4. Your Name – Colin
Earlier this year when it was rumored that Studio Ghibli would be closing its doors, I was thrust into a deep existential crisis that I’m not sure whether I’ve fully recovered from or not. Luckily my friend told me about another Japanese Anime film director that might save me from my dread. Makoto Shinkai (Children Who Chase Lost Voices) would be releasing a new film to the world in April of 2017 entitled Your Name. I guess I’ll give this Shinkai a try.
Your Name is the story of Mitsuha, a high school girl in a rural Japanese village who longs for adventure and city-living. She has a strange dream that she is a boy named Taki who lives in Tokyo. She goes about the day in his skin, making a fool of herself while navigating the city in her new male body. When she awakens, she finds a strange message in her journal, and all her friends ask her why she has been acting so strangely…
Apparently, Taki is a real boy who, when he falls asleep, transforms into the body of Mitsuha and inadvertently messes with her whole day. When he wakes up, he finds notes from Mitsuha on his phone. They develop a correspondence and help one another in their respective social lives. Taki spends time with Mitsuha’s family, connecting with the myths of their village, their family lineage, and human nature as a whole. After a time, the body switching stops and Taki, in Mitsuha’s body learns of a comet that is headed for Mitsuhu’s village. The plot culminates when he decides to venture out to try and warn her…even though he hasn’t a clue where or when her village could be found.
I can only really say that Your Name is fucking beautiful and I’m so glad I set aside the time to watch it. This movie deals with very raw human concepts like escapism, isolation, longing, loss, tradition, and love, and it deals with them in such a poetic and mythical way. It transports the viewer through time, through perspective and gender politics as it uncovers the long foretold mystery of two star-crossed…well, two people that have the power to crawl into one another’s skin, but are seemingly separated by more than just distance. It’s about searching for something in your past that you know meant the world to you, but perhaps the years have made you forgetful, but most of all it’s about human connection.
The animation of Shinkai’s film, the score, the voice acting, is all so perfectly rendered and presented with such a desperate need to engross you in its story, that while watching, I often forgot that I don’t speak a lick of Japanese
Oh, and as it stands, the rumors surrounding Studio Ghibli have not been confirmed, and it appears they will be moving forward with a new Hayao Miyazaki film in 2018. But knowing that there is another powerhouse director of Japanese Anime pumping out brilliant films like 2017’s Your Name does my heart good. As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier.