WARNING: THIS ARTICLE FEATURES SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE YOUR NAME, WHICH HAS NOT YET BEEN RELEASED.
As promised in my Anime Expo article, I will be talking about Makoto Shinkai’s new movie “your name”. I took some time to think about whether I wanted to write this in the first place; given that I have no one to talk about it with outside a select few thousand people who viewed it at Anime Expo with me, where I had the pleasure and the ability to watch it a month and a half before anyone else. But I decided that I really wanted to see what my own thoughts were like when jolted down given my single viewing and then hopefully compare them when the movie actually releases and I’m able to watch it over and over and over again. So, yes, there will be spoilers so only read if you’re morbidly curious about the movie itself.
One of the things I want to make immediate note of is the music. I didn’t know much about RADWIMPS but the trailers did more than enough to get me excited for the soundtrack. After hearing Shinkai state that he had been working with them for a year and a half (his own words) to make the soundtrack I realized exactly what kind of impact the soundtrack was supposed to have on the movie. All the songs had been crafted intricately to match the tone, the themes, and the big important moments.
When I get my hands on the movie again (which I will be buying and watching several more times), I’m going to look deeply at the lyrics of the songs and where they come into play since unfortunately it wasn’t possible for me to get the meaning or the exact words of all the songs since there were so many. There were indeed a lot of songs too; besides just one ending song that features a montage, “your name” used overlaid lyrical songs at several points in the movie which only enhanced the experience.
The characters are something I have to talk about as well. We’ll go one by one and then be done because there’s only two. Mitsuha Miyamizu is the “first” we get to see and we get to see her waking up in Taki Tachibana’s body. I really liked the idea of body swapping as it got to show off the talent of the voice actors as well as the personality of the characters. Even though it’s obvious, when a friend of a character says “you’re acting weird” to a body-swapped character it’s essentially characterization; you know the character usually acts one way and the way they’re acting now isn’t “normal”.
So seeing Mitsuha act like a shy, cute girl in Taki’s body gave the viewer an idea of both Mitsuha’s personality as well as Taki’s itself. The same can be said when we get to Taki as well. Mitsuha seemed to be plenty outgoing as well and even got Taki a date with a girl he had a crush on by showing off a “feminine” side, which apparently Taki had not shown before (as he might have not had one, or may have been too embarrassed to show it).
Beyond the body swap for Mitsuha we learn that she manages to hold herself together rather well despite being bullied by classmates for being the mayor’s daughter as well as being made fun of for having to do religious ceremonies in old-style garb. She still manages to make friends but seems to be non-confrontational, as when Taki takes over he kicks over a desk in her body and it causes gossip; Mitsuha is someone that wouldn’t do something like that.
She’s also determined, going to Tokyo just to meet with Taki because she felt like she had to meet him. And it was nearly on a whim. Then again, she was also sick of being in the country; she expresses interests in city life, cafes, and even moves to the city when she’s older. In many ways, her and Taki’s personalities are alike although there are differences in how they’re able to speak and how they behave towards those around them, in their own bodies and in each other’s bodies.
Taki, on the other hand, we see wake up in Mitsuha’s body and… immediately grope himself. This is a recurring joke throughout the movie and while it’s played for laughs, to me I imagine it’s also to show that Taki is an adolescent boy and also perverted. Even during the “one more chance” scene he gropes himself again.
He also likes to draw. He draws in Mitsuha’s body and he draws almost an entire diagram of her village to figure out where she is. He’s an impressive artist and I can’t quite remember if either he or Mitsuha had any motivation for jobs when they grew up but the inclusion of a hobby was a good choice for characterization even though it wasn’t played up. Having him work at a cafe as well was a good way to show off both his and Mitsuha’s personalities, insofar as showing off responsibility.
We also managed to see a tiny bit of Taki’s family life as his father (I believe) spoke to Mitsuha in Taki’s body quickly when she first woke up in his body. We also saw Mitsuha’s family life, which was more fleshed out as her father played a vital role in the plot as well as her grandmother. Mitsuha getting her father to evacuate the people was important as Taki brought up that he couldn’t convince her father because he wasn’t her yet she is able to convince her father because she knows herself better.
As for the story, I think the only issue that bugged me at all is why Mitsuha or Taki didn’t realize the time difference sooner. One of them would have surely seen a year marker somewhere. Unless I missed something, I’m not exactly sure how the time traveling worked. I’m glad Shinkai put something of a story interwoven with the character relationship this time; it felt like the best parts of “Children Who Chase Lost Voices” combined with his usual character relationships which I enjoyed. I don’t believe too much or too little attention was paid to one or another.
Of course, it was a little bit annoying to see Taki look everywhere for answers for where Mitsuha lived to find it only when he had “given up” but it’s not too unforgivable because it would make more sense for an older couple to remember the village rather than the general populace who remembers the event but probably doesn’t have a clue as to what the village that was destroyed actually looks like.
As for the explanation of the body swapping thing and the time travel itself, “musubi” seems to be a perfectly fine explanation. Shinkai stated that he didn’t believe there needed to be a reason for the body swapping to occur, that it should be mystical. Although, of course, there was the grandmother speaking of “musubi” constantly and how it made up the spirit of all. It gave good explanation as to how Taki was able to “go back” as well, as he drank part of Mitsuha’s soul and essentially bonded them together (in a spiritual sense and possibly a romantic sense).
Then there’s the ending. It was really entertaining to watch that ending in a room full of people who knew what Shinkai films were. Them passing on a path, in the trains, and finally searching each other out and ending the film with them saying “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” was beautiful. Shinkai decided we finally deserved a happier ending and boy he sure as hell teased it out of us.
I don’t know if I even need to say it but the art was gorgeous. Some of the scenes had my jaw drop from the ability that Comix Wave has as a studio. At the bare minimum you should be expecting a gorgeous film from them but this time we had an amazing looking film with what I believe was a good story and good characters. I’m definitely going to have to watch it again before I decide how far up on the list it is but I’m sure it’ll be an instant favorite for some.
For the time being I’m rating the movie a 9/10 because there were maybe one or two things I had some issues with but overall I was in love with the movie and it made me cry which is not something I do often for shows or movies. I really hope we’re able to get the movie soon as I’d love to watch it again even now. I can’t wait to see what other people think about it so I can actually discuss it openly.
Hope you all enjoyed reading my thoughts on the movie. I may update this in the future or I may make an entirely new post when I can really focus on the movie and I’m able to freak out about it all over again. As always, thanks for reading.