Your Name Review

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AKA: Kimi No Na Wa
Genre: Romance/Drama/Modern Fantasy
Year Released: 2016
Distributor: Funimation
Origin: Japan
Running Time: 107 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: PG
Related Films/Series: The Garden of Words, Weathering With You, Your Name (upcoming American live-action remake)
For Fans Of: The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Clannad, Freaky Friday, Voices of a Distant Star, Noein
Notes:
-The Japanese language track was used for this review.
Fun Facts:
-Your Name is the highest grossing Japanese animated film of all time. Want to know which movie it dethroned for that top spot even before it was internationally released? Spirited Away. That’s right. The man people have called the next Miyazaki beat out all of Hayao Miyazaki’s films in the box office records especially in the revenues in Japan.

-Why is The Garden of Words listed in the Related Films/Series section? That’s because Yukari Yukino, the female lead is in this movie as Mitsuha’s teacher in her hometown. I guess that’s where Yukari moved after quitting her job at that other school. Hopefully, that teacher doesn’t do anything stupid like trying to be in a relationship with high school boys.

-Your Name is the first Makoto Shinkai film never to have been licensed in North America by ADV Films, it’s successor company Sentai Filmworks, or even Discotek. This is also Funimation’s first time having licensing rights to a Shinkai flick.

-Hilarious in Hindsight: That Musubi explanation about everyone and everything being tied and bound by strings (metaphorically speaking of course) was funny in an unintentional way to me. Am I the only person who was reminded of Strings and that Shinkai may have seen that marionette film? EDIT: Yes, I was made aware by the connection of the red string of fate motif in Japanese lore that’s been around for centuries, but the wording of what Musubi was about was eerily similar to Strings.

-J. J. Abrams (Lost, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Cloverfield) bought the rights to Your Name and is going to give it the live action treatment. Yeah, really.

-Ryunosuke Kamiki who played Taki also played Seta Sojiro in the live action Rurouni Kenshin films. You know, that one villain with hypersonic speed who’s total bishonen bait for all the fangirls? Yeah, that’s him.


I’m late to the party, but I finally did it. Tell me, otaku. Are you happy now that I’m finally reviewing this movie that people have been buzzing about? Are you happy that I’m reviewing a Makoto Shinkai film that even some non-anime fans have heard of? You’re welcome, everyone. I finally got the chance to watch this much-hyped film. As someone who’s followed Shinkai since not long after Voices of a Distant Star was released in America, I somehow owed it to myself to watch this film.

How will the highest-grossing anime film of all time fare with the Iridium Eye treatment? Let’s find out.

Your Name is a tale about two teenagers living in different parts of Japan. There’s Taki Tachibana who’s a boy living the city life in Tokyo who goes to school, works at a bistro, and plans on being an architect. The other one is Mitsuha Miyamizu. She’s a girl living in the boonies of Itomori (a fictional town in the Gifu prefecture) who’s is next-in-line to run a shrine in town, does an annual ritual involving a mysterious sake, and is estranged from her dad that’s also the mayor of this country town. Despite not meeting each other, the both of them mysteriously switch bodies and live each other’s lives temporarily. Once they get their respective bodies back, they have amnesia as to what happened the day before. These events are somehow tied to the Comet Tiamat that is en route towards Japan after last being seen 1300 years ago. Taki and Mitsuha have to figure out how all these events are happening as these fantastical elements also lead to something much worse.

I get bored writing about the animation side of Makoto Shinkai films. Why? It’s because I know the animation is going to be top-caliber. Shinkai and Comix Wave certainly deliver in the visuals as to be expected. There’s so much fluidity going on and the scenery is picturesque as per usual. It’s typical of him to have movies that are very pleasing to the eyes. What did surprise me was the usage of mainstream anime images like slight deformations in comedic scenes and thought bubbles. This was a surprise for me, but it was a good kind of different. One major highlight for me was the vision of the comet that Taki has when he’s in the cave with the preserved sake. That was easily the most creative and visually impressive thing I’ve seen Shinkai do as the animation has a chalk-like feel as he also witnesses elements of Mitsuha’s backstory. It was almost like he gave the anime treatment to a movie like Boy and the World, but even that comparison doesn’t do that scene in Your Name justice.

The characters were certainly faring well in this film and I also have to give props to the voice actors for the leading roles in the Japanese language track. Taki tends to have some temper issues and wants to prove that he’s good at whatever he tries. Mitsuha is the opposite as she’s quite feminine, yet has a rebellious streak in wanting to get out of Itomori. When both of them switch bodies, it was fascinating seeing how they react. Taki’s body taken over by Mitsuha involved his body language becoming more ladylike and talking near the top of his range while Mitsuha’s body taken over by Taki has her voice deepen and she has a more boyish posture. I got to credit the voice actors for trying to sound like what it would be like if someone from the opposite gender were playing them and they do a great job in subtle ways. The rest of the cast do a great job at their roles as well.

Now with all of the praise I’ve been giving Your Name so far, one could surmise that this will be an instant classic and think it’s one of the best anime movies ever given how well this movie has done with all this talk about it.

Spoiler alert: Your Name will not get the 10 point treatment. Just because it’s a box office success doesn’t mean it’s instant perfection.

As someone who’s watched several of Makoto Shinkai’s works since the mid-00s, Your Name feels like a rehash of his older movies, but with more mainstream appeal. Your Name is like a greatest hits album that features the best songs of a band’s career, but they decide to make one or two new songs extra to please long-time fans. There’s the parallel timeline/dimension aspect which is totally from The Place Promised In Our Early Days. There’s Yukari from The Garden of Words and the fact that the male lead likes to draw things which is recycled from that short film. The ending scene would’ve been borderline self-plagiarism of 5 Centimeters Per Second’s finale (especially visually) had it not have been for the characters looking at each other. There’s also the motif of distance between friends and lovers which is in several of Shinkai’s works starting with Voices of a Distant Star. Even the dual male/female unison narrations go back all the way to She and Her Cat. If Your Name is your first exposure to Makoto Shinkai, then this all would look phenomenal, but I was mildly underwhelmed since I’m familiar with his older filmography. I really felt like Shinkai wasn’t trying as hard in the storytelling department despite how amazing the animation looks. Besides those qualms of that director repeating himself, there are other things to note. Firstly, the initial body swap gags. Both Taki and Mitsuha touch the parts of the other person’s body as their mind is in each other’s corporeal vessel particularly when Taki touches Mitsuha’s breasts three times whenever his mind is in her body. That joke got old really fast and it was just tawdry since Shinkai isn’t a director who does fan service or perverted gags like that. Secondly, I thought the secondary characters were underdeveloped in the personality department. Side note about Taki’s superior Miki Okudera: I found out that she’s in college in my research instead of being an older high school student which makes the relationship tease between her and Taki a bit creepy in hindsight. Thirdly, the plan to save Itomori was unrealistic even for the situation. I refuse to believe that teenagers would have enough strategic acumen to pull off what they did and there were some obvious writing cop-out moments just to get to the ending. I shouldn’t have to spot those plot hole elements this easily.

Your Name is a very good film, but to be brutally honest, I didn’t buy all of the hype. The animation is certainly brilliant and creative as to be expected from Shinkai’s body of work. The music while not the best in his filmography was good even though one song was a bit too pop punk for my taste. The main characters were interesting and I could care about them although the secondary characters were okay. However, I found this film to be a bit of an auto-pilot for Shinkai himself as several elements of this film reminded me of his older works or like some strange hybrid between The Place Promised and Freaky Friday. It was disheartening to use bad mainstream anime cliches like the breast-grabbing gag since I know Shinkai is much better than this. Your Name is one of those movies for me where I felt that it was good, but not as good as others were making it out to be. It’s still worth watching, so don’t think I’m giving it a bad rating, but Your Name was a great albeit overrated and over-hyped anime movie.


Adjustable Point System:
Add 1-2 points if you only know about Makoto Shinkai’s later works.
Add 1 point if you really care about animation.
Subtract 1-3 points if you want your anime to be more artistic.

Pros:
-Wonderful and creative animation
-Good soundtrack from Radwimps
-Likable lead characters

Cons:
-Shinkai rehashing his older movies several times
-The stupid body switch breast gag
-Predictable at points and obvious plot holes in the final act

Final Score: 8/10 points

Content Warning:Your Name got a PG rating which I believe is fair. The biggest piece of objectionable content would be Taki and Mitsuha reacting to the body swap situation as they touch certain body parts on their new bodies. There’s even additional fanservice of Mitsuha outside of the gag itself. There’s drinking and smoking, but the drugs rarely show up. One perilous element involves a destruction of a town by a meteor as seen in one of the timelines in the film. The Japanese version had a couple of swears, too.

-Curtis Monroe

All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. Your Name and all related names and terms are property of Toho and Comix Wave. The DVD Image is from Best Buy and is property of Funimation.

30 comments

  1. I’m even later to the party than you as I still haven’t been able to see it. I will finally get that chance next week though when it comes available in my country on the 15th of january. I really can’t wait to see this as I have been looking forward to it for an amazingly long time. Like the way you do your scoring/rating system by the way. Great post! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gotcha. I didn’t realize it wasn’t released in the Netherlands yet. It is a good movie even though it’s overhyped and slightly overrated. Personally, I thought The Place Promised In Our Early Days was a better movie from Shinkai. Thanks for the kind words. Were you also the one who checked out the other new reviews with For My Father and the Jungle Emperor Leo: Hon-O-Ji short film?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well it has been in the theatres..but only in a select few that were miles away from my hometown. Which was kind of annoying. Next week it’s finally able for digital download so I plan to see it then 😊
        Your welcome. I don’t know really. I have read both of the other reviews though…but onlyirst just know and enjoyed them both 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was in the same boat when it got a theatrical release in America. The nearest theater that played it at the time was a 40 minute drive from me. It was stupid because I live in a city with over 100,000 people and my local theater had no distribution for it.

        Good thing there’s digital distribution for you.

        Sure thing, Raistlin. Thanks for checking out the other reviews, too. I’m glad you enjoyed my critiquing style and the content which I cover. I’m just trying to live up to my slogan even though my anime fan followers know Your Name. Haha!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I wasn’t aware that this was connected to Garden of Words!
    And I agree with many things you’ve said. I ended up watching the film three times with different people within a few months. I found it enjoyable each time, but in retrospect, I can’t manage to feel a whole lot for the film – at least in comparison with other works by Shinkai. 5 cm per second was my personal favourite. While as a viewer, I was kind of happy to be able to say that Your Name was a happy end version of 5cm in which characters I ship actually get together, I found 5cm to be a film with greater lasting impact.
    And yeah, I can’t say I enjoyed the fanservice. 😆
    Wonderful review, I think you captured it all!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup. That’s Yukari from The Garden Of Words as Mitsuha’s teacher alright.

      Thank you so much! It’s certainly a good movie, but I didn’t think it was the be all end all as other people have said. 5cm is a good movie, too. Personally, my favorite Shinkai film is hand down, The Place Promised In Our Early Days. That’s in my top 10 favorite anime films, and that movie gets slept on my many anime fans (especially the newer ones). If you liked the parallel universe/timeline plot aspects, you’ll love Place Promised. It is so weird to me that an animator I’ve known for over a decade is now famous.

      I’m glad I’m not the only person to link the endings from 5cm and Your Name. That’s actually a good way to put the ending to Your Name given the parallel scenes and imagery despite the opposite outcomes. Yeah, the fanservice got old for me. That was a shame because Shinkai never resorted to fanservice in his older films.

      Thanks for the comment and for checking out this review. I’ve reviewed several other Shinkai movies on my blog. I hope you can check out the other reviews like the other two I posted today or you can look at the review #-Z tab on top.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you definitely make me want to check out The Place Promised in Our Early Days. I’ve always known of it, but have not watched it for some odd reason! Aside from those, I’ve seen Hoshi no Koe and all the shorts that I could find on Youtube.
        And I’ll definitely check out the rest of your posts! I actually did look at some yesterday, but I didn’t have WiFi and couldnt like and comment. Really appreciate that you’re reviewing those!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Awesome! If you can check out that movie, then please watch it whenever you can. Better late than never when it comes to quality movies that are older. You’ve seen Voices of a Distant Star? Nice! That was my first Shinkai film I saw. Major props to him animating the whole thing with his Mac. Thanks for checking out some of my other posts. Feel free to stop by for more reviews (new or archived) whenever you can.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You sold out by reviewing something we have all heard of 😉 I hope that J. J. Abrams does this movie justice, but I am not optimistic given how poor some live adaptations of anime have turned out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! Nice joke, Otaku Judge. I’ve reviewed more famous movies like Ringu, you know. Although to be fair, Your Name wasn’t some Hollywood blockbuster and mainly anime fans know that movie.

      Yeah, I know production wise it will look good, but I’m so skeptical about the final product. I’ve yet to have seen a good American live action adaptation of an anime.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well the red sing of fate is a super Japanese thing to begin with. Even in just most Eastern cultures. Any way, I disagree with some of what you said. The film is very well put together (glad you watched in Japanese too, the English was less good).

    The breast stuff is definitely not great but it followed the rule of the and was a tension release gag. It was really effective when I saw it on theatres. You could people sigh and chuckle with relief since the last time comes at an emotional point.

    Good review though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right about the red string of fate, and I know about that symbolism. I didn’t associate the word Musubi with that concept until after watching the film which I do apologize. The Strings comment was facetious, but the wording from the Grandmother’s speech about Musubi reminded me of that film with some of the verbiage. I may have sounded more negative than I intended, but I did enjoy Your Name which I hoped I made that clear enough besides the score. Good to know the English dub wasn’t as good. The Japanese voice acting was great.

      I understand the usage from the rule of tension and release especially with the subject matter involving the Tiamat situation. With the breast gag, I thought it was fine the first time, but it got really old later on. Shinkai never resorted to fanservice in the past nor did he need to, so that was a shocking swerve for me as someone who’s followed his works for a long time. I get why people would find it funny though. It just wasn’t my thing.

      Even though we have our disagreements on some aspects of Your Name, I really appreciate you civilly explaining your opinion which I respect. Your Name is a movie I like, but I prefer some of Shinkai’s other films more especially The Place Promised In Our Early Days which still resonates with me now as it did when it first was released in America.

      Thank you so much for checking out my review and for your comment, Jon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anytime man, just thought I’d give sombre feedback. Didn’t think you were too negative or anything. Haven’t seen his other films so no comment there but this was a rally strong start for me. As to the dub, the biggest problem is all the music is dubbed too. Anyway, thanks for the reply 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • No problem. It’s good that I didn’t come off as too negative despite liking Your Name. I guess the hype bugged me a bit, but that was just a minor inconvenience.

        You should seriously check out his other films. I’m a bit biased towards his older works like the aforementioned Place Promised and even Voices of a Distant Star (my first exposure to Shinkai and the first anime of his that got North American distro). I liked 5cm as well and it was the last film I saw of his for years until I saw and reviewed The Garden of Words last year. Shinkai does have a lot of good films and I have another review of one of his projects coming this month. Stay tuned.

        They dubbed the music, too? That’s lame Radwimps were just fine on their own.

        Sure thing, Jon.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Your Name is no classic, but I think this is Shinkai’s best work in the realm of dealing of many plot threads and not messing them up by the end. While his previous works had a more consistent and indulgent tone (and they all deal with similar themes like this film does), but this time he spiced things up with comedy. And I don’t think the breast gag was that bad, rather, it got more funnier and ridiculous the second/third(?) it came up. I agree, the flexible voice acting from the lead roles were really impressive.
    Anyway, solid review. I wish I could write as efficiently as you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see. Your Name is a very good movie, but it didn’t blow me away as some people have hyped it up to be. I do give Shinkai props for connecting so many plot elements together even if he did reuse some of his storytelling techniques and motifs in his previous films. Good point about comedy. This was something newer for him even if he was going for a more mainstream approach in contrast to his other works. To each their own on the breast gag. I personally thought it was overdone and borrowed too much from harem or ecchi series. I really liked the voice acting in the Japanese version especially from the leads. They really sounded like the opposite genders trapped in different bodies while retaining the original voices. Even the background characters had good voice work, too. Thank you very much, Rodrovich. I appreciate the kind words. You write well and I want to do my best to improve my writing skills whether I’m reviewing things, writing stories, lyrics, and non fiction works.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “You know, that one villain with hypersonic speed who’s total bishonen bait for all the fangirls?” LOL YES HAHAHA well, Kamiki did that part well. And I really loved how he and Kamishiraishi Mone acted for this film. And, of course, Radwimps and the animation. But yes, I do think it’s a bit overrated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! Thanks for appreciating my little joke involving Sojirou. The voice acting was really good especially how they portray the other character. It’s cool you agree. Have you seen other Shinkai films?

      Like

  7. As one of the films that Shinkai directed, I would have to say this one was my favorite. I’m a fan of films that throw in the odd time travel shtick and get it right; not to mention it was a very fun film where we could sympathize and feel like the characters were real with their own dilemmas, lives and aspirations. Ditto for the soundtrack too, it was an absolute banger all the way.

    But yeah I’ll have to give it to you that it’s not “the greatest anime film of all time”; certainly up there, but not #1.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s fair. To each their own. Time travel can be a really fun plot concept when done right, so I hear you right there. The characters were likable enough to root for them which I do agree with. Maybe I’m more biased towards Tenmon’s musical work in Shinkai’s older movies, this soundtrack was still good.

      Sure thing. I can see why people would really like it regardless of the hype or not. Totally worth watching, but Your Name isn’t my #1 pick.

      Like

      • I get the feeling that the only reason why this film has gotten the hype is due to several factors: the romance subplot and the fact that anime has become mainstream. Take an older work like The Place Promised In Our Early Days and compare it with this film (or even Weathering With You) and you won’t get that much discussions about it. It’s quite literally a whole new world we’re talking in w.r.t these flicks.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a plausible assessment as to why Your Name got popular. I certainly know firsthand when The Place Promised came out that anime was nowhere near as accepted in the mainstream yet which is a shame.

        Liked by 1 person

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