Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Film Review: "Your Name" ("君の名は") (2016).

"Treasure the experience. Dreams fade away after you wake up." This is the underlying heart and soul of Your Name (君の名は). This Japanese fantasy anime film written and directed by Makoto Shinkai, based on Shinkai's novel of the same name. The film is centred on the fate and the hearts of two young high-schoolers, Mitsuha and Taki, who are complete strangers living separate lives. But one night, they suddenly switch places. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen randomly, and the two must adjust their lives around each other. When a dazzling comet lights up the night's sky, something shifts, and they seek each other out wanting something more - a chance to finally meet. But try as they might, something more daunting than distance prevents them.

Taking inspiration from works such as Shūzō Oshimi's Inside Mari, Ranma ½, the Heian period novel Torikaebaya Monogatari, and Greg Egan's short story The Safe-Deposit Box, as well as the Great Eastern Earthquake of Japan in 2011, Shinkai's novel had proven to be a success, which sold around 1,029,000 copies. It was inevitable that a feature film adaptation was to come to fruition. While the town of Itamori is fictional, the film drew inspirations from real-life locations such as the city of Hida in the Gifu Prefecture and its library, Hida City Library. Behind one of the film's strongest contributions, Shinkai had requested Noda Yojiro, the vocalist of the Japanese rock band Radwimps, to compose its music "in a way that the music will (supplement) the dialogue or monologue of the characters".

The film features the voice talents of Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Masami Nagasawa, Etsuko Ichihara and Aoi Yūki. Like all of Shinkai's works, characters are always at the heart of his films. Shinkai has once again brought out dynamic characterisations and performances from his cast. The important thing is that the film never dictates how you should feel towards the characters. In addition, between the interactions and the dialogue exchanges between each character, everything is as clear as night and day.

Your Name is an astonishing film that truly feels like the culmination of Shinkai’s entire career up until this point. It is quite simply his crowning achievement. By any standard it's an impressive anime; but the fact that it is only his fifth outing, it's remarkable. This is perhaps the most important anime film of the new millennium. I suspect that in 10 years, film buffs worldwide will be pointing to this film as the mandatory must-see. It is here one can see why Shinkai is hailed as "the next Miyazaki". One thing's for sure, like Miyazaki, Shinkai has the ability to pierce the veil of the everyday to reveal a poignant, evanescent beauty most of us notice only in rare moments. The film's score by Radwimps is heartbreakingly perfect and very much contributes to the success of the film. In the end, the film is a supreme and a magical anime offering.

Simon says Your Name receives:

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