Director: Makoto Shinkai
Running Time: 107mins
Your Name follows the lives of two unconnected Japanese youngsters as they go about their daily lives only to be turned upside-down by the fact that they get transported into each other’s bodies when they dream. Mitsuha is a high school girl living in the small mountainside town of Itomori and Taki is a high school boy from Tokyo. The presence of a mystical comet Tiamat, only seen every 1200 years, seems to be the catalyst for these magical occurrences happening and the film revolves around the appearance of this heavenly object.
From the very start you are met with humour and this carries on throughout the film, nice little moments that repeat and invoke the same reaction every time without feeling overdone. There is little explanation as to why they swap bodies, leaving you to try to work out what has gone on in their absence as their friends and family tell them all about their previous days strange behaviour.
Once we settle into the story it is hard not to grow to like both of the characters as they interfere and attempt to improve the lives of their counterpart, unbeknownst and unrequested by them. Passing messages to each other by leaving diary entries, writing in notebooks and scrawling on body parts is a wonderfully inventive way to keep each other updated with their goings-on and only serves to increase the interaction between the two, if it doesn’t always feel like they are helping each other but rather trying to sabotage how their live was set up before all this started.
The story itself follows an arc that for the majority of the film is part and parcel of what you would expect from a body swap film, however it is when it takes a sharp detour from this path that your emotions take a real hit. Completely invested in the developing intertwined lives of Taki and Mitsuha the blow is truly felt and you are left wondering and hoping on how this film is going to finish.
The animation is amazing and it is refreshing to see the more traditional style on the big screen after the more common CGI versions, as good as they are. The contrast between the anime-style of the characters and the breathtaking background and scenery is just wonderful to see, making almost every scene worthwhile of taking more time to experience it properly. Added to the visuals is a fantastic score and soundtrack that perfectly emphasises and heightens the action on the screen, moving from more traditional to high energy J-pop/rock and it fits with the characters so well.
I cannot praise this film high enough. A wonderful story, and told in such a fantastic way on top of humour and real vested interest in the outcome of the two main characters means that this film stays with you. It was fantastic to see this on the big screen and if you get the chance you should take it.