Your Name (Kimi no Na wa / 君の名は) is honestly one of the best Japanese movies I’ve seen – ever. It is engaging, funny, clever, interesting and brilliantly animated – just about everything you could want from a film. It’s no wonder writer and director Makoto Shinkai (新海 誠) has been dubbed the new Miyazaki and this film is tipped for an Oscar!
Your Name is a sweet and quirky young adult fantasy anime, which tells the story of high school students Mitsuha and Taki. Mitsuha lives in the small rural (fictional) town of Itomori in Gifu Prefecture and longs to leave for somewhere more exciting, even praying whist performing her Shinto duties, “Please make me a handsome Tokyo boy in my next life!”. Clearly no one ever warned Mitsuha to be careful what she wishes for, and suddenly she finds herself waking up in the body of Tokyo boy Taki. Taki, in turn, suddenly finds himself waking up in Mitsuha’s body, and from there on much amusing and confusing body swapping takes place. Mitsuha and Taki start to leave each other notes in a bid to communicate, and eventually it all comes to sudden stop. Taki tries desperately to get in touch with Mitsuha, even jumping on a train and heading to Itomori, but when he gets there he finds Itomori was destroyed by a comet three years previously…
I won’t spoil it for you – go and watch this film as soon as you have the chance! As well as the incredible story and beautiful animation, Your Name has a great soundtrack by Radwimps featuring some really good music. Do try to watch the film in its original Japanese if you can and especially if you understand Japanese. There are some really great parts of the movie where language is played with, and I surprised myself by getting the humour a lot more than I usually do with Japanese films. More than anything, if you love Japan even half as much as I do, you’ll fall in love with the look of this film. Everything from the hills and shrines of Gifu to the skyscrapers of Tokyo is perfectly drawn and almost photo-realistic at times – it’s gorgeous! I felt very ‘homesick’ for Japan as I watched this film, with even the tiny things like the sound of the trains tugging on my heartstrings. Although Itomori is a fictional town, the film does include a number of real landmarks, and I for one would certainly love to visit them!
I hope Your Name does win the awards it deserves. It has been incredibly successful in the box office so far – let’s hope its success continues. The DVD release date hasn’t been announced yet, but I know this is one I will definitely be pre-ordering!
I’ll just finish with a quick note to say that I will be offline for about a month now as I go and explore some other countries. As much as I wish I was holidaying in Japan, this year I will be taking a look at some other parts of Asia – Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Eventually I’ll upload some photos from my adventures on Flickr, but knowing how long it usually takes me I can’t say when that will be! I’ll be back posting about Japan once I return to the UK, so I’ll see you sometimes around Christmas or the New Year!