Director: Makoto Shinkai
Starring: Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryô Narita, Aoi Yuki, Nobunaga Shimazaki
Two high school kids who’ve never met – city boy Taki and country girl Mitsuha – are united through their dreams. (Source: IMDb)
With fans of Japanese animation currently locked in a tumultuous will-he-or-won’t-he saga over legendary Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement from animation giants Studio Ghibli, many are searching for the heir apparent, and the next great director of the anime film world. Enter Makoto Shinkai, who with the achingly beautiful Your Name, could just be the one to step up to the plate, and it seems perhaps only a matter of time before Ghibli snap him up for themselves.
The IMDb description does no justice to the film’s story, and if it sounds a little run-of-the-mill, then think again, because Your Name has so much more to offer than first meets the eye. It is a body-swap romance of sorts, but when told in the sweepingly sumptuous animation style as seen here, it becomes an ethereal, out of body experience that is impossible not to get caught up in. There’s romance and a deftly light touch of humour, but there’s also fantasy elements, drama, and a turning point in the story so beautiful that it’ll reduce you to a sobbing mess. To spoil any details of the story would be a crime, and like so many of Miyazaki’s greats, you just have to let the film wash over you, consume you, and completely immerse yourself in it, knowing as little as possible.
Visually this film is absolute perfection, the animation is gorgeous, and each frame is like a work of art. It is a perfect accompaniment to the beautiful plot as well, which ebbs and flows like a stream of sheer masterful story-telling. It is unique and wonderful, a relentless attack on your “feels”, and quite simply, glorious.
The voice cast are wonderful; Ryûnosuke Kamiki (Taki) and Mone Kamishiraishi (Mitsuha) have a wonderful chemistry, and in roles which are surprisingly complex, they provide the humour, emotion, and authenticity that is required to make the characters so compelling.
There’s nothing really bad about this film, however the score was a little distracting in places. At times it was utterly gorgeous, but when it veered a little too heavily into “young adult anime” territory, it was somewhat distracting from the absolutely breath-taking visuals.
I saw this movie and you should too. Whilst few can match the masterful direction of Miyazaki, Makoto Shinkai has created something truly wonderful here, and could very well be the next great of Japanese animation. Your Name is an incredible, fantastical, and very accessible romantic drama, with gorgeous visuals, a perfect voice cast, and a story which will take you places you could only dream of, rip your heart out and deliver one of the most heartfelt and moving stories you’ll see all year. Your Name is an absolute must-see, and one of the most beautiful films of 2016, go and see it!
Agree with everything I’ve said or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below!