“Your Name.” is written and directed by Makoto Shinkai, who also wrote the novel this film is based on and stars Ryûnosuke Kamiki and Mone Kamishiraishi. The movie is a Japanese anime film about two complete strangers who switch bodies in their dreams, which eventually draws the two closer and closer to each other’s lives.
This is a film that I knew very little about coming in, with my only knowledge being it’s very intriguing trailer, as well as the fact that it set the record for being the biggest anime box office hit in film history even before it hit the US. So, when this movie finally came to a theater near me, I felt I had to go see it, and I came in with rather lofty expectations.
While I may be new to the anime genre, which I am ashamed to say, I can tell that there is some exceptional animation at work here, some of the best I have seen in recent memory. The beautiful landscapes and emphasis on emotion were something that truly blew me away, as well as the solid blend of bold visuals with hyper-realistic animation that all created a true visual spectacle for the runtime of the film.
The vocal performances from both Ryûnosuke Kamiki and Mone Kamishiraishi are exceptional, with both of them really bringing some deep and powerful emotion to their characters. Kamiki as Taki really impressed me, as his character goes through such a dramatic change by the end of the film, and his vocal work really brings this to fruition, and I give him all the credit in the world for making his character work so well. The dynamic and chemistry that these two build from the opening scene was my favorite part of this movie, which has a lot to do with these two voice actors.
Makoto Shinkai does a terrific job with both the direction as well as the script here, as he brings a bold and complex story to life with wonderful success. This is a much more mature and interweaving story than I would have ever expected, and, for the most part, Shinkai is able to keep the audience involved and, most importantly, kept me emotionally attached, as there are a few moments that simply hit me to my core at levels only Pixar can usually do. This is a hard film to watch at times, with Shinkai ripping your heart out and playing with it until the final moments, and while I may have been angry with just how much heartache this animated movie gave me, it was also unbelievably effective every single time.
Where this movie is the strongest is also where it began to lose me a bit, as there are so many things going on within the plot that it starts to get too jumbled and overly complex in the final act. The switches in perspective and styles between the two main characters evolves substantially through events in the story that I would never even dream of spoiling here, as they blew my freaking mind when first revealed, but after this, while still enthralling, it got very muddy on what exactly the rules are in this world, and I began to be confused more than anything else in the last half hour.
A few of the characters in both Taki and Mitsuha’s lives did not feel like real people, instead doing things that simply no one would ever do, and while it didn’t get in the way all that much, many of the friends and family members on both sides of the storyline just did not work as well as the leads did.
While I give Shinkai all the credit in the world for adapting his ridiculously dense work into film and doing it very well, some of his screenplay could use some work. The dialogue occasionally felt a bit flat and somewhat forced, and, even though most of it was forgivable, it was noticeably stiff on more than a few occasions.
“Your Name.” is a gorgeously animated, brilliantly directed, and deeply intricate story that offers tremendous lead voice performances and a story that is one of the most emotional roller coasters I have seen in quite a while. While the story does begin to get too complicated for its own good, there is still a ton to enjoy with “Your Name.”, even for someone with no experience with the anime genre.
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