My previous review of Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa) tackles body swap, loneliness, self-discovery, tragedy, and connection. There is no doubt it's a unique anime, and we are reminded about it's 'specialness' almost on a daily basis:

An article by Hiromi Nagamochi at The Asahi Shimbun talks about the 'sudden influx' of visitors to Hida at Gifu Prefecture, one of the locations in Your Name:

The surge in interest stems from comments Shinkai made about Hida, the northernmost city in Gifu Prefecture. He said he had Hida in mind for a rural town in which the heroine in the story lives. This caused a buzz among social networking service users who pointed out that the city looks identical to the fictional town. [ read more ]

Nagamochi further explains that people armed with smartphones and cameras " surge toward an overpass on the north side of the station building at Hida-Furukawa Station on the JR Takayama Line. The structure is considered a model for the station where Taki gets off at the end of his trip from Tokyo to find Mitsuha. The station building, the platforms and other structures around the station have been faithfully re-created in the film."

He has a photo to show exactly what the 'surge' looks like:

Hida Furukawa is located in Hida City, Gifu Prefecture. Hida Furukawa, like Hida Takayama, is situated along the Miya River. The two towns are often referred to as “twins,” and both preserve the atmosphere of the Edo Period. A number of tributaries join the Miya River near the town of Furukawa. One of them is the Seto River, which flows through a small canal that cuts through the town. Colorful carp swim about in the canal, which is lined on either side by old warehouses with dazzling white walls. [ Japan: The Official Guide ]


Fast Japan went a little bit further, exploring the real location with Shinkai's anime scenes - showing side by side - a photo of the actual location in Japan with the anime.

One particular location that has kept me excited is the one with the "meteor hole" but is actually a volcanic island in Japan:

Aogashima is a volcanic island and is located south of Hachijojima. This island is said to be the model of one part of Itomori town, Mitsuha’s hometown and it is important place for Mitsuha and Taki to reach the truth. Since the island is such as remote location, just getting there is an adventure. There is only one helicopter that goes to and from the island and it seats only nine passengers. The best way to get to Aogashima is take an airplane from Haneda airport to Hachijojima island. Then transfer to a helicopter there. If you decide to go by boat, there is only a 50% chance that you will actually make it there. This is due to the lack of beaches and natural bays on this island which makes docking any vessels risky and dangerous. [ read more at Fast Japan for details of each location/anime scenes ]


Do you have a favorite scene in the anime? This one just got to be a favorite of many...


I've selected two reviews of Your Name with thoughts that resonate with how I also feel: 

Just because it is cartoon, do not for an instant think it is going to be “easy”, either in the narrative it pursues, which weaves back and forth like the complex braid patterns it celebrates, or the themes it touches upon. This is Japanese anime at its glorious best, beautifully drawn, dazzlingly coloured - an engaging story backed up by a thoroughly absorbing assembly of images that move you effortlessly from the bustle of modern Tokyo, to rural tradition and back again. [  Jane Fae at Eye for Film ]

and here's another review celebrating its glorious beauty:

Your Name probably won’t propel Shinkai into mainstream moviegoer consciousness in the West in the way Spirited Away did for Miyazaki: the themes are too adult for kids, the plot too complex and confusing for those used to Hollywood-linear, and it’s devoid of the whimsy which saw Disney pick up the Studio Ghibli films for English language markets. But any anime devotee who isn’t already following Makoto Shinkai definitely should be from this point on. He proves himself to be a passionate and creative director with a superlative sense of anime visuals. Having has teased us with the possibility of adult character themes in a mainstream anime vehicle and having found great commercial success at home, let’s hope that Shinkai feels confident enough to push a few boundaries in his next feature. [ Mark Brandon, Animation for Adults ]

 

I think that besides the superlatives for Shinkai being the next Hayao Miyazaki, I tend to gravitate towards the younger animator because of the emotional impact his work has on me. The 'Garden of Words' is particularly special since I love the way he depicted his main character - Takao Akizuki. Aside from Garden, Five Centimeters Per Second is a personal favorite, but it was replaced by Kimi No Na Wa.

Having been exposed to Japanese anime since primary school, I get it that mechas can have feelings too, what more if the character is patterned from a real human being or at least inspired by one? Takao, the shoemaker, Takaki, the computer programmer and Taki and Mitsuha are as ordinary as anyone you have met - be it a close friend or someone who goes to the same school. 

 

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