Your Name, the body switching, science fiction, teenage drama that took the anime world by storm last year is finally out in US theaters. As both fan of the genre and director Makoto Shinkai, I can say that Your Name has indeed exceeded my expectations and deserves all the praise it’s receiving.
Your Name takes us back and forth between the lives of Taki and Mitsuha, the former residing in Tokyo and the latter in a mountainous small town. Both environments are filled to the brim with Shinkai’s lush scenery and attention to detail. Just as all of his work is a marvel to look at, Your Name also explores Shinkai’s familiar themes of distance, longing and wistfulness. Throughout the film, I kept hearing echoes of issues explored in Shinkai’s breakthrough short Voice of a Distant Star— a great place to dive into Shinkai’s work for feeling inspired after the Your Name.
There is a sense of balance that lets the film explore it’s dramatic side while firmly keeping its characters and story with the lightness associated with adolescence and high school. A good bit of the film is dedicated to establishing humor and levity between our two leads, the people they interact with daily and how they all react to the body-switching premise. Entertaining, sure, but this also serves as a foundation to make the film’s later, headier ‘musings’ about fate more digestible and meaningful. As the film comes to its last part and coda, the groundwork from this setup will have many surprised at just how invested they are with the characters.
Ultimately, Your Name is a huge step in the right direction for both director Shinkai and the medium as a whole. The film may feel overlong near its last bits, maybe a little overly sentimental too, but it remains solidly entertaining through and through. The more recognition it gets the more people will begin to see the viability of anime as a medium to tell great stories. Maybe not that big of an effect, but the afterglow Your Name leaves can’t be denied.
Director: Makoto Shinkai
- Yes, I’d definitely feel them too.
- I’d pass on that sake though
- The Girl Who Slept Through Time