Your Name (Kimi no Na Wa) - Spoiler Free Movie Review
Incredibly detailed, beautifully drawn and handsomely written. This anime is already one of my favourites of the year!
Original Title: 君の名は。(Kimi no Na Wa)
Genre: Animation / Drama / Fantasy / Romance
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Cast: Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Masami Nagasawa, Etsuko Ichihara, Ryô Narita, Aoi Yūki, Nobunaga Shimazaki, Kaito Ishikawa, Kanon Tani, Masaki Terasoma, Sayaka Ohara, Kazuhiko Inoue & Kana Hanazawa.
Run Time: 106 min.
Japan Release: 26 August 2016
US Release: 7 April 2017
German Release: 11 January 2018
Your Name is the latest film from Japanese director Makoto Shinkai and an anime that I was longing to see since it became an international sensation last year. A shame, as Germany is the last country to release this picture in theatres. On the other hand, I was rewarded for my patience with one of the most beautiful romantic comedies I have seen in a very long time. Kimi no Na Wa is not just one of the most exceptional anime I have ever seen, it is by far one of the best movies I have seen to date!
I wanted to review anime on this blog for quite some time, as it is one of my favourite categories in motion pictures and television. I grew up watching Ganbare! Kikkāzu, Captain Tsubasa, Attack No. 1, Sailor Moon and of course the Dragonball series, before and after school. Leaving this screening I could not have been more pleased and grateful, for this to be the first anime to be reviewed on my blog.
Kimi no Na Wa is based on Shinkai’s novel of the same name and intertwines a lot of themes into one of the best stories I have seen on the silver screen. Shinkai centres the plot on the human urge to “search for something, someone” and thus manages to reach a large percentage of its audience, as we all have felt disconnected from society at some point. It is not only that urge of finding something or someone, though that entices the viewer. He also reflects the setting, society, family values, and traditions, in which his movie plays to perfection, making this a richly emotional tale with unending depths that packs a powerful punch, breaking my heart and peacing it back together several times.
Incredibly unique is the way in which this romance is displayed, as we experience the story through the eyes of two teenagers that swap bodies every now and then. Let me assure you that this is not the typical teenage drama displayed in so many American rom-coms, but an emotionally mature film that manages to balance comedy and drama like nothing I saw before. Shinkai mixes grounded reality and dream-like fantasy (The cold and concrete city of Tokyo vs. The warmth and mystery of the countryside) gorgeously and enforced my own longing, to go visit Japan and experience its culture and people.
I would recommend watching this movie in Japanese, with subtitles, as the language is very complex and passionate. I made the experience early on that a lot of anime lose meaning when being dubbed into different languages, and Your Name lays a lot of weight on the dialogue. The voice-acting of Ryûnosuke Kamiki and Mone Kamishiraishi is perfect, one can sense them having fun during the comedic aspects of the plot while switching from suave to a more emotional tone when the drama is amped-up.
Both main characters are relatable and vastly likeable and have a chemistry that is off the charts. Taki Tachibana - voiced by Kamiki - is a high school teenager living in Tokyo. He has friends, works after school and is a talented artist. Yet something is missing in his life. He does not know what it is but he is searching for it drastically. Mitsuha Miyamizu - voiced by Kamishiraishi - is a high school girl living in the fictional town of Itomori, but dreams of leaving town and living a big life in Tokyo. When these two, highly contrasting characters, are connected through a shocking experience of body swapping, they learn of each other’s lives and try to help each other out without knowing one another that well.
The animation in Your Name is another component that makes this movie so unforgettable. Makoto Shinkai used real-life locations as inspiration and drew them, using a mix of traditional and modern cel animation. This gave the picture that breathtaking composition of realism and fantasy. I was especially impressed by Shinkai’s eye for detail, which makes every frame look as if it is a living organism with purpose. This film is proof that 2D animation is far from being a dead form of art, even beating some of the best computer-animated flicks.
Finally, the music for this romantic comedy was just as powerful as the narration itself. In fact, the score managed to be the braid that bound the story’s raw emotions with the audience. The piano and string instrument pieces are hauntingly beautiful and suit the emotional spectrum of each scene, while the three songs; Dream Lantern, Zen Zen Zense and Sparkle pack an unprecedented punch. The music was the icing on a delicious cake!
Verdict: I was blown away by this anime, emotionally as well as visually, and felt revitalised after the screening. The plot is unconventional and fresh, telling the story of two star-crossed lovers through body swapping. The dialogue and core message are full of passion and reach deep, spiritual depths. The two main characters are very likeable and the voice acting is fantastic. The animation is gorgeous and out-of-this-world, while the soundtrack compliments the story's emotional beats. Honestly, there is not one bit I found to be wrong with this movie! To conclude my review I would like to quote a friend of mine, who watched this film with me and explained in words what I felt when the credits were rolling: “I have been watching a lot of different anime lately, making it routine. But this reminded me why I love the genre.” That is the reason why Your Name deserves a 10 out of 10.
I implore everyone, who reads this review, to give it a try. Even if you have never seen an anime before or aren’t a big fan of the genre. I promise, if you are a fan of the art of filmmaking and enjoy well-written and directed movies, you will love Kimi no Na Wa!