Director: Makoto Shinkai
Verdict: Nearly a masterpeice
WHY HAVN’T I GOTTEN INTO ANIME YET? WHY THE HELL NOT? If this movie is anything to go by I really should. I think I was probably put off by my ex’s obsession with Howl’s Moving Castle, but that’s all about to change.
Your Name is a body swap movie with a twist. It’s also a time travel movie with a twist, it’s also an apocalypse movie with a twist. Freaky Friday meets Looper meets Independence Day, except actually really good. Not that Looper isn’t good, it’s very good, but although there are terrible time travel movies I couldn’t think of one off the top of my head; sorry. You have a boy and a girl who dislike the lives they lead – one is a girl who lives as a daughter of an official in a secluded countryside hamlet- one is a classy, technology savy but beligerant city boy living in Tokyo. They start to swap bodies in their dreams and that’s not the weirdest it gets. To say anything more, I think, would definitely be to spoil the joys and secrets this movie holds.
This was actually the first film I watched in the new year. I’d said in my Year Round Up, (here), that this was one of the films I was really bummed about missing in 2016 so when I get on the plane home and see this as one of the few inflight selections not censored in some way, of course I lept at the chance to watch it because I have heard nothing but good things about Your Name. So, I am very pleased to report back that I loved it, and if I had my time again it would definitely slot right in there in my top 10, or 13 it would be I guess.
Where to even begin with this film? It adresses some really complex issues through its premise that a lot of these body swapping movies are playing too much to the cheap seats to even think of touching with a 6 foot barge pole. These are themes like gender body dysmorphia, and how tradition affects the way we see ourselves in the community and affects how we look at ourselves through our gender. One of the lovely things about this movie is that you begin to loose track of who is in whose body at which point, or rather, it stops becoming important, you stop thinking about it and you start to see them as one homogenous unit of gender singularity. The best thing is that that’s only there if you want to look for it, it’s not a surtext but it’s a very easy to do reading of the film.
It is absolutely beautifully animated. The more traditional animation is great but that at one point gives way to flowing surrealist watercolours, (I think watercolours), and it’s absolutely stunning. It has this sense of impending doom yet also joy and wonder and youthful frivolity. It captures so well what it is to be young and unsure of yourself in a way that speaks universily across cultures. It also has one of the most kick-ass soundtracks I’ve seen since Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
One tiny little flaw I’d say is that the film is not quite sure of it’s own lore, but then again neither was Looper and look how great that turned out to be. This film is sorrowful, mournful, heartbreaking, but also full of live and love and energy and passion. I can’t quite recommend it enough, it’s great.
I’m gonna wait for Akira to arrive, then I’m gonna watch that, then watch Ghost in the Shell before the remake, then I’ll start working my way through Death Note and Attack on Titan before the Adam Wingard, (You’re Next, The Guest), film; which I’m actually looking forward to; then the Studio Ghibli backcatalogue, I’ll rewatch Spirited Away because that’s always great. This could be the start of something folks. The director, Makoto Shinkai, (5 Centimetres Per Second), has been called the new Miyazaki, (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle), and I can really beleive it.
I would just like to take this chance to say; a few years ago IMDb upped the amount of votes needed for official placement on the top 250 from 3000 to 25000. Your Name currently stands at 8.7, easily enough for the highest ranks of IMDb, but only has 13000 votes. Watch, vote and share, so this movie can have that kind of recognition it deserves. It’s not the best film ever but it’s really good, and given its limited release in the UK and USA, stands a risk of being forgotten.