Your Name by Makoto Shinkai (2016)

A film that approximately 1 in 7 Japanese citizens has seen, Your Name is the single highest grossing anime film of all time. Is it worth seeing?


Entertainment: 5/5

Intellect: 3/5

+1 for originality/genre-breaking

Overall: 9/10


Now, Your Name relies heavily on plot twists. So I’ll be lumping all my spoilers into one little section at the end. Feel free to skip it if you please.


The Good

Let’s see…

I love every single character.

I love the music.

I love the humor. The entire theater was absolutely dying of laughter at every single joke.

I loved the relationship. It actually felt organic, which is a rare sight in romances…

The animation is phenomenal. So phenomenal that it made me realize that the movie wasn’t as old as I’d thought: there’s no way that any movie before 2010 or so could have managed such detail.

At any given time, you have no idea what’s going to happen next.

I also absolutely loved their solution to the problem at the end. I always wondered how you could ever possibly convince someone you know the future without being able to tell them why, and how you could keep them from thinking you’re crazy. But that is a good idea.

One thing that I’ve noticed about great, entertaining animated films is that they always spend some time just focusing on the world around the characters. Like all the scenes of rain in The Lion King. Your Name does this a lot. There are entire songs in the soundtrack that play, uninterrupted by action or dialogue, over beautiful scenes in the movie. And they all hit home.

The plot, of course, is the best part (hence the separate spoiler section for this review). It’s the portion of the movie that earned the originality point. Every single tiny detail in the movie, no matter how much they look like “just scenery,” ties back together in the end in a very satisfying manner. The constant reference to “Katawaredoki” is possibly the best thread woven in throughout.

This movie is so moving that it makes me want to learn Japanese so that I can fully appreciate it. We watched the movie with English subtitles, but even the jokes (gendered verbs) and plot points (Katawaredoki) dependent on knowing the Japanese language weren’t lost on us.

The Bad



Now, the movie doesn’t really have a lot of intellect. While you’re watching it, it feels like it does. But leaving the theater, I realized I hadn’t actually learned a lesson that would stick with me. The movie is certainly mind-boggling and has strong themes, but there’s no inherent message.

So the movie doesn’t do everything, but it is flawless at what it does.

Spoiler Section

Well, I hate to brag but…

As soon as I saw the early scene, where Mitsuha grabs her boobs and says “so realistic,” I knew they’d switched bodies.

Also, when Taki woke up with tears, I knew that Mitsuha had died (though wasn’t sure how) because earlier she’d said “in my next life I want to be a boy in Tokyo.” The only thing that didn’t make sense to me was how she’d have a phone, since I’d assumed he was born after she died, and he was her reincarnation. That, of course, didn’t turn out to be true, but I’m still unnecessarily proud of myself for catching on. That’s the best part about mysteries, after all: guessing, being right, and feeling satisfied.

On a non-bragging note, I love how the comet both kills and connects people. By the end, you have no idea whether to view it as an antagonist or an ally.



And when you do, please see it in Japanese with subtitles. A lot of the movie’s humor and plot twists actually rely on the movie being in Japanese, and the subtitles aren’t that hard to follow.



Lead image via Wikipedia.

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