I am addicted to this gorgeous movie. I watched it two times in a row when released, watched it again when released in English (the dub version is awful), and listened to the entire album for months. Now here I am watching it again to write the review for the 50 Top Romantic Movies of All Time.
Mitsuha Miyamizu, a 17 years old daughter of the mayor, doesn’t like the town she lives in, she criticizes its small, its suffocating, trains come in every two hours, no bookstore, no café, no dentist, can’t get a job, can’t get married, I want to graduate and go to Tokyo. Thereafter, she begins to have strange dreams in which she becomes a young boy living in Tokyo by the name of Taki, enjoying city life and attending high school. Vice versa, with Taki in Mitsuha’s body, he starts his day by doing things that every teenager would do when they are in girls’ bodies.
Soon, both realize it’s not just a lifelike dream; the other person, in fact, a real person, both are swapping bodies via their dreams. For some reason, most of their memories fade away when they switch back to their bodies. Both communicate by making notes on their phones. If you thought Makoto Shinkai (writer and director of “Your Name”) has only plot lines of switching bodies, loveable and humorous moments happen with it, You would be wrong. “Your Name” takes an unforeseeable path, dark and heartfelt twists.
Writer and director Makoto Shinkai, known for his perfectly blending fantasy and romance genre with beautiful animation with his previous works like “5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)”, “The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004),” and “Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011).” With the masterpiece “Your Name,” he surpassed everything he did. You can also say it’s a bit sci-fi because of the time travel. The film draws your attention from the start with its unique plot and delightful comedy. The romance between two people separated by distance but connected through feelings told with uniquely body-swapping is refreshing, heart touching, and entertaining.
The foreshadowing, plot twists, characterization within 112min are brilliantly written. The movie is flooded with Japanese cultural references and anime filmmaking style. If you’re new to anime (check this list: 15 Short Anime Series), your experience may vary from the otaku. And also, some easter eggs like the teacher at Mitsuha’s school, Ms. Yuki, is Yukari Yukino, the heroine from Makoto Shinkai’s previous film “The Garden of Words (2013).” It’s hard to find a dull or unnecessary scene in the movie, the tight and captivating screenplay and charming, memorable scenes amazingly crafted until the end by Makoto Shinkai.
Quote from Your Name (2016) “Every so often, when I wake up in the morning, I find myself crying; I can never remember the dream I must have had. But the sensation that I’ve lost something lingers for a long time after I wake up. I am always searching for something or someone.”
“Your Name” strength resides in the musical score and songs composed by Radwimps. The score and songs are an integral part of the movie; they convey a sad/happy/melancholy atmosphere. From the opening song Yumetourou to the ending song Nandemonaiya they have their own story, and the lyrics support the plot. Perfect sound editing and song placement with flawless mixing that blends in the background and rises when needed.
The voice actors are absolutely remarkable, from changing the voice tone when they shift bodies to emotional dialogues. Of course, this all ruined in English dubbed version from songs to voice acting. Watch the original subbed version for a fantastic experience.
In my recent review of “Malcolm and Marie (2021),” I criticized that it prefers presentation over representation ……., “Your Name” is a perfect example of balancing and mixing the substance and style. It stylishly looks, sounds, and feels connecting the material and characters. Word beautiful is undervalued here; in fact, for me describing cinematography, images of anime are hard; from “Spirited Away” to the recent “Violet Evergarden,” most of them are outstanding with details, lighting, colors, and many not only for stunning looks, but they also have importance to it. This can easily be found in Makoto Shinkai movies, especially in “Your Name” and “Weathering With” (we discuss this movie later). The little details represent the story, the gestures representing the character and their personality, how everything is presented on screen is simply remarkable in “Your Name.”
Where there is an international success, Hollywood greedy studios are there to ruin it by making live-action remakes, as they did with “Death Note,” “Ghost in the Shell.” It’s sad Hollywood laid its cunning eyes on this film.
Conclusion: The tight production period and constraint budget didn’t stop Makoto Shinkai from making “Your Name” a landmark film. The rich composition of beautiful scenery in every frame, heart-warming soundtrack, brilliant storytelling, and heartfelt, unforgettable scenes evoke feelings and emotions—my rating 9/10.
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Cast: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryo Narita
Genre: Anime, Romance, Drama, Fantasy
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