Your Name is a Japanese animation film by Makoto Shinkai (same director as 5 Centimeters Per Second), and it is the best movie of 2016.
Many people compare this film to the work of Hayao Miyazaki, a man who created some of the best Japanese animation films of all time (Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, and Princess Mononoke just to name a few famous titles). In fact, Your Name passed Princess Mononoke this year at the Japanese Box Office1. So far, I’ve watched it twice in the span of two months, and I still love it. The first time I ever watched it, it blew my mind.
The essential story line revolves around a pair of high schoolers: Mitsuha, a shaman-apprentice at her family’s shrine in a rural town called Itomori, and Taki, a city boy in Tokyo who works part-time at a restaurant. The two realize that they are switching bodies in a dream-like state, and try to survive through this mysterious phenomenon, resulting in an unlikely friendship that leads to love. This all sounds very cliche and overdone, but Shinkai adds a plot twist into it.
Shinkai delicately weaves in gender swapping with time travel, as well as the embarrassing and funny moments of youth into a J-pop OST. Perhaps the thing I love the most about this movie is the way everything ties in together so neatly. There are no loose ends, just like the braided cords Mitsuha makes at the shrine with her grandma. The concept of gods being able to share and connect bodies with time and space, and the idea of the twilight zone that Mitsuha first learns in class all comes back around, and that’s what makes a good story even better.
My fingers are itching to type up all my thoughts on this beautifully executed film, but I want everybody to watch it so I am trying not to spoil too much of it. What can I tell you without spoiling the entire movie?
Probably nothing. Please go watch it.