Trying to fall in love with film again.

Your Name is a visual masterpiece with a compelling story

Story
 

Your Name tells the story of a teenage boy named Taki who lives in Tokyo who inexplicably switches bodies with  Mitsuha, a teenage girl who lives in Itomori, a town in the Japanese countryside.

You are familiar with this story archetype, two people from different worlds who are connected by...something. You've seen movies and tv shows with that premise, however not like this. 

There is so much more to this story than what the synopsis tells us and I didn't know that going in. And for that, I am grateful because there was so much to experience in this movie.

Voice Acting 

Unlike most animes I watch, I watched this dubbed in English and before you throw tomatoes at me, this was the only version I could find online (it wasn't on Netflix so I had to get creative) and because of that, I didn't experience it the way it was originally intended. That being said, the English voice actors still did an amazing job at conveying the emotions of the characters. Given the nature of the story and the fact that the characters switch places 
 Michael Sinterniklaas who plays Taki and Stephanie Sheh who plays Mitsuha have an interesting task. 

Michael Sinterniklaas has to play a teenage boy who as well as a teenage girl inside the body of a teenage boy, while Stephanie Sheh has to play the opposite. And both actors are able to nail the mannerisms of their respective characters without the change feeling jarring or disjointed. 

Writing/Direction 

One interesting thing about this movie is the tonal shifts. The movie goes from a comedy to a drama and back about twice and even though the tone shifts, it's not at all discombobulating. Your Name is an animated romantic fantasy film and it manages to be all of these things without losing sight of its grounded characters. 

Makoto Shinkai, the writer, and director as well as his team have crafted a timeless story that makes you feel and experience the fantastical while still feeling real and relatable. Taki and Mitsuha are complex characters with completely different backgrounds and situations, and while the two of them are wrapped up in something spectacular, the two of them are still well-rounded individuals with their own stories running in tandem with the larger narrative. There is a lot more plot in the movie than I expected, but even with that, I never felt the story was veering away from what it had established within its world. 
This movie is multi-dimensional in every aspect, from the story to the characters and the animation. And that creates a beautiful viewing experience. I now understand why this movie is as popular as it is.

Animation

The animation in this movie is SPECTACULAR! I am not joking when I say that this movie has some of the best animation I have EVER seen. And interestingly enough, I have seen photos and gifs of this anime all over the place. For me, this is one of those movies that you are aware of without having seen the movie. Especially this frame

 
I had to stop the movie while I was watching it to reference the fact that I was familiar with this scene in particular. 

If I were to say one thing about the animation in this movie is that it is fluid while also being structured. From the way the leaves in the countryside flutter in the wind to the way the trains move in Tokyo, every single frame of the movie is art.

While writing this review, I found out that the movie is hand-drawn and my love for the animation (as well as respect for the animators just increased tenfold) I say that because the attention to detail is exquisite. The past couple of days I have watched a lot of video essays regarding animation and something that keeps coming up is how intentional animation is, and I agree.

The beauty of animated movies is that the frames did not exist before they were animated. Everything you see on screen was put there on purpose by the filmmakers, and the attention to detail in this movie is something I WILL NOT stop talking about because like I said, every frame in this movie is art.

CASE IN POINT 


Score/Soundtrack 

If I could describe the soundtrack in one word, it would be nostalgic. It reminded me of teen movies in the early 2000s. The filmmakers implemented the soundtrack in a way that served the story. It is used to introduce the characters while also serving as a way to pass time. And given the tonal shifts in the movie, the soundtrack and score helps to usher in those changes and support the emotions of the characters and the film as a whole.

Overall Thoughts

I watched this movie with my friend Louisa and at the end, I said, "That was an emotional rollercoaster but in the best possible way." And that is the best way to describe this movie, it's funny, heartbreaking AND heartwarming all at the same time and the filmmakers did a phenomenal job of balancing the comedic scenes and dramatic ones in a coherent movie that is not only a feast for the eyes but a feast for the heart as well.

One thing that's interesting is that this movie is that it has been on my watchlist and in my consciousness for over a year now. I mentioned in my Perfect Blue review that I sometimes listen to slowed-down versions of my favourite songs (I am listening to a slowed-down version of Serendipity by BTS as I type this) and I saw a gif from this movie. This one to be specific



I saw it, commented on how beautiful it was, and thought nothing else of it. However looking at it now after having seen the movie, it's even more beautiful to me because I know the story surrounding it. It's a movie that I want to watch again to see what I missed and pick it apart, and even though I know what will happen, the beauty of the movie is 100% worth a rewatch.

Thank you so much Louisa for the recommendation and for watching the movie with me.

One more thing before I go!
I posted a video on my YouTube channel about discovering Studio Ghibli as an adult 


It would mean a lot to me if you watched it.

Comments

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