Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa) (2016)

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For two whole weeks my students have been telling me about this anime, Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name), begging me to check it out. Over the grapevine I also learned that it is the first non-Ghibli non-series based anime movie to earn over 10 billion yen. So last night we did and I have to say it is truly one amazing entertainer with intelligence to boot. It was so good we felt so lost what to see next and so we didn’t. We wanted nothing to ruin the unique experience.

I will spare everyone the synopsis and plot details because the experience of going into this totally blind is rollercoaster-fantastic. What I will just say is writer-director Makoto Shinkai took some great risks with the narrative and it pays huge dividends in terms of storytelling. This is not something you can sit back and let the story do all the work; you will need to constantly think about what you are seeing, as well as where and when it is all taking place. I love it when a director respects the viewers and brings the game to me. After the electric pace gender bending opening act I have no doubt that like me your mind will throw up the direction of what the narrative will take. You and I would be so wrong. I was gobsmacked at every twist and turn the narrative takes which subverts all my expectations. Shinkai also does a monster mishmash of so many genres that I didn’t see when the romantic euphoria ended and when the detective procedural began. He even embeds an element of horror and melancholia. All through this widely imaginative ride he knows where the beating heart is – the relationship between the two star-crossed lovers separated by time and space.

Above everything else, the anime captures something so elusive so beautifully. By elusive I mean the temporal seconds you were waking up from a sweet dream, your entire being is still consumed by last night’s dream and the memory of it immediately dissipates as you step into the waking world. However, the essence of the dream continues to envelope you throughout the entire day like a cocoon; you will try to hold on to the remnants unsuccessfully. Name one film that got that magical quality spot-on. Shinkai’s Kimi No Na Wa got this right many times over. Everyone needs to grab your loved ones and watch this like all your lives depended on it.

 

4.5 / 5

Skip the trailer if you want the full experience like me

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2 thoughts on “Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa) (2016)

  1. You are absolutely right in recommending a “blind” viewing – I went in knowing next to nothing about the plot and it made the experience much more enjoyable. I do believe though, that the trailer doesn’t spoil one’s viewing of the movie. It provides just enough information without giving away the best moments.

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    1. You are probably right. I first saw it in the comfort of my own home, but I needed to see it again at the cinema. There is something about watching a good movie in a cinema with so many people (a near full house screening) that is so communal. The collective laughter, the shocked gasp, the heavy sigh and the sound of everyone swallowing a lump in their throat is so transcendingly incredible. I still managed to notice little details and nuances that I missed the first time. This is such an original love story. I can’t wait to see it again in hi-def in my home theatre.

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