Review of 'Your Name (Kimi no na wa)'

your_name.jpg I am a great fan of Makoto Shinkai, a leading light in contemporary Japanese Animation, so when I learned that his latest film “Your Name” would be premiering at the London Film Festival I could not resist attending. Even better, it was great to see the man himself before the screening as he answered some questions for the audience. The full house listened raptly to what Shinkai had to say then quietly appreciated the film itself…

Mitsuha is the daughter of the mayor of a small mountain town who lives with her sister and grandmother. Her grandmother's religious leanings mean that Mitsuha regularly is called on to perform Shinto rituals despite a distinct lack of interest. Taki is a high school boy living in Tokyo and working part-time in an Italian restaurant. A comet returns every three years and it is at this point that Taki wakes up to realize he is in Mitsuha's body (confirmed by repeated groping of “his” breasts) and Mitsuha wakes to realize she is in Taki's body (also confirmed by squeezing…er…). This happens a few times each week with the two leaving notes for each other written on their hands and arms. Taki begins to fall in love with the woman he changes places with so goes on a trip across the country to see if he can find her but is devastated at what he discovers…

Another masterpiece from Shinkai. The animation is superb (seriously, Miyazaki, stand aside!), the music is well-paced and wonderful (indeed, this was the topic of one of the questions posed before the screening), the characters are believable and the mature story is moving - Two young people living through love and loss in the face of tragedy. The visuals are truly incredible with the natural beauty of Mitsuha's rural village to the high-tech, high-speed reality of modern day Tokyo - It is all brought to vivid life on the screen. The colours and incredible detail make this a very real looking piece of art.

I do have to say I found the pace of the film is quite slow and I also found the scenes often repetitive - The points made are driven home again and again which got a bit wearing, additionally, a number of scenes seem to be there purely for aesthetics (granted, they are AMAZING aesthetics) and linger a trifle too long on the screen. Differing from his other films, Shinkai has managed to introduce a good amount of comedy here which is a welcome relief and was well received by the audience. The action-filled climax of the film is followed by a touching footnote that ties the whole film together in a satisfying way.

Really enjoyable, showing Shinkai's evolution as one of the best (if not THE best) animators alive.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2016-10-15

Directed by: Makoto Shinkai

Studio: Amuse

Year: 2016

Length: 106 minutes

Genre: Japanese Animation

Other reviewed films by Makoto Shinkai: