By now, many of the anime fanbase has seen the critically acclaimed Your Name, or Kimi no na wa as known in Japan, which will hit theaters in North America this April. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Makoto Shinkai, who was also responsible for directing the movie. From trailers and from what I read I’ve seen prior it’s Japanese release, I thought the concept of the movie was interesting, and it has caught my attention since then.
Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa)
Studio: CoMix Wave Films
Licensed by: FUNimation
Release Date: August 26, 2016 (Japan), April 7, 2017 (North America)
The movie introduces us to Mitsuha, a high school girl living in the fictional town of Itomori, who is tired of her life in the countryside and wishes to be a handsome Tokyo boy in her next life. Next thing we see Taki, a high school boy living in Tokyo, who wakes up and realizes that he is Mitsuha, who somehow switched bodies with Taki.
When both Mitsuha and Taki realized that they have switched bodies, they start communicating with each other by leaving notes on paper or leaving memos in each other's phones. As time goes on, they become used to the body swap and start intervening in each other's lives, like Mitsuha becoming more popular in school and Taki scoring a date with his female coworker, Miki Okudera
While the movie starts off comedic, it takes a more dramatic turn during the second half of the movie. After his unsuccessful date with Okudera, Taki decided to contact Mitsuha but failed. He later finds that they have stopped switching bodies and eventually decides to visit Mitsuha in her hometown in the Hida region, with no information of where she lives and relying solely on the sketches of the village's scenery he has drawn from memory. With no luck finding the place, he decides to go back to Tokyo, until a restaurant server recognizes the town in Taki's sketch as Itomori. He is then told what happened to Itomori three years ago, in which is when the movie takes its dramatic turn.
Your Name is kind of complex movie that will take more than one watch to fully understand. It took me watching the movie twice — both in Japanese and English, to fully understand it. There’s so much going on in the movie that just leaves you confused. Already understanding the movie because of my first watch, when watching it a second time, a lot of things started to make more sense to me, especially everything involving Mitsuha, such as her sake, rebirth and when they kept forgetting each other.
The animation was fantastic, as expected from CoMix Wave Films, who were responsible for animating 5 Centimeters Per Second back in 2007. It felt so vivid, and it was beautiful to look at, especially certain scenes with the meteor. It’s going to be a great experience watching it in theaters. Both voice work and soundtrack were nothing short of amazing, especially the vocal songs by RADWIMPS. It added so much dramatic effect that made certain scenes feel more powerful.
I also had the opportunity to watch the movie in English, which features an all-new English-language soundtrack created by RADWIMPS, who also were responsible for the original Japanese film soundtrack and score. I personally enjoyed the dub but the voices were a bit too soft for some of the characters, and just didn’t fit. As for the English soundtrack, while the original versions remain the best, RADWIMPS outdid themselves. Another thing is that with any translation, whether it’s anime or live action, the jokes, references, or language rules are lost in translation. Though it didn’t affect the movie too much.
Your Name was a great movie, but it wasn’t as good or sad as people publicized it to be. Coming from someone who shed tears when reading One Piece or even actual tearjerkers like Clannad, the movie didn’t affect me emotionally at all, though there were sad parts. Still, the concept presented in Your Name was unique and captivated me all the way through.
[This review is based on a commercial screening attended by the reviewer]
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