The ties that bind
At some point in ours lives, we asks ourselves the question that everybody ponders about: is the grass greener on the other side? One can't help but think what life looks or feels like from the perspective of another; it's only natural after growing accustomed to the mundanity and repetitiveness we go through everyday. This is how Mitsuha (voiced by Stephanie Sheh), one of the protagonists of Your Name, feels about her life in the countryside who wishes nothing more but to leave her humble mountain town to venture in the city of Tokyo. In contrast, Taki (voiced by Michael Sinterniklaas) is an aspiring high school student in Tokyo who wants to become an architect when he graduates. A strange phenomenon occurs when the two go to sleep as they awaken in the other's body. At first the two believe it to be a dream but they soon realize that their out-of-body experiences are much too real when they can't recall the events of what had happened the day before when they wake up. Soon afterwards, the two start keeping tabs of the events and actions that have taken place during their body swap while developing a bond between the two, questioning whether if this situation of theirs was either accidental or fate. I went in to Your Name with zero expectations with little details on the story; the only thing I
knew about the film was the director's previous work, the only two I've ever seen were Children Who Chase Lost Voices and The Place Promised in Our Early Days. Makoto Shinkai has become notoriously known for combining heavy sci-fi themes with pain-painstakingly detailed animation. Some of his earlier films have been hit-or-miss but he has finally perfected his craft with Your Name. The plot this time dials back the sci-fi elements instead opting for a much more grounded plot surrounding the themes of human connection and the power of love. Your Name's animation is just flat-out gorgeous and while it will dazzle the eyes, it will also touch your heart thanks to the depth and scope of every scene. Subtle moments such as when Taki finds the
town Mitsuha resides in is both visually impressive and heart-wrenching to look at. I won't say why as giving even the smallest hint would spoil the whole movie which is why I recommend you see this film with the least bit of knowledge on the story as the film will definitely surprise you. Your Name is one of the few anime films outside the scope of Ghibli and Miyazaki that succeeds in being universally entertaining while expanding the medium at the same time. I don't think I've ever seen a movie such as Your Name that felt more than an animated film; it's touching story, endearing characters and profound themes of destiny create an unforgettable experience. If you've been searching for a gateway anime, Your Name is the perfect choice.