My first experience with a Makoto Shinkai film, was with the short OVA, Voices of a Distant Star. I watched it with a friend sometime around 2008 and have been a fan of his work ever since. With each film or project he has done since, I have been sure to get my hands on and watch, probably an unhealthy amount of times, so when Kimi no na wa (Your Name), was announced for theatrical release here in Australia, I had a very real fanboy moment. I think I might have frightened my dogs.
Tonight though, finally, after months of watching it sky rocket to the top of the Japanese box office, and on the day that it surpassed Princess Mononoke on the all-time highest grossing films in Japan list, I finally got to see a Shinkai movie, on the big screen.
For the spoiler free review, I will keep it short and sweet. It’s fantastic, possibly one of the best movies to reach Australian cinema’s this year. The art is as faultless and breathtaking as any of the other works Makoto Shinkai has helmed, the script and story are compelling and diverse. The characters quickly grow on you in the short first half of the film. By its conclusion, you have been taken on a ride no other. If you see nothing else for the rest of the year, make sure you see this one.
Mild Spoilers below – Your Name (君の名は / Kimi no Na wa) Review
The premise of body swapping has been used before in film, both eastern and western, but Your Name takes the idea of body swapping and turns it from a comedy into a love story that breaks multiple boundaries. The story of Taki and Mitsuha is one that is told in parts, it’s not actually until later into the movie that we see Taki playing the role of Mitsuha. We do however get to witness the poor country girl attempt to navigate the high school and social life of a Tokyo high school boy with an after-school job. The casual comedy that just the simple character interactions create is a joy to watch.
There are several time skip moments in the film, using Shinkai’s distinctive art style to communicate the passage of time to the audience while little snippets of their swapped lives are placed in at fitting times to match the music that accompanies the scene. Again, the direction of this moment was easy to follow and lead well into the second half of the first act of the film.
I could talk for hours about the virtue of this film but beyond this point I would spoil all the good surprises so I will leave them for you to find on your own.
I give this movie the first 10/10 that I have given this year. It is a must watch for any Anime fan, or even someone who just loves good cinema. Be quick though, it is only in the country for a very limited time.