Review - 'Your Name.'
Your Name. came out of nowhere for me. I don't watch much anime, but I appreciate the medium and have enjoyed plenty of these types of films in the past, particularly Hayao Miyazaki's works. Makoto Shinkai's latest is a stunningly beautiful film with abundant heart and apart from a few implausibilities, it completely captivated me and I can't stop thinking about it.
The film tells the story of two teenagers, Taki and Mitsuha, who find themselves inexplicably switching between one anothers bodies every time they go to sleep. The two are at first shocked and frightened by what this could mean, but over time begin to appreciate and admire one another. When they finally decide that they want to meet with one another they are faced with a stunning revelation that could prove to be an insurmountable obstacle in their relationship.
I went in to this film knowing that it had been critically lauded, but due to my inexperience with the deeper corners of anime, I expected that I might not fall in love with it in quite the way everyone else had. I'm relieved to report that I was dreadfully wrong, this is easily one of my favorite films of the year, and easily the best animated film to come along in quite some time. Your Name. is emotionally moving and captivating in the ways it tells its unconventional story. You would think that a film about teens body swapping bodies would have an inclination towards comedy, but its really more of a drama and a love story with a subtle tinge of fantasy peppered throughout.
I loved the friendship/romance between the two lead characters and I fell in love with both Taki and Mitsuha. I wanted to see both of these characters succeed. There are so many areas where this film could have faltered with its characters, but they never seem inhuman or fake in any way.
Your Name. also manages to tap into that pleasant mystique that abounds in all Hayao Miyazaki's films, but doesn't ape their style. The world that Makoto Shinkai has crafted feels more human and real than most live-action dramas that I've seen in recent memory. There's such an attention to detail in this world that I would have gladly spent more time in it. The tone is also spot-on; it's melancholy, but also hopeful in all of the right places.
Also working in Your Name.'s favor are the voice actors along with the beautiful and emotionally affecting score. I watched the English dubbed version and was surprised by the fact that I never noticed any inconsistencies with the movements of characters mouths and the voiced dialogue. The score by Radwimps is subtle and hauntingly beautiful where it counts. There were times when I found myself lost in the sheer beauty of the music with the visuals.
Speaking of visuals, Your Name. is absolutely GORGEOUS. As I mentioned earlier, the attention to detail here is astonishing, and while I don't know how anime's are made, this looks like it had to have taken forever to animate and bring to life. The film also employs a rich color pallete that is constantly implementing those stunning magic hour hues.
My only complaints with Your Name. stem from the story taking one too many confusing plot turns. There's one big revolution in the mid-section of the film that absolutely works, but how the characters deal with said revelation drifts into implausibility. That said, the emotional heart of the film is never compromised by these decisions, which was key to my enjoyment.
Your Name. is an excellent film that leads with its heart and characters and expresses itself through a vastly detailed and alluring world. If you like anime even slightly, you owe it to yourself to watch this film, it's that good.