Your Name review: A reflection on youth, love, and finding yourself, Your Name will be mentioned in the same breath as the best work of Hayao Miyazaki.
Your Name review by Luke Ryan Baldock, LFF 2016.
Your Name has already set Japan’s box office on fire. Having taken in over 10 billion yen and becoming the fifth highest grossing anime in history. For a non-Studio Ghibli/non-franchise film, that’s certainly something to marvel at, and also cements director Makoto Shinkai as a terrific visionary, following on from his previous efforts 5 Centimetres Per Second and Journey to Agartha. As it arrives at the London Film Festival, it is now the first animated feature to play in competition, and the hype is definitely deserved.
The film begins as a body-swap comedy, seeing teenagers Taki (Ryunosuke Kamiki) and Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi) switching places. Taki is a student in Tokyo, working a job after classes, while Mitsuha lives the quiet country life. The pair switch places while they sleep, awakening in each other’s bodies only to arise the next day back in their own body considering the previous day as a dream only to discover that friends and family noted their odd behaviour from the day before. It leads to much effective comedy brilliantly told as sometimes we see their actions while in the other’s body, and other times we see them the next day piecing together what happened.
Outside of comedy though, and what sets this apart from other body-swap films, is that the pair develop a distant connection as they must try and keep the other’s life in order. This soon develops where each one takes chances to encourage the other to take chances and make changes in their life, helped out by leaving diary clues as to what happened.The humour is simple but delivered well, such as each character getting used to their new body parts, or side characters reacting to their personalities.
The second half takes a dramatic turn, that shant be ruined here, but involves a plot twist that is harrowing before turning into a journey of hope. With a predictable romance blossoming, it avoids mawkishness with charm and its sincerity. Both characters are well written, clearly developing through their switches. Taki gets to experience a quieter life by taking part in country rituals during a festival, while Mitsuha embraces the expensive and energetic life of the city.
In terms of animation, the film is quite simply gorgeous. Every frame is a painting of ingenious colour and striking lighting. Whether it’s the movement of the protagonists, breathtaking vistas, or creative dream sequences, the medium has been well selected as it’s able to capture the brightness and hope of youth as well as maturity and grandeur. The story, when it wants to move at a faster pace, employs the music and original songs of Radwimps, again capturing youth and maturity for this stunning coming of age tale.
Your Name deserves all the recognition it has been receiving and then some. It is, without a hint of hyperbole, one of the greatest anime ever produced. With gorgeous art, compelling characters, tragedy, humour, sci-fi and romance, Shinkai proves himself to be a master of all trades. Your Name isn’t just a wonderful experience, but a magical escape into an inspiring tale. A reflection on youth, love, and finding yourself, Your Name will be mentioned in the same breath as the best work of Hayao Miyazaki, in spite of it’s unique tone and Shinkai’s individual voice.
Your Name review by Luke Ryan Baldock, October 2016.
Your Name’s three LFF screenings are already Sold Out, but it will be released on 18th November in the UK.