If you have been keeping taps, Makoto Shinkai’s latest flick Your Name is doing great business. The movie has become a cultural phenomenon in Japan and has created a legion of fans who attend multiple viewings and make pilgrimages to some of the landmarks made famous in the film. Your Name has grossed $197.5 million domestically since debuting in August 2016, becoming Japan’s second-highest-grossing film of all time. Fans are already calling Makoto Shinkai, the movie’s director, the successor of Hayao Miyazaki, whose Studio Ghibli created My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, the highest-grossing movie in Japan’s history.
So with all that fanfare I was excited enough to watch this movie and what made me more excited was the fact that this was a Makoto Shinkai’s movie. I’ve talked in the past about Makoto Shinkai and his films but this is different and to be honest, it really is a completely different Makoto Shinkai experience. Sure visually it is still a Makoto Shinkai film, with all those beautiful scenes and close shots of technology but fundamentally it is completely different.
The very first distinction which makes this movie different from others is its plot but it’s not just the plot but the way is showcased in the movie is so Not Makoto Shinkai’s style and it definitely isn’t something bad but surely something that credited to the massive success of this movie.
Mitsuha Miyamizu, a high school girl wants to live a life of a boy in the sparkling city of Tokyo as she becomes too tired of her traditional lifestyle in the countryside of Japan. Meanwhile, in the city, Taki Tachibana lives a busy life as a high school student while juggling his part-time job and hopes for a future in architecture.
One day, Mitsuha awakens in a room that is not her own and suddenly finds herself living the dream life in Tokyo—but in Taki’s body! Elsewhere, Taki finds himself living Mitsuha’s life in the humble countryside. In pursuit of an answer to this strange phenomenon, they begin to search for one another.
Your Name revolves around Mitsuha and Taki’s actions, which begin to have a dramatic impact on each other’s lives, weaving them into a fabric held together by fate and circumstance.
What makes it so amazing?
First of all, it is a Makoto Shinkai Movie so it was bound to get some steam. Secondly, the movie is just so beautiful that only the visuals alone would be enough to get you hooked. Lastly, it is directed to perfection. It is still many steps behind the magic, penetrating insights and profound humanity of the Japanese anime pantheon lead by Hayao Miyazaki and Mamoru Hosoda but whatever you have is surely and entertaining novelty.
Fine attention is given to the details and surely that doesn’t disappoint. For all its thematic complexities, there is plenty to laugh about too, from a recurrent gag about Taki being caught fondling “his” breasts while in the throes of a body swap, to the gentle teasings of Taki’s co-worker Ms. Okudera, who seems more attracted to the transposed Mitsuha than to any awkward boy. Teen audiences in search of a “relatable” love story will find this every bit as accessible as Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, while older viewers will delight in the way that archaic arts have become an integral part of 21st-century cinema.
I really liked Your Name but compared to his previous works this wasn’t that great but again that’s my perspective. Just watch it and experience all the vivid emotions the movie has to offer.