Review: Your Name
One of Japan’s all-time highest earning pictures, Your Name is an unforgettable experience.
The story of two teenagers from very different parts of Japan, Your Name sees a girl named Mitsuha and a boy named Taki switch bodies when they sleep. After figuring out what is going on, they set a number of rules to keep their respective lives going before periodically switching back. In doing this, and leaving several notes for each other to help the adjustment back to daily life, they get to know one another. It all looks set to end in tragedy however, as a comet looks set to collide with Itomori, destroying the rural town and killing most of its inhabitants.
While Your Name has the usual body-swap humour that comes with this kind of story, the film is far more concerned with empathy and the connections that people can form with perfect strangers. The story is somewhat abstract in its presentation and the creators have left room for interpretation, which has led to a good deal of theories and conjecture as to what it all means.
Your Name is an unusually poignant movie. The story of two perfect strangers who manage to connect, and yet may find themselves torn apart from each other by wider forces, is one that resonates. Insights’ desire to avoid spoilers is such that going into more detail is difficult, suffice to say that the story opens up questions about chance, randomness, and the purpose of our lives. The film’s creator, Makoto Shinkai suggested in an interview that he made the film to help young people “believe in their future.”
Your Name’s visuals are constantly eye-catching, with some of the richest scenery ever featured in a Japanese animation. With the story switching between Tokyo and the rural town of Itomori. One of Your Name’s most startling features is the way that the artwork manages to so closely capture Tokyo, down to finite details. While Itomori is a fictional location, Your Name’s creative team manages to breathe enough life into it for it to seem authentic.
While Your Name is praiseworthy, it is not perfect. Shinkai has argued that Your Name is, “incomplete, unbalanced”, due to the need to complete the film within a two-year period. This is particularly noticeable in the film’s third act, where the denouement comes across as truncated. Even in this imperfect state, it is a startling work.
Your name is available on DVD, Blu Ray, and digital release
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor