[10.0] Kimi no Na Wa "Your Name" Review
If there's a film to define "the feels" I believe we've found the perfect one.
Kimi no Na Wa aka "Your Name" is a film by Makoto Shinkai, responsible for a collection of other animated tear-jerkers- if not pure soul-wailing moments- captured through the lense of stunning art design and some of the most intense visuals in animation I've seen.
Shinkai's other works are "Voices of a Distant Star, Garden of Words, and 5 Centimeters Per Second. Only thing with this though, is that it packs a serious punch- even compared to his other films- and its a punch that finds your weak spot and punches it again, and again, and again.
Kimi no Na Wa is still being shown in select theaters around the world, and has yet at the time of this writing to be released worldwide on dvd and blu-ray, but that hasn't stopped droves of folks doing what they can to see the film.
Kimi no Na Wa has earned billions of yen and has quickly become one of Japan's most successful movies of all time!!
Okay, so its a great anime movie, but just what IS Kimi no Na Wa?
Few movies these days perfect the pulling of the heartstrings in the way this movie does, leaving you with a tale unlike any other and pulling you into a journey that displays the fragility of life and the soul-crushing feeling of loss, but its SO freaking good at doing so, once you're sucked in you'll soak in every second- read on:
The story follows two main charatcers, a boy named Taki Tachibana and a girl named Mitsuha Miyamizu. Beginning with Mitsuha, the story narrows in on a rural country town in Japan and gracefully displays the beauty of her life there.
Let me back that up- this film is GORGEOUS. It is brimming with luscious landscapes, vistas, and incredible attention to detail of which many locations are based on real places.
A quick google search and you can find fans who've trotted across Japan to compare movie screenshots to real-world locations.
Mitsuha lives a life balanced by school and her duties to the family shrine, but becomes progressively irritated at her life as we are shown that her duties tend to be a bit stressful if not downright embarrassing for her at times, which causes her to make one, fateful, wish- to live a modern teenage life in the big city...as a boy.
This is mainly reflected at her duties not just at the shrine, but as a shrine maiden. The boy on the other hand, Taki, is a pretty carefree average tokyo teenage boy. He goes to school, he works at a restaurant afterward, has a crush on his boss, and does his homework.
The magic ensues as Mitsuha wakes up in Taki's body, and of course you can probably guess what comes next- the great awkward realization that one's gender is in fact completely opposite, complete with all the bells and whistles. For a while she thinks it may be a dream, but even after going to sleep it doesn't end. On Taki's end, he wakes up in Mitsuha's body and similar events occur- complete with oppai-touching that continues to be a running joke.
That's right, Kimi no Na wa is a body-swapping story of a boy and a girl from completely different ways of life, a country girl and a city boy, but instead of that just taking us on a visual ride through what could be the setting for a lot of just comedy and fantasy, we are treated to a visual and emotional-roller-coaster feast for kings. Because this just isn't any body-swapping story, no, it becomes a LOVE STORY.
Part of the magic of the film is the realization that dawns on you that the two characters begin to like each other. At first both do in fact feel its just a vivid dream, but as time passes they begin to learn about each other through journals, even going as far to figure out how to leave text messages for each other on the phone as they become aware of the constant swapping.
Sometimes they go back to their normal lives to see the ramifications the other had while in the other's body- most of this is quite amusing and the movie grabs you and tours you through the possibilities as things change for both of them- mostly for the better.
The fact that this odd phenomenon is happening to them is interesting at first, but the film possesses you and entertains you with the ideas of what the scenarios will lead to.
I found myself very engaged through the movie, and found myself subconsciously glued, trying to guess and make sense of what could or would happen next. It is truly a fabulous adventure through the growing bond of these two characters who both know well what they're doing and somehow get along great via journals and messages.
As amusing as their romp in each other's bodies is, it cannot go on forever.
As the film plays on, you are merged deeper into the film's concepts as the mystery of 'why' this is all happening begins to unravel. To be honest, the answer is actually semi-vague, but that doesn't take away from the plot at all because around the time Mitsuha's journals and notes begin dissapearing from Taki's phone is when the film delivers one of it's biggest uppercuts to your feels, and then begins a symphony of instruments torn and made from your very heartstrings themselves.
And the soundtrack is beautiful might I add, with a mix of bittersweet tones and eye-gushing inducing piano tracks that hit right at the very moment you're holding your breath.
From this point on there will be MASSIVE SPOILERS, so if you'd like to avoid them, please skip to the bottom of the review.
Makoto Shinkai is known for his films being pretty bittersweet. He's a master at portraying the beauty of life, the small things, nature, and more- all while ripping out your soul and stomping on your happiness or hope for the characters in the process.
When I was 14 I saw my first Shinkai film, one of his first major ones too which was "Voices of a Distant Star". Its short, but like millions I was also captivated by the story of love between 2 characters throughout time and space that ultimately ended in complete sadness.
Shinkai is a director with the guts to throw away happy endings while portraying the beauty and sometimes fragility of life (as I mentioned before) all the while injecting love and other deep themes of emotion into it and ripping it all apart by the end. George R.R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones, is immensely notorious for killing off main characters to the shock and awe of millions who never expected it, as the internet fills with the cries and woes of lost characters. Shinkai is the Martin of anime movie stories- usually.
When you watch a Shinkai movie, you almost prepare to be sad, that's just how it is.
Taki is pretty disturbed when the body-swapping stops and begins to investigate almost in a panic. You stop seeing things from Mitsuha's perspective at this point as Taki and his friends begin a journey across Japan to find her village.
Questions filled my mind at this point, I couldn't even fathom what could have happened or why Mitsuha's entire presence from the show was...gone. I earnestly missed Mitsuha alongside Taki.
Suckerpunch to the feels round 2.
Taki discovers her village, and the entire region surrounding it, had been turned into one enormous crater years ago by a passing comet which was supposed to harmlessly pass Earth- until it's nucleus split and collided with Mitsuha's entire countryside, decimating her alongside thousands of people.
All the people he met as her in her life, the places he saw, the traditions and customs of her village, school, and shrine, all gone.
For the second half of the film you are beside Taki, feeling empty as you realize you spent an hour or so getting to know a character who was ripped away from you.
Taki never saw Mitsuha in person, but he could not let his feelings go.
He struggles with the idea that he somehow phenomenally body-swapped through time with a girl he started to love and lost long after she and everyone she knew died. Everything they did, as magical and mystical as it was- gone.
But eventually, and fortunatley he just doesn't except it, and you don't want him to either.
Taki pushes on.
The twist that she died but got her wish of "living a completely different life as a teenage boy" for a while and also that Taki is just left behind without this precious new person he was getting to know, no- starting to love and eventually hoped to meet- is heart wrenching.
Taki's fight to 'undo' the past begins afterward, which constantly has you wondering 'is it even possible?' rather than being able to guess or predict like some films.
Taki just doesn't give up.
Amazingly enough through some time paradoxes and things that never fully make sense but feel complete enough to accept, Taki is able to create one more body-swap to try and prevent Mitsuha's and as many villagers' deaths as possible by going back as her and warning people, ultimately coming up with a grand plan.
Up until the final moments the film's grip does not let go as trial after trial reers itself in front of the characters. In one particular scene atop a large hill bathed in twilight, Mitsuha and Taki are able to meet face to face shortly, until the film delivers it's final punch to the gut of all your feels and emotions. As the film seemed to be coming to a close, I found myself on the edge of my seat drying my eyes as they widened with hopeful questions as to just how the film would finish entirely, praying Shinkai's usual way of doing things would take a break this time.
I can say it could have went both ways, but I am very satisfied with it.
That doesn't stop it however, from punching you again just a little bit, as a time skip occurs, taking you forward to an older Taki as he ages and forgets Mitsuha.
This bit drove me mad as if the rest of the movie and not even knowing for sure if the village and Mitsuha were saved wasn't enough, he continued to talk on about how over the years he felt something or someone was missing from his life but couldn't pin what it was. "OH COME ON ALREADY!" I thought.
But don't worry this wasn't a bad thing, not with how it ended.
If it had just ended there, I wouldn't be surprised and I doubt it would have changed the final score I chose at the bottom of the review.
It would have been typical Shinkai.
SPOILERS END HERE
Verdict: Shikai's all-digital and masterful approach to the film as well as the story writing and concept of pulling off a good body-swapping, time-travel, natural disaster, tragedy, romance film turned out to be a festival of eye-candy and a marriage of beauty and emotional depths utilizing cutting-edge animation to glue you in side-by-side along the ride with the characters and their feelings and experience, is nothing short of phenomenal to me.
This film is a representation of what most films 'should' do as a medium to give you a rich experience you'll never forget. Its impossible in my mind to imagine movies being any greater at doing so than this one, and is definitely a setter of standards.
Kimi no Na Wa with it's visuals, swapping antics, and overall fantastic story from beginning to end will have this movie infesting your mind for hours- if not days- afterward.
Check out the trailer here.
+Cutting Edge Animations
+Perfect Soundtrack to match the film
+Multiple Punches in The Feels
+Unique Genre Mixing
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