“Treasure the experience. Dreams fade away after you wake up.”
When it comes to anime movies, I think I’ve got a type. It’s got to have a dash of magical realism, at least a little bit of romance, and set in a small town. The last part is important, as small town settings immediately evoke a sense of comfort and nostalgia, while also allowing for a hint of mystery. Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name.), which is apparently one of Makoto Shinkai’s most favorable films yet, spends half its time in the bustling city of Tokyo and the other half in the mountain village of Itomori. As you may have guessed, the story follows the lives of two high schoolers: Taki, the city boy, and Mitsuha, the country girl who wishes to someday leave her family shrine. Mysteriously when they dream, the two switch bodies and take turns living out the other’s daily life. They quickly develop a quirky, yet heartwarming bond as they leave messages behind for each other to read.
Through the fantastical elements, city/town settings, desperate second chances, and various other beats (which I’ll refrain from spoiling), Makoto Shinkai’s eye candy of a film closely mirrors one of my favorite anime of 2016, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (Erased). However, Kimi no Na wa. focuses more on drama and the journey of life and refrains from any sort of serious thriller arcs. That’s not to say that the film only plays one note and one note well. Within 106 minutes of beautiful art, the film masterfully juggles genres ranging from fantasy to a bit of sci-fi. It excels in its animation, harmonizing well with its flawless storytelling. With top-notch animation and music, the characters come to life, more so than your run-of-the-mill live action movie, with chemistry that’s incredibly addicting and fulfilling to watch. Never have I ever wanted to see two characters get together as badly as I did for Mitsuha and Taki. I felt like a little girl throughout the whole second half as I was pulling for them to find each other. For them to freaking kiss already. Hey now, don’t judge.
The youth drama has the perfect balance of tragedy, romance, and even some comedy. And judging from its profit, people around the world agree. In Japan, it is currently the fourth highest-grossing film of all time. It’s also the highest-grossing Japanese film in China and Thailand, and it was number-one during its opening days in South Korea, which is a pretty rare feat for a Japanese animation.
The ending of the film may be typical and easy to predict for some, but I can argue that it’s fully encapsulating while also leaving viewers wanting more. Thankfully, Makoto Shinkai has many other films which touch upon similar themes and genres that I have yet to see. Hopefully they’ll be able to stand up against the director’s latest and greatest.
Evil Twin rating: 5
Good Twin rating: TBD
Overall Rating: 5/5