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Film Review: Your Name. (Kimi No Na Wa)

Written by sdsichero on Monday, November 14 2016 and posted in Reviews

Film Review: Your Name. (Kimi No Na Wa)

And you thought you had some awkward teenage body adjustment issues…

Your Name. (Kimi no Na wa in Japanese) also known written as "your name.", is a 2016 animated film by Makoto Shinkai (Voices of a Distant Star, The Garden of Words) that tells the tale of the worlds of two teenagers: Taki Tachibana (Ryunosuke Kamiki) and Mitsuha Miyamizu (Mone Kamishiraishi). Mitsuha lives in a shrine in a rural village and dreams of moving to the big city of Tokyo, unhappy with her life situation. Taki is somewhat of an unremarkable boy, though a talented artist, who enjoys time with his friends and works at an Italian restaurant. Each have a vague feeling of loss and a yearning to search for something though they know not what.

One day Taki wakes up and realizes things just aren't the same. It doesn't take long to see he has the body of a teenaged girl and the life that goes along with it. Of course he does one of the things a teenaged boy might do if he woke up in a girl's body… Then stumbles through the rest of the day living another person's life. We are then treated to a view of the other side, as Mitsuha wakes up in Taki's body and is somewhat elated as she is what she wanted to be in her next life: a boy in Tokyo. The switch doesn't last long though, as each wake up with no memory of what happened, but with the people around them confused as to what happened to them.

These switches happen randomly and cause a bit of chaos in each others lives. Eventually the two realize what is happening, that it is not just dreams they are having. They start keeping messages on their phones chronicling what they did so even though they don't remember it happening, they are not totally lost. Sometimes they work in favor for the other, other times not. One day, Taki decides to try contacting Mitsuha directly but is not successful. Oddly, the switching also stops. The desire to contact her grows, leading him on a journey to the area Mitsuha lived in, all the while his memories of her begin to fail him…

Oddly, Your Name. actually first showed in the USA at Anime Expo. It then went to Japanese theaters a couple of months later and stayed at #1 for nine weeks before being beaten out by a new Death Note film. The film then returned to #1 the next week and is currently at the top of the box office in its 12th week. The presentation that I viewed was during the Hawaii International Film Festival, the first showing in the US after its debut. It was presented with Japanese dialogue with English subtitles by FUNimation. The subtitles are clear, though sometimes disappear from the screen too quickly especially when translating both voiced dialogue and text on a mobile phone at the same time. FUNimation has announced they would have a wider theatrical release of Your Name, should you try to catch it?

The writer and director of the film, Makoto Shinkai has been called the next Miyazaki, and the popularity of this film strengthened this "nomination". I'm not sure if the comparison to Hayao Miyazaki is accurate for this film, as I'm not sure this would appeal to those under the tweenage years as so many of Miyazaki's films do. The film does have some beautiful visuals (including the signature Shinkai skies) though sometimes the frame rate could use some improvement. The soundrack is a departure from Shinkai's typical work, this time being more pop-styled.

Your Name. can largely be viewed as a comedy, as there are a lot of fun moments with the body switching themes. It never goes too overboard with the comedy though, as they mix in dramatic (small and large) moments throughout. As these characters inhabit each others lives, you get to experience their lives from an unusual viewpoint and grow to know them as their counterparts do. Though the characters are no angels, they never fall into being unlikable. The supporting characters, while not as fully rounded out as the main ones, are also entertaining and likable. Not exactly a slice-of-life story, you also get a dose of both science-fiction and supernatural in the tale. Add to that a measure of heartbreak and heart-warming and you get an entertaining movie. If you are looking to see a good animated movie, it would be absolutely be worthwhile remembering Your Name.



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About the Author - sdsichero

Sdsichero is Asian and he likes anime. He should write more articles.






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