Your Name. ★★★★½

My 2000th film and I’m proud of it! What makes this experience more special, was I watched it with my brother and sister. They’re not into the long, dull, foreign films I often watch but sat with me to check it out. After the film the both enthusiastically told me how much they loved “Your Name”. I think they even liked it more than me. Not to say I didn’t love it, because I absolutely did, but they kept telling me how much of a great movie that was for them, and that made me feel happy, that I could share art with somebody.

“Your Name” is one of the most acclaimed films from 2016, a film I really wanted to see, but unfortunately missed, but it seemed to work out. The concept of body-switching is nothing new to movies, but leave it to Japanese anime to put an interesting spin on the idea. What makes this situation unique is that the two subjects switching bodies don’t know each other. Unlike a daughter switching place with a mother, our two protagonists have never met, which makes it much more difficult for our subjects to not only discover what to do in their temporary life, but to discover themselves and what they really want. In addition, the pair switch back and forth day after day due to some supernatural coincidence with a comet that isn’t quite explained, but makes their adventure more mysterious.

I thought the film was going to be a much more simple, easy-going tale of how the two characters impact the others life, something I was looking forward to. However, the film then took a more dramatic turn halfway through, something that you would expect to be tonally inconsistent but it surprisingly flowed very well and weaved into a climactic and emotional finale. Even the soundtrack builds on the development of the magic flowing on screen. Japanese Rock may not be everyone’s thing, but me and my siblings really adored the music. It’s hard to explain this film a whole lot because it relies heavily on subjective emotions, but trust me when I say, the acting, animation, story and music are all wonderful, and it won’t leave you disappointed.

Mokoto Shinkai is one of the most visually stunning animation directors I have ever seen. I’ve never seen an animated film make such great use of artificial lighting. Not to mention his films always contain lush and vibrant colors. Shinkai to me is the Wong Kar-Wai of anime visually spectacular, moody, and vibrant, pitching the perfect aesthetics to create the mood. So if there are any Wong fans out there that haven’t given anime a try, this might be a good place to start!

The characters of Taki and Mitsuha are wonderful and have a great relationship despite only meeting about twice in the film. Mitsuha lives in the rural country of Japan and dreams of escaping to a much more glorious place like Tokyo. Taki lives in Tokyo and dreams of becoming an architect. Taki seems neither satisfied of dissatisfied and lives a pretty normal life, only until he switches bodies with Mitsuha does he realize something great is missing from his life. While Mitsuha wishes she had the opportunities that Taki had, he takes a lot of things in his life for granted and learns that there are things in life worth going after. Taki helps Mitsuha explore the life she always wanted, while Mitsuha helps show Taki the joys of ambition.I also appreciate how ensemble our two characters feel. The film had a perfect balance of making it equally revolving around both characters in this situation, when it could easily tilted to focusing more on one of the two then the other.

“Your Name” is just a beautiful emotional journey, feeling every mood and thought that our characters feel. It’s about the connections we cannot explain, it’s about the transcendent mystery of love and the unattainable grasp to understand it. Well, it may not exactly explore this, but that’s not the goal of the film. “Your Name” aims to show the pure essence of love and just show the effects and the deep emotional impacts it leaves. It doesn’t need to be explained, because in the end it doesn’t really matter to you. You’re just glad that you experienced the emotional roller coaster and that it happened to you.