written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
It’s become a phenomenon in Japan and with the recent theatrical release stateside, Your Name. (yes, the period is part of the title) titled Kimi no na wa. ( 君の名は。) in Japan follow the lives of two high-schoolers, Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana, who find themselves in a freaky-friday-sorta-situation where they wake up in each other’s bodies.
Written and directed by Makoto Shinkain and based on his novel of the same name, it’s a tale as old as time as they say. While the premise isn’t the most original the execution is what left me intrigued from the first scene to the final. While the two initially believe they are both dreaming, it doesn’t take long for them to realize that this is actually happening and the two begin to enjoy their respective lives in eachother’s bodies. Taki is a city boy living in Tokyo while Mitsuha hails from Itomori, a small rural town.
Taki spends his days working part-time at an Italian restaurant, living a somewhat carefree life with his friends and seriously crushing on his senpai at work. Mitsuha juggles her duties as a shrine maiden while also being the daughter of the town’s mayor. Taki isn’t the most ambitious guy while Mitsuha craves the excitement of the big city. They both are missing something in their lives which unexpectedly gets filled when they begin switching. Mitsuha experiences the big city life while Taki has his world blown wide open living as Mitsuha, they both become very attached to eachother’s worlds.
As romance blossoms, the red string of fate trope plays a major role through the rest of the film. For those who don’t know the history behind it, it’s a popular myth in East Asian countries that surmise that the gods tie an invisible red chord connecting two people together as fated partners. Their love story is cute, despite being formulaic it does satisfy. I fell in love with both characters and genuinely cared about our two protagonists. When the big twist comes I gotta admit that I saw it a mile away, there were clues throughout the whole story and one thing I noticed about the cell phones is what solidified it for me.
Visually, this is hands down one of the most beautiful anime films I have seen. When it comes to artistic visuals and Japanese anime films, usually you think Hayao Miyazaki films… for me this was on Miyazaki levels of beauty. Your Name. was a treat for the senses, a gripping narrative with gorgeous visuals that will have you exploring a wide gamut of emotions. I laughed, I cried, I made that face that people make when something surprising happens.
This is a movie that you absolutely have to watch whether you’re a fan of anime or not. While some of the more obscure cultural references may be lost on some, it does manage to get the core story across. This is a very Japanese film and if you re familiar with the references you will gain much more from watching it than those not in the know. Still, it’s a great film and one that had my eyes leaking.