Once in a while I will watch an animated film that cannot be reviewed, just because it’s so damn good that you might not have the right words to appreciate it. The 2016 Japanese film ‘Your Name’ (Kimi no Na wa) directed by Makoto Shinkai is one such gem. I want to stab myself in the eye for watching it four years later, despite seeing the trailer all those years ago.
This Japanese film is about teenagers Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu, while the former is an aggressive Tokyo boy, Mitsuha is a soft-spoken country girl longing for a more exciting city life. In the trailer it’s pretty clear that the two of them randomly keep switching bodies. A concept that is not new in cinema. I really enjoyed watching the 2006 body-swapping Hollywood film ‘It’s a Boy Girl Thing’ as a teen. But unlike the American romantic-comedy, ‘Your Name’ despite being quite humorous in parts, makes for a very poignant and deeply emotional movie watching experience.
The story arc is brilliant. What starts off as a funny, light story about two teens swapping bodies randomly, soon evolves into a fantastical tale about love that transcends time & irrevocable tragedies. The movie has some delicious twists, you would savor some of the unexpectedness with all your heart.
What makes this film even more exceptional is the beautiful animation, some frames are like live moving paintings. Makoto Shinkai the director, who also wrote the story, says he was inspired by a town he visited in 2011. So a lot of scenes in the animated films are sketches inspired from real places in Japan, that gives the animated landscapes a touch of almost magical realism.
It’s no surprise that ‘Your Name’ went on to become the highest grossing animated film to be made in Japan. If you are an animation enthusiast like me and haven’t watched this film yet, you know what to do.