Your Name

At long last, America is getting graced with the movie everyone was talking about in Japan last year. No, not the fucking turtle movie. But Your Name, an anime that broke a lot of records last year, and it isn’t even produced by Studio Ghibli!

A lot of hype for this film, a lot of positive talk, and The Academy ignored it. Heck, I wouldn’t have been able to see it before the Oscars, but as long as it took the place of My Life As A Zucchini, then I would have at least understood why and been in the same place I am now.

And full warning for all of you purists, I watched this movie dubbed, despite the subtitle option later in the day. So my tags are going to be for the American actors who I heard talking, and not the original voices. Sorry, but not sorry.

There is just something magical about not having to read in the theater.

When Mitsuha (Stephanie Sheh) wakes up one morning, she seems lost and confused. A lot of talks about dreams. But her sister (Catie Harvey) and grandmother (Glynis Ellis) say she was a bit weird the day before. And so do her friends, Katsuhiko (Kyle Hebert) and Sayaka (Cassandra Morris). Mitsuha doesn’t remember a thing, but what she did sounds nothing like her! However, she does find a note in her book, with the question “Who Are You?”.

And then, the next day, she wakes up in the body of a boy named Taki (Michael Sinterniklaas). He has a penis and it is weird and she can’t even. But she tries to make it through the day, insisting the whole time it is a dream. She meets his friends (Ben Pronsky, Ray Chase), and manages to screw up the work shift, but she does help out an older employee, Miss Okudera (Laura Post), whom Taki has a crush on.

Great! Body switching. It seems to happen almost every other day, where they both switch bodies and have to live their lives. Which means a lot of genitalia confusion. Once they realize fully what is going on and that it isn’t a dream, they start to find ways to communicate with each other. They leave diaries about their day on their phones, so they can inform the person and make the transition smoother. And they lay out ground rules on what they can and cannot do with their bodies.

Somehow, they both seem to improve the lives of their temporary host. But that is only the beginning of the story, and it goes a lot of places once they decide they need to meet each other.

And no, they will not just meet casually on some stairs like this promo art will have you believe.

Oh no! My emotions! I seem to have dropped them all over the place it just makes me upset, sad, relived, and happy all at the same time! The film was at 105 minutes, but it seemed so much longer based on how much it was able to go over and with the tone shifts that occurred. My plot outline has to only go over the first third, before they try to meet. Maybe the first half, and talking more about it will only spoil the discovery for yourself.

My first thoughts were how I planned on explaining the movie to my wife, because she would enjoy the story, but as I cried in happiness at the end, I realized it is the type of thing that is better seen first, not spoiled.

If we are being completely honest, a lot of components in this film are pretty standard anime story fare, and the ending itself isn’t a surprise. But the inclusion of fantasy elements, even on the low scale that this film gives us, with some science fiction elements, it deals with some pretty hardcore stuff. I won’t say the film did it perfectly, but it tried to be different and original with its actual plot, despite the inclusion of pretty general character tropes.

I apologize for being vague, but it is just really important to me. Your Name is a wonderful experience. Not everything done in the film necessarily makes sense, and it takes awhile to understand a lot of it. But it should be praised for going in as hard as they did. The animation is also quite beautiful and it appears to take anime in a new level of eyegasm. At least somewhere they are still improving and kicking ass in the 2D animation department.

Your Name should be watched, and it helps conclude 2016 for being one of the best animated film years for a long time. It is a shame that 2017 is looking like the polar opposite in terms of quality.

4 out of 4.

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