Despite being a fan of Anime – I must confess that I haven’t seen a LOT of Anime films. Of course, I’ve seen most of Studio Ghibli’s catalogue – and Akira is one of my favourite all time films. And then there was Lensmen – which is actually the first ever Anime I remember watching. But aside from that, I don’t really keep up with a lot of Anime films. Maybe it’s just because I have a busy schedule with work and my hobbies that keeps me busy, but I often miss out on a lot of films from Japan until someone casually mentions it in passing.
So as you can imagine, I knew very little about the film Kimi no Na wa, or Your Name. It was only in passing that a friend of mine told me about it and even had a DVD of it. I even heard that it was one of the highest grossing – non Ghibli films to come from Japan. So even though I knew next to nothing about it, I decided to give it a watch.
And thank God I did! This is a phrase I tend to throw around quite a bit, but this time I can say it without lying. This is hands down one of the BEST Anime films I’ve ever seen. In fact, if I ever did a Top Five Anime films list – this one would come in at number 2!
Normally I give a detailed synopsis in my reviews – but the truth is that I really don’t want to spoil too much about this film. I didn’t know anything about it before I watched it and I ended up loving it! So all I will say about the plot is this – Your Name is a Science Fiction/Fantasy film about two characters (named Taki and Mitshua), who switch bodies from time to time. And this begins a fantastic journey in which they discover things about themselves. To put it another way – try and thing Inception as a love film.
Everything about this film I found perfect in every single way. The animation, the music, the voice acting – and even the story, whilst fairly simple in execution, had some genuine twists that I didn’t see coming. Admittedly, you DO have to pay attention to it as there are some details that you can easily miss – but otherwise it’s fairly straight forward.
The animation is one of the best that I’ve ever seen. Whilst it does follow some traditional Anime style tropes – it feels just that bit more realistic that other Anime’s. There’s very little of the “character standing still whilst their mouth opens stiffly” movement that is common in a this type. Rather the characters movements are lifelike and they actually behave more like real people. It’s kinda hard to explain, but if you’ve seen Akira then you might understand what I mean. Essentially, it’s one of the most realistic looking Anime’s ever.
The music perfectly captures the emotion of the film – whether it’s goofy humour or full on sadness. And this movie plays with your emotions A LOT! I don’t think since Up has there been a movie that has left me feeling so emotionally drained afterwards – in a good way. Though it hurt my heart in a few scenes (and I did find myself screaming at the TV), I loved every minute of this film – there was never a moment where I felt bored or confused (well maybe in a FEW places, but I caught up pretty quickly). Let’s just say that you might need a few tissues afterwards – me and my friend did. In fact, an hour after the film had finished we still had trouble talking as we were crying so much. I’m a pretty emotional guy at the best of times (if you haven’t guessed already) but this one… I’m actually tearing up as I write this now!
There really isn’t anything more I can say without giving spoilers. And as I stated I don’t want to do that. Sometimes, it’s best not to know what to expect from a film – so that you can go into it with an open mind. That’s what happened here and I am all the more happy for it. Truly, this is one of the greatest Animated films to come out in a long time. Dare I say it, it rivals Disney for substance and storytelling! And you guys know this isn’t a diss, I love Disney – but I have to say that Your Name outdoes a lot of recent Disney films.
At the moment, there’s only a subtitled version of it, but Funimation are apparently doing an English dub of it. I’ll be interested to see who they get to do the voices (please let one of them be Wendee Lee for Mitshua!) and whether it has the same emotional impact as this one does.
Your Name is one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen in a long time and I cannot recommend this enough. If the year ended tomorrow – I would happily make this my movie of the year! Sorry, Captain America: Civil War, you’re not my favourite movie of the year so far.
No question about it. Kimi no Na wa, Your Name get’s 5 stars out of 5!
Pretty much any film by Studio Ghibli would work here. But the one I would highly recommend as a companion to this film is Spirited Away. That is a tale where the imagery, music and acting come together to create beautiful imagery that stays in your mind long after it’s over. In fact, see that and this film back to back and you’ll be in for a treat!