Yesterday, Hannah Heath and I went to see the anime Your Name. It was released in Japan in 2016 and it went over so well, they wisely decided to release it in the United States also. It got a whopping 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That, and the fact that it was about a body swap (a concept I’d always dreamed of experiencing or writing about) ultimately helped me in deciding to go. The trailer looked pretty too, so overall, I was pretty stoked. It should be a fairly good movie, right?
Wrong. Oh, I was so wrong.
It was AMAZING.
I put that word in caps because, unfortunately, some people underestimate this word’s meaning. Before I continue to rant, however, here’s the general storyline. It was pretty complex as there was a lot of time travel in addition to the slight confusion overall, so I’ll do my best.
Mitsuha and Taki are total strangers who live in very different places in Japan, but both of them start having very strange dreams. At least, they think it’s a dream, but after several times, they realize that they are swapping bodies and lives with each other each time they fall asleep. This goes on for some time, and the two quickly become friends in this unusual way, but all of the sudden, the swapping stops. Taki learns that Mitsuha’s town had been destroyed by a comet three years ago and so he discovers a way to breach the gap in time to warn Mitsuha before the comet strikes and kills her like it did in the future.
The overall idea wasn’t completely incomprehensible; by the time the movie was done, I understood the main gist and most of the details that served to support the plot. Your Name did a great job with the time travel, even though it will always baffle me. It’s a paradox humans love so much because we don’t understand it nor will ever experience it. You don’t realize that Taki and Mitsuha are three years apart till somewhere in the middle, and by that time you don’t think things could get any worse. Perhaps it’ll make you feel better to say yes, things actually get worse. BUT…
It had a happy ending. Even though it was very sad. I felt so emotionally involved with both Taki’s and Mitsuha’s characters, the suspense in saving the Mitsuha’s town, the deep friendship they had with each other, and how each of them had to go so far to finally meet up. My emotions were very scattered at the end, which is probably why I concluded that this movie was “sad and happy.” I think the thing that was so sad about it was that both Mitsuha and Taki never remembered each other’s names. When they woke up the night after, or after the magic hour, they are in their own bodies, forgetting everything that had happened the day before. Only the people in their lives will remember. And so, when they finally meet back in time, hours before the comet hits, they write each of their names on their hands so they won’t forget each other. Unfortunately, Taki wrote “I love you” and Mitsuha was barely able to make a mark before the magic hour ended.
I think their relationship was perfect. The beginning was humorous when both of them realize they are in a different body, in a different life, in a different place. But after watching it, I realized that this body swapping thing is probably the best way to ever get to know a person; you’re suddenly submerged into their lives. No wonder they’ll do anything they can to finally see each other. It was more like a deep, intimate friendship that would inevitably become romance.
A note on the anime art style: It was so gorgeous. It reminded me a lot of Your Lie in April. Everything was just so bright and cheerful and colorful. The thing I really liked about Your Name is that when expressing fear, anger, or any other extreme emotions, everything stays relatively realistic; no out of place sound effects or steam or a character suddenly becoming the devil surrounded by flames like some other manga and anime do. I think that’s an interesting technique, but to see an anime that doesn’t take on that effect kept the tone more serious and realistic (even when the plot was not) and so I liked that.
And so there’s that. I tried not to make the post seem too much like a review, as I don’t really have too many negative things to say, just a way of ranting to persuade YOU to see it if and when you can!!! What do you think? If you’ve seen it before, how’d ye like it? If not, bear in mind you’re missing out on something beautiful. Also, Hannah and I recorded a review of Your Name for Constant Collectible, so head on over there if you’re interested. Cheers!