Your Name.

Your Name. ★★★★½

Your Name was recently released here in Danish theatres, and today I watched it along with my brother. While it was a weird experience, in that we were the only ones at the screening (we saw it during the afternoon), it still felt rewarding to us to finally able to watch it on the big screen. Your Name is a film I recommend to everyone, even if you don't like anime or animated films in general, because it is a beautiful film that I feel you should watch.

I should make it clear that I like anime, but I admit I haven't seen as many anime shows or films as I want to. To put this in perspective, Your Name, along with The Garden of Words which I saw today after seeing the former, along with both my brother and sister, were both the first films I had seen directed by Makoto Shinkai. My favorite anime show is probably Trigun, while my favorite anime film would be Spirited Away. With that said, I'm definitely curious about Shinkai's previous work after having watched Your Name.

What I liked about this film was its direction. Especially its highly detailed, almost photorealistic, animation, which is apparently a trademark of Shinkai's, which further enhanced the grounded natures of our two main characters Taki and Mitsuha, who somehow switches bodies. We might have stylized shots such as the beautiful panorama shots and the occasional rotating shots that might imply that this film takes itself very seriously, but thankfully, it doesn't. The serious exterior of the film is contrasted brilliantly by the humorous nature of this somewhat outlandish plot, that leads to both some comedic moments, often about certain body parts, but also to some contemplative and romantic moments. The style of the animation and the oddity of the plot might seem to clash on a surface level, but thanks to the film showing some self-awareness, I could look past the potential plot holes that could occur in a story that involves time-travel and body-swapping mostly because of the genuine maturity displayed in the environments and characters. Talk about disparate elements combining to elevate each other to a higher level.

The only problems I might have with the film could probably be the editing in the beginning, which can be a bit off-putting to some, since the film takes its time to connect the scatterbrained early sections to make it coherent with the rest of the film. The film has pacing issues in that regard, and I do feel more could have been done to make the film feel somewhat cohesive than the end product eventually is. Certain jokes felt a bit overplayed, too. With that said, I still liked how everything wrapped up by the end, despite these issues.

In conclusion, Your Name is easily one of my favorite films of 2016 (going by international release year here), and it is an anime film I recommend to anyone curious about watching a great anime that doesn't take itself too seriously, but still resonates deeply enough for me to be a truly rewarding experience.

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