sleepy’s review published on Letterboxd:
I've been dying to check out this movie since around this time last year when I first heard about it. Makoto Shinkai's previous works I've checked out have both been really good and their aesthetics in particular really wowed me. Those films, 5 Centimetres per Second and The Garden of Words, were pretty short but now with Your Name he's tackling similar ideas on a grander scale.
It's really exciting to see that this film has obtained such widespread success as it's bound to lead to more films from Shinkai and he could become the next anime powerhouse director. This film expands on the themes of human connection from his earlier work by creating a bigger scaled plot that feels more deserving of his trademark melodrama and J-Pop interludes. The first act is an incredibly charming dual slice of life plot, twisted by the fact that the two protagonists switch bodies every other day to their bewilderment.
As the plot smoothly chugs along it takes a fairly big shift that I really wasn't expecting. I feel like it works really well though and allows itself to stand apart from all the other movies that tackle the body-swapping idea. There are a few conveniences within the plot that can be uncovered from what I can ascertain, but the film gets fantastical to a point where it's pretty easy to forgive. By the end it successfully achieves a genuine emotional climax as well and I really enjoyed the two lead characters a whole lot.
Of course since it's a Makoto Shinkai film, the visuals have to be mentioned. This movie is gorgeous in every frame and has such fantastic dynamic lighting and luscious landscapes. It doesn't really aim for a consistent aesthetic like his previous films, but I really loved the juxtaposed atmospheres of Tokyo and a small country town, each offering their own anime vistas.
What do ya know? This lived up to the almost year long hype I built up for it in my head. I think this is the logical step up for Shinkai based upon his previous works and it's probably his best that I've seen. Beautiful, charming and emotional, despite occasional detours into overt sentimentality through cheesy melodrama fuelled by J-pop songs.