Okay, so I’m hopping on the anime bandwagon with this one, sorry, but it’s gotta be done.
Kimi No Na Wa has been making HUGE waves ever since its premiere in Japan, in July of 2016. From that beginning, it’s outdone the Miyazaki classic, Spirited Away, to become the most profitable anime movie of all time. On top of this, it boasts essentially universal critical acclaim, from basically anyone you ask.
Moving over to America on April 7th in theaters across the country, Your Name continued to receive buckets of positive reception, from critics of all kinds, and as of this moment, is still out in theaters. But really, how good can it be? An independent anime film, in actual Western theaters? It can’t be THAT good?
…I’ll be honest here, this review is just a chance for me to say how DAMN good Your Name is. There will be no spoilers in this review, for those who happen to not know about the movie themselves! That said, let’s get to it.
1. Story: (9.3/10): Exceptional
The story of Your Name is wonderful in how well it emphasizes the importance of the relationships between characters, yet also provides room for a huge amount of unpredictability in regards to plot, allowing for a huge emotional rollercoaster.
Your Name centers around the lives of rural schoolgirl, Mitsuha Miyamizu, and Tokyo high school student, Taki Tachibana, who, through some odd happening of fate, find each other exchanging bodies intermittently. For whatever reason, they end up stuck in this odd situation, communicating to each other through messages they leave for each other, trying not to screw each other’s lives up TOO bad. However, such a situation can only go on so long before they ask the obvious question: why is this happening? And how? Just who is this person, whose life they are living?
The story of Your Name is hugely focused on the relationships that are formed, the intricacies, ins and outs, of the lives that Mitsuha and Taki learn about through this situation. These relationships are what give the story meaning, what gives it tension, and what makes it so emotionally thrilling. That being said, however, Your Name’s story goes a LOT further than that.
Your Name has its fair share of plot twists and revelations, that take you through a huge rollercoaster of every emotion under the sun. Dread, sadness, happiness, anger, tenderness, all of it is encompassed in the story of Mitsuha and Taki, and the surprisingly grim circumstances of how their situation came to be.
The story of Your Name raises the stakes, to a degree one would not expect from what seems to be a purely tender, slice-of-life drama movie. Yet through it all, does not lose its focus on the relationships that give it meaning in the first place.
2. Characters: (8.7/10): Great
The characters are not the MOST developed in the world, but they have personality, and do their jobs very well in regards to the message of the movie.
I’ve gotta say, the characters of Your Name are probably the weakest part of the movie: but by NO MEANS does that mean they are bad. Mitsuha and Taki do their jobs as the main protagonists marvelously, both likable, understandable characters in their own way. The people in their lives, their friends, are characters that come to be understood, and sympathized with as the movie goes on, and ultimately, the dynamics that these characters have just feel real, thanks to some pretty good writing.
We don’t get to know too much about the histories of Mitsuha and Taki, which is honestly kind of a shame in regards to character development, but that’s not the focus of Your Name. The movie makes it clear that the growing relationship, and the odd circumstances that connect the two young adults are the focus, and in that way, they are portrayed perfectly. Their personalities are established, with Mitsuha being the more shy, reserved, “keep your head down” kind of a girl, and Taki being more headstrong, easily angered, yet kind, and what’s great to see is how organically and genuinely they seem to grow with each other.
We don’t get much history behind their friends, families, or personal backstories, but what we DO get is a flourishing web of personal connections. It’s clear that both Mitsuha and Taki have their own lifelong friends, but the impact that they ultimately have on each other’s lives- and the growth of that distant, yet intimate relationship, is a joy to see unfold. So in that, the characters of Your Name do a fantastic job, of conveying the emotion of the story.
3. Art/Style: (9.6/10): Exceptional
Here, is where Your Name absolutely excels, in almost every way.
Everything from the art, to the music, the the cinematography, to the voice acting was done phenomenally. It was a beautiful movie on all fronts: with smooth animation, panning shots of the sky, of forests, of the city, that look fantastic, it’s hard to argue that Your Name, at the very least, didn’t look great. Taking inspiration from the colorful landscapes of Tokyo, Your Name provides some exceedingly pretty backdrops, even in scenes where those backdrops are not the focus. That being said, however, it is FAR more than just pretty.
I rarely comment on this for any anime, but the cinematography, the planning of every shot is actually great. If you’re focusing on an emotional moment, you get a clear focus on the character in question, the music is soft and tender to complement it, while for a more intense moment, the camera angle emphasizes the movement of the character, with similarly fast-paced music. The way in which the camera supports the actual tone of the scene is VERY evident in the movie.
Okay, I’m not a film major, nor am I extremely elegant with my words, so it’s really hard to describe it. But take my word for it. The cinematic excellence of Your Name cannot be denied.
Basically, all together, Your Name’s artistic and cinematic style is exceptional at conveying emotion. The tension of a moment is compounded upon by music, the comedic effect, by the camera angle, and the shocking moments, by jarring shifts in perspective. Your Name is very intentional about how it is constructed, allowing for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
4. Personal Enjoyment: (9.5/10): Exceptional
There are two thoughts I’d like to leave off on.
First, Kimi No Na Wa provided perhaps the most tension I’ve ever felt watching an anime. The plot twists weren’t predictable, the fate of the main characters and their relationship was up in the air for a while, and the final destination was never clear. Because of exceptional character building, and plain likable character design, it becomes easy to root for both Mitsuha and Taki, allowing their struggles to become important to you as the viewer, in a relatively short time. It was great!
Second, I remember seeing a tweet, I don’t know where, about how Your Name brought up almost any imaginable emotion, and I remember thinking “how is that possible? No way.” Well, having watched the movie now, I can attest to that, that Your Name can certainly elicits many emotions, from despair, to happy contentment, and everything in between. Everything is quality. From the comedic moments, to the huge dramatic reveals, Your Name did a FANTASTIC job at tying it all together, for an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.
So, overall, this movie definitely lives up to the hype.
Final Rating: (9.275/10)-Exceptional
- Let’s be honest, it’s a damn good, emotional rollercoaster of a movie, just go watch it.
- Just be prepared for a bit of a slow start.
- If you don’t usually watch anime/are familiar with Japanese humor, some jokes may go over your head.
- You’re appreciative of a good story.