Director Makoto Shinkai’s critically acclaimed animated drama, Your Name, has been digitally remastered for the IMAX experience. This Japanese flick is based on a novel written by the director himself and tells the story of Mitsuha, a rural high school girl who switches bodies with Taki, a boy living in Tokyo. Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers, but every night they dream they become each other, and soon work together to resolve problems in each other’s lives. Aside from the film’s rave reviews, financially it has been a resounding success, with it quickly becoming the second highest-grossing movie in Japan and the top grossing anime feature internationally. Your Name features the vocal talents of Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Masami Nagasawa and Etsuko Ichihara.
Even though Shinkai has publicly said that he wishes he had more time to work on the film to perfect its animation, it is still one of the most visually impressive works in recent years. The scenery of the countryside and Tokyo are wonderfully animated and gorgeously detailed, bringing life to both rural and urban Japan. Mitsuha’s town Itomori is fictional but is depicted with a lot of depth, which creates a wonderful atmosphere. With references to Shintoism and small-town life, Itomori feels like it could be a real place.
Also, great care has been taken in making the characters feel as life-like as possible. A slapstick approach to animation is eschewed, and not only are the characters realistic and expressive, but there’s a lot of subtlety added to their movements to drive home some of the quirks of the plot.
Body swapping isn’t a unique premise for a film, however, Your Name is a refreshing take on the trope and avoids tackiness. Even though Mitsuha and Taki are faced with a weird situation, they act rather logically and are captivating teenagers to follow as they open up to each other. Tonally, this a funny and charming story, though it does become eerie and morose later on via a topical allegory to a recent Japanese tragedy.
Driven by compelling writing, great voice acting and superb animation, Your Name is stunning in every way and deserves all its praise and more.
Your Name is released in selected cinemas on 23rd August 2017.
Watch the trailer for Your Name here: