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Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name, a Complex Tale of Young Love

Photo+by+Bagogames%2C+available+under+Creative+Commons+Attribution-Noncommercial+license.
Photo by Bagogames, available under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

Photo by Bagogames, available under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

Photo by Bagogames, available under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

Lahela Delaney, Editor

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Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name is a beautifully animated continuation of his small handful of emotionally-wrought movies. Known in Japan for his youthful, realistic portrayals of young love, Shinkai succeeds on a scale entirely separate from his previous installments, The Garden of Words and 5 Centimeters per Second, in both brilliance and the box office.

Your Name has a plot line reminiscent of Lindsay Lohan’s Freaky Friday, if it was written by Haruki Murakami. Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi), a young girl from rural Japan that maintains her family’s small temple shrine, and Taki (Ryunosuke Kamiki), a teenage boy from Tokyo, wake after the passing of a comet to find that they are routinely switching bodies when they go to sleep. Once they return to themselves, they find it difficult to remember each other’s names, an issue that quickly becomes the centerpoint of the plot and fittingly inspired the title.

The movie is equal parts light-hearted and insightful. The depth with which Shinkai handles Mitsuha’s dedication to tradition as a shrine maiden versus the pulls of her modern adolescent desires strikes a chord with audience members and the contrast between Taki and Mitsuha’s lives are also captured elegantly. The tentative affection both characters hold for one another despite not really knowing each other is a heart-warming situation that is done with grace.

Although the movie takes a strange, metaphysical, time-bending detour as Taki eventually leaves his city to meet the girl he both loves and lives as, the piece itself is crafted so tenderly that it enhances the movie instead of cluttering it. Your Name shifts from a simple teenage romance to a commentary on memory and love, tradition and disaster, in increasingly charming fashion. The difficult issues the movie grapples with, wherein love is not necessarily the solution to all of Taki and Mitsuha’s problems, is as gut-wrenching as it is satisfying.

Not to be forgotten is the overwhelming soundtrack that characterizes the movie. Done entirely by J-Rock band Radwimps, each song adds to the atmosphere and enhances the already stunning hyper-realistic animation that Shinkai is known for. The combination of the music, the art, the talented voice acting, and the depth of the plot come together to create a truly magical film in Your Name.

Your Name is rated PG-13 and is currently screening in the United States.

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Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name, a Complex Tale of Young Love