Makoto Shinkai might be one of the greatest talents of modern day, and as a writer and anime fan myself, I don’t say that lightly. He has deemed us all worthy of this marvellous feat that is Kimi no Na wa (Your Name), and it’s exactly a film like this that makes me grateful to be alive. The story is the true masterpiece here; Shinkai shows mastery in the art of writing, managing to interweave multiple storylines into one bigger picture. This is a film about love, but also so much more.
Shinkai introduces several seemingly unrelated ideas, which at one point had me wondering how any of these could be relevant to each other. I saw various directions the story could go; perhaps focusing on the theme of family, coming of age, or accepting one’s place in life, and although all of these are touched upon, this is ultimately a film about love. And Shinkai somehow manages to bring it all together in a neatly tied bowed at the end.
There’s a fine line between humour and drama, and the perfect balance is under Shinkai’s command entirely. Making you laugh one minute and cry the next is not an easy feat. Though I initially pondered who the characters actually were, their personalities came secondary to the plot and that was okay. By the end of the movie I even knew who all the minor characters were, if only just, but somehow there was no need for more characterisation because the story pulled them all forward.
It should not come as a surprise that Kimi no Na wa looks stunning. Hell, the cinematography alone is reason enough to go see this movie. Shinkai showcases some great scenery of Japan, both inside and outside the city. Still shots of the bustling metropolitan life contrasts how the dull country-side comes alive with gorgeous colours.
Shinkai’s attention to detail is impressive, and it’s clear he’s done his research in making this movie. Everything in frame serves a purpose; no space is wasted. Every prop is there to tell you something about the characters, time, or story. There’s great use of colour and symbolism, so much this movie warrants numerous rewatches to catch it all.
If I have any complaints at all, and I don’t even know if you could call it that, it would be the overall episodic feeling of the film. With an opening sequence resembling that of an anime series, as well as the gradually introduced ideas that keep coming well into the movie and up until the halfway point, it sometimes seems more like a television series than a feature film. I imagine this would translate well into a one-cour anime, especially as there are several characters, and potential storylines and themes that go unexplored. However, making this into a series rather than a film would be on the expense of the animation quality, which is a vital component in Shinkai’s works.
I am in awe of this film. I will watch it over and over until I die. This has been the final work that has led me to put Makoto Shinkai on a pedestal to be worshipped for all eternity. The story is heartwarming and original, the animation extraordinary, the characters sweet, funny, and relatable at the same time, and I haven’t even mentioned the soundtrack (which was – you guessed it – great). I was not bored for one second watching this, and I cannot recommend it enough. 10/10