You know how when you’re wanting to go to the movie theater and you look up all the films that are showing and there are alway at least three that you’ve never heard of, let alone have any interest in seeing? Well, good news! I’ve seen those movies. I spend most of my theater experiences in art house theaters watching those movies that you’ve never heard of and then never watch. Yeah, I’m that hipster asshole. My goal with this is to spread information out about these films, that way you can decide one of the following. “That actually sounds pretty cool! I want to see that now!” or “Man, I’m glad I decided to go see the new superhero movie!”. So without further ado, here is my article and review of Your Name.
I’m going to review this in a specifically vague way. There have been mixed receptions regarding the marking for this film. Your Name. is the fourth highest grossing film in Japanese Cinema History, it is the 8th highest grossing traditionally animated film of all time, and it is the highest grossing Anime Film ever made. So clearly people like this film enough to pay to see it. From there Funimation decided to distribute the film, even releasing it in Los Angeles briefly for an Academy Award Nomination, which failed. Clearly, people believe in this film. I remember back in December reading how some people at Funimation wanted to make this film the generations Spirited Away. With all of this, why is it that almost no one outside the Anime world has ever heard of this film? That could partially be because of the Marketing. There have been absolutely no commercials or anything of the sort to inform the public of the release. I went into this film never seeing a trailer for the film. I really didn’t even know the plot of the film beyond the absolute basics. So some have argued that there should have been more marketing. That the film should be seen by more people because it is really good. But Funimation’s decision to not market the film is why the film is failing. That’s one argument. I disagree. Yes, people should see the film and more people should be aware of it. But the fact that I knew very little about the story, I think helped the overall experience.
Your Name. is an Anime film about two high school students from different parts of Japan. One, Taki, is a short-tempered boy from Tokyo, and the other, Mitsuha, lives a traditional lifestyle in a small town. Both are unhappy with their current lives and wish for something else. Then, without explanation, they begin to switch bodies with each other. One day Taki will wake up in Mitsuha’s body and vice versa, but some days everything is normal. Then hijinks ensues. And that is where I’m going to leave it. The story unfolds greatly from there, but I want to leave that up to you to find out what the rest is. The film goes from being a cute fun standard body swapping film, to an absolutely breathtaking story in a matter of seconds. And I think this is one of the best-written stories I’ve seen in a long time.
The animation in the film is absolutely gorgeous. It has a very normal Anime feel in regard to the bodies and faces of each character, nothing worth noting anyway. But the backgrounds and the environments are absolutely incredible. There are these sweeping shots of mountains and cityscapes that are all traditional animation and it is absolutely breathtaking. I have heard some say it is almost like it’s concept art. It’s almost like this is what they presented to the studio and said what they wanted it to look like. But where most films run out of money and have to dumb down the production, this film looks exactly like that. Everything about the environment is beautiful and it is an incredible experience to see it on the big screen.
My only complaint I would have is that the film is very “Anime”, there are essentially two music videos in the film that act almost as an opening for an Anime Television show. And how the characters interact with each other can often be “Japanese”. But I really don’t blame the film for this. I’ve seen people complain about this but personally, I don’t care. The film was made in Japan, of course, it’s going to be “Japanese” like. Toni Erdmann is very German and I don’t blame it for that. You can’t really blame a film for being what it is. Just be aware that if you hate Anime, then don’t want this very Anime film.
Overall I would highly recommend Your Name. I think it is one of the best-animated films I’ve seen in a long time. And if you are looking for a nice Anime fix, then this would probably be right up your alley. It is a very limited release right now, but if you have a chance to see it on the big screen, I highly recommend you do so. I don’t think you will regret it.