more than a sketch of the landscape. Someone sees Taki’s sketch and he discovers that the town of Itomori was destroyed three years previously by a meteor.
I won’t spoil any further, the third act is steeped in myth and the meaning of unions and the cords that bind them. Memories fade and feelings are chased and it’s so very worth your time.
What Just Happened?
your name. vastly exceeded my expectations, I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d love this movie as much as I do. The art direction and color palette are so beautiful that I would happily hang any random frame on my wall, but most especially Mitsuha standing under the comet staring up at it. I find that to be one of the singularly most striking images I’ve ever seen. That’s definitely where most of the work went here, they were trying to make the prettiest movie possible and succeeded. On the few occasions where the story appears to fall flat or events perhaps too convenient, it’s made up for with the visuals and the Radwimps appropriate music. I feel that Makoto’s aim was to create a narrative cohesion with the music akin to FLCL and The Pillows but The Radwimps are not quite The Pillows and I think it fell rather short of the mark. All of that plus the ambition to make an entire sequence resemble pastel cave paintings with all of the perfect detail that had come before make your name. a visual event. I’d say my biggest complaint is that the romance felt forced, these people never meet or even learn that much about each other, they seriously only like each other because they switched bodies. I have a difficult time swallowing that kind of easy writing but in this case, it was forgiven because I simply could not look away. Does the story go where you think it will? Pretty much but it remains intriguing all the way through. Just like life, it isn’t about the end but how you get there.
Final Thought: When the credits rolled on your name. I found myself thinking about my own past relationships and truly understood that no matter how much they matter to you, memories still fade.
User Review( votes)