‘Your Name’ (君の名は。”Kimi no na Wa.”) starts out in a very typical fashion – a boy and girl find out that they’ve switched bodies. It takes the better part of the first act for them to realise that they aren’t dreaming and that they’ve really taken control of each other’s bodies. Rather than do dumb stuff, like the genre expects them to, they help each other out in their respective lives, leaving notes and updates on their phones. The ‘why’ is irrelevant – all we need to know is that it has something to do with a meteor.
Pegged as a fantasy/drama, this is one of the few movies that excels at what it does: storytelling. It’s built beautifully, crafted lovingly from start to finish, with so much detail going into the story, characterisation and animation. Also, it was a huge deal in Japan, being the highest grossing film of 2016, and the highest grossing anime film of all time worldwide, passing “Spirited Away” (which has held the record from 2001).
I’d just like to take a moment here to tell you, dear reader, that you should watch this movie. It sounds like a typical slice-of-life movie, and yes, it is, but it’s also so much more than that. The fantasy and drama blend together in a surprisingly relatable mix of melancholy and emotion. Ideas of disconnect and dissonance are explored and explored to good effect. But if you aren’t going to watch it for the story, watch it for the animation – it is close to two hours of sheer amazement and exceptional animation from exquisitely the drawn mountains, rivers, lakes and craters of the fictional town of Itomori, to the sights and skyscrapers of Tokyo – and, of course, the ever-amazing anime food.
I won’t reveal much in terms of the story, save for the fact that it takes about forty minutes for the story to really kick in (so, hold on through the sometimes clunky first act), and then it’s pretty much a roller-coaster of emotions that end in a weepy, glorious climax. But please, if you love animated movies, either western, eastern, or both, do yourself a favour and watch this movie.
“Your Name.” rating: