Do you ever get that feeling that somehow our memories, interactions, and futures with those around were already intertwined by the red string of fate? That now and then you get the sense of Deja Vu that this very moment already happened? And the people that we lost and those that we gained were stepping stones that built who we are today?
Kimi No Na Wa or Your Name in English is a Japanese Anime Film that perfectly captures the concept of time and the power of fate and how it turns simple love into something extraordinary.
Your Name was directed by Makoto Shinkai a legend who is known for his captivating romance Anime films with amazing animation and a unique story. The film was released on August 26, 2016, and instantly became famous all around the world being one of the few anime that reached western media at the time. Your Name won the LAFCA Animation Award in 2016 and the Best Animated Film in 2017 by Mainichi Film Awards. It also won the Grand Prize Award at the 20th Japan Media Arts Festival.
The plot of the movie follows Mitsuha Miyamizu, a high school girl living in the countryside of Japan who dreams to go to Tokyo, and Taki Tachibana a high school student in Tokyo who wants to pursue architecture. One day they both wake up to find that they switched bodies and are now living each other’s lives. As one phenomenon keeps happening after another, they pull on the strings of fate as they search for each other.
The story writing of the movie was around one of the best in any anime series or film up to this day. It played around the various environments of the 2 different characters and somehow managed to connect both settings in a way that made an impact both in the perceptions of the characters and the plot as a whole. They also played around with the concept of time and it can be seen when Taki eventually finds that Mitsuha’s hometown was already destroyed and it happened a long time ago but it felt like they were communicating in a period before the calamity happened. Some say that plot holes and leaving questions unanswered is not a good way to make a film especially a stand-alone one but Your Name used those questions in order to captivate the viewer into paying more attention and to discover it for themselves. Those questions also helped in giving the ending the legendary status it now has where in spite of answering all those plot holes, they ended in a massive cliffhanger which can give the viewer a rollercoaster of emotions which is what makes a great film. A great film does not only give out one specific feeling but drives the viewer crazy by making them feel different emotions in a single moment.
The characters were also phenomenal. The interactions between the characters throughout the movie carried their depth and impact on the show as a whole. Every character that was put in the spotlight had their own place in the show and helped in the flow of the events. The characters are also written so well that it’s easy for the viewers to be emotionally invested in both Taki and Mitsuha. You can even feel that you’re also paying attention to the side characters as they don’t become just puppets in the background but instead they also have a significant impact especially in the development of the main protagonists. The Character design was also one of the best that was present in 2016 and even up to this day. They used the principles of shapes in a character’s form and also used outfits and accessories which helps in displaying their personality.
In terms of animation, the movie became famous for it. Even though the town of Itamori was a fictional setting, they used real-life locations in the movie and used beautiful animation and art which enhanced the beauty of the world-building. The movie was also known for its amazing skies and lights. The animation also perfectly captured the emotional expressions of the characters making them look more realistic.
The voice acting was also great. The voices of the characters helped in setting the mood of the scene. They did a decent job in releasing the emotions the characters are supposed to feel. The most that stood out was the voice actors of Taki, Ryunosuke Kamiki and Mitsuha, Mone Kamishiraishi not because the one’s they’re voicing are main characters but how they performed so well that when they act in a dramatic manner they carry the whole scene and the dialogues become the center of attention.
The official soundtrack of Your Name by RADWIMPS might be one of the most iconic anime songs up to date. Every song present in the movie was breathtaking and can make any viewer have goosebumps just by listening to it. But the one most listened to is Sparkle. Sparkle was at the very climax of the movie and paired with its orchestral instrumentals had a huge impact on the overall feel of the event. It made the atmosphere change and enhanced the emotions the viewers were already feeling especially when the chorus hits. Kimi No Na Wa has one of the best soundtracks in any anime.
All in all, the production, story-writing, characters, art, and music of Your Name is one of the best in the anime industry. It used the concept of time and distance in a manner that can be rarely found in both live-action and animation films. In a short span of time, Your Name presented a story that was breathtaking and an ending that made viewers scream. Your Name showed that even though the heavens are in the way, through the red string of fate, love can find its way. Even if a decade passes, and you can’t remember the face of the one you’re looking for you just have that gut feeling that they’re close, and when Taki and Mitsuha finally look back and know that they found what was missing in their lives, as they ask that iconic question, the beauty of Your Name shined.