Makoto Shinkai’s 5 Centimeters per Second focused on a struggling love between two teenagers that lived hundreds of miles apart in suburban Japan. It was a story that showcased the longing that the two young ones had for each other, and the pain that came from the distance between them.
Kimi No Nawa (Your Name) has essentially the same kind of plot, however, it kicks things up a notch by including supernatural elements into the story. The lovers here aren’t just separated by distance; they’re separated by time, mortality, and the entire universe.
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The Movie Review
The story of Your Name starts out with two protagonists, both teenagers who are tired of the way their lives are. Mitsuha lives in a small town called Itomori. She wishes to live out her life and dreams in Tokyo. Whereas Taki is a young teenage boy living in Tokyo where he goes to school and in his spare time he does a job as a waiter to afford pocket money for himself.
One day, however, upon wishing on a star, they’re both granted the chance to swap bodies with each other. They live within each other’s clothes and lives, realizing the love they have for the different environments they’re in. The story then escalates into a huge event, which is both emotional and amazing at the same time.
Makoto Shinkai paints his film with a HUGE dose of color, with wide skylines and beautiful landscapes between scenes. The visual style in Your Name is untouchably beautiful, and that resonates with its story. A story of actual star-crossed lovers, living not just in different places but in a different time landscape altogether.
Taki is the more prominent character in the portion of the film, where his story is seemingly about searching for Mitsuha after realizing that the place she lived in got destroyed by an asteroid crashing upon it.
It’s a highly emotional rollercoaster ride that is painted with beauty, grace, and a ton of maturity that you could never expect from a romantic anime focused on teenagers. The ending of the film left me in tears; I can’t say why because that would be heading into spoiler territory but, man, was it emotional!
The characters here matter the most, and the characters that matter the most are the two protagonists and the relationship between them. Taki is constantly on the lookout for Mitsuha, whereas when Mitsuha finds out what happens to her town, it turns her entire arc into racing against time.
The film desperately keeps the two characters away from each other for most of its run time, so that when they finally do see each other, you feel an overwhelming wave of emotions within yourself! It’s a film that represents long-distance relationships even better than 5 Centimeters Per Second did, something that the Before Trilogy mastered but with more conversational stuff rather than the actual distance.
The artistic direction of your name is unlike anything else in the industry by far. It’s not just uniquely personal as a viewing experience; it’s so gorgeously animated and drawn that you can’t help but gawk at the screen for the entirety of its run time.
The characters wear casual clothing, but you can tell them apart just by their demeanor and their clothing itself. There is literally nothing special about the characters themselves, and that is what the art direction showcases too, they are normal people with normal human emotions.
The voice acting does a fantastic job of elevating our emotions even further, with some of the best Japanese voice acting you could find in any film out there.
Now for the best part about this film; the amazing soundtrack by Radwimps which shakes you to your absolute core! It’s a soundtrack that consists of multiple songs, the moment that Sparkle came on in the film I just broke.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Your Name is one of the most concretely personal, radically emotional, and breathtakingly beautiful works of art that you could ever experience. Makoto Shinkai’s Kimi No Nawa is the best homage to how far we as humans can go for the sake of those we love.
It’s a film with a heavy message that love is indeed something that can transcend space and time, and it does so with a story that you’ll never forget.