Review: Your Name
In the wake of Hayao Miyazaki’s supposed retirement after The Wind Rises, Studio Ghibli has managed to retain their strength as proven by Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s When Marnie Was There and Isao Takahata’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Outside of the studio however, is another wonder in Makoto Shinkai. Dubbed as a “new Miyazaki” in some circles, he has managed to convince me he has that sort of talent inside of him, having seen 5 Centimeters Per Second and now, Your Name. I was already moved by the humanistic approach he took with that earlier film, and here he brings it back once again.
Adapted from his novel of the same name, Your Name is an unconventional romance between a boy and a girl, who swap bodies. The girl, Mitsuha, lives in a more rural community whereas the boy, Taki, lives in the suburbs of Tokyo. Neither of them know each other, but from time to time they find themselves in place of the other, and begin to adjust to these changes in lifestyle. They wake up inside of their own bodies carrying memories of one another. A question is begged on the spot, what happens if the two meet up eventually, especially with the distance apart from one another?
What caught me about watching 5 Centimeters Per Second was how even at a short length of 63 minutes, the way it handled a sensitive approach to its humanism - resulting in an impact of greater significance. The environment that Shinkai adopts is a special one reminiscent of the films of Yasujiro Ozu, through how they slowly build up bigger moments from smaller actions, forming a closer connection with the primary characters. That these are two people who are at distance makes things even more moving and poignant.
In Your Name, what had me drawn in, however, was the fact that Makoto Shinkai doesn't depict the relationship between Mitsuha and Taki as a romance. The greater achievement comes from how Shinkai establishes a heightened emotional tension, on the count that these complete strangers have made an impact in another person’s life, to that point that a greater understanding is present between these two souls. What makes for a much more resonant effect is how Shinkai has presented a subtle allegory for relationships via social media. Two people can meet up on the internet and communicate with one another so much to the point they cannot live without one another, but they do not know each other. Shinkai’s strengths come from the emotions within a feeling of presence, and they build up to the point of combustion in its climax.
Your Name may or may not be the best anime film of the decade not associated with the work of Studio Ghibli, but I’ll be damned if I can find a similar power to the works of said studio’s offerings anywhere else. This could find itself along the lines of a masterpiece, because the impact it leaves behind is indescribable, for it builds on your patience only to exert more as it builds its way to the ending. If one wishes to expand their knowledge with anime, then Your Name is a way to go, for I have no doubt this is one of the decade’s best animated films. If the ending to this isn’t one of the best things to have come from an animated film all through the decade, I wouldn’t even know what to say.