By Erika Suarez
Director Makoto Shinkai (Garden of Words, 5 Centimeters per Second) presents you with beautiful scenery along with a love story between two strangers from separate worlds (Tokyo and Itomori) who experience hilariously unexplained body swapping and begin to search for one another once the strange phenomenon stops. This unique love story provides us with a gratifying ending, but it seems this love story ended too soon, which raises a few questions and leaves you hoping for a glimpse of the future for these two characters.
There are a few landmarks recognized in the film that are remarkably breathtaking, that may want to make you grab your passport and visit these gorgeous places. The film keeps a perfect balance between the action scenes while displaying vivid imagery of its beautiful landscapes. A memorable scene I enjoyed was Mitsuha’s dance ritual where she performs in her family’s Shinto shrine and is surrounded by a peaceful and verdurous forest. The ritual involves her dancing along soothing chimed bells, and slow paced drums and ends with her chewing cooked rice and spitting it into a sake cup that becomes a Kuchikamizake.
With all the beauty that Your Name has to offer, there are imperfections underneath its surface. One of the few is the characters stories that were left in the dark. Shinkai did a wonderful job in giving us insight and background on the main protagonist, Mitsuha. As for Taki, not so much and left me a bit disconnected from him. We only know is he is a teenage boy from Tokyo studying to be an Architect while he works at a part-time job, but his determination and passion searching for Mitsuha makes up for it along with soft comedic moments in the film when he is groping his own breasts every morning when he is in Mitsuha’s body. Not only that, he goes through great measures to find Mitsuha and is heartwarming to see the love he develops for her. I had hoped to see this love story last a little longer because it felt a bit rushed towards the end of the film, making it feel incomplete
The teenage body swapping was satisfying to watch as we see the two characters struggle with each other’s lifestyles. It’s a huge disastrous mess filled with soft humor. We slowly see them work together by helping each other out when they body swap, and a little too much I would say when they get involved into each other’s love lives, resulting in Mitsuha receiving a love letter from a girl. We suddenly are reminded that this film is a Slice of Life when there is a turn of events, leaving behind the soft humor and smiles. The comet that almost looked harmless hits Mitsuha’s town separating Mitsuha and Taki and only time is able to help the two characters find each other. Hopelessness gets thrown into the mix, and at some point, you wonder if they will ever meet, but in the end, you find yourself rooting for both characters in hopes of finding each other between their worlds.
Your Name has breathtaking scenery and a love story between two lost souls that will raise smiles and a few tears. Although it did leave some characters stories in the dark and leaving us rushed to the end of this love story, it doesn’t make it any less of watching the beauty and heartwarming love that this film has to offer. The landscapes and animation draw you into the film and leaving you wanting more.
Director/Writer: Makoto Shinkai
Studio: Co Mix Wave