The familiar and soothing voice of Ryunosuke Kamiki complemented by the equally soothing, yet quasi 'hardcore, melodic' soundtrack by Radwimps are just two of the reasons why Makoto Shinkai's latest anime Kimi no Na wa resonates to a broad spectrum of anime fans.
While body switching and time travel (or continuum if you like) are familiar themes in animation, how they highlight the development of the characters and the progress of the story make Kimi no Na wa a standout. What you get out of watching the film that runs for 107 minutes is that - it's not predictable nor pedestrian but heartwarming without being too sentimental.
Those words echoed throughout the film. It was perfectly in tune with how the two main characters feel - lonely, dislocated, confused, excited but ready to take on the world no matter how "lame" they may appear to be.
Mitsuha, the shy and reserved country girl, longs for a taste of the city and going to Tokyo appeals to her more than anything. With her Mom gone and her Dad into the thick of politics, Mitsuha endures the familiarity of everyday rural life. Her schoolmates' taunts and jealous glances did not help either. Luckily she has loyal friends to hang out with and a loving family.
Taki, on the other hand, is passionate about Architecture and wants to get away from the "pressures" of city life. But life is not too bad if you think about it - he pursues his beautiful senpai at the posh Italian restaurant he works part-time, and he has good pals that look out for him.
The comet Tiamat is assumed to be responsible for the phenomenon that both our protagonists will soon experience and alter their lives forever.
The body switching "began" as if they are dreams for both Mitsuha and Taki. The city boy becomes the country girl, (and vice versa) and the fun begins!
When Mitsuha (as Taki inside her body) began to touch "her" breast, the sexual awakening (or interest) piqued by being of the opposite sex is treated with such innocence I can't help but laugh.
Such scene endears the characters even more. Aside from the contradiction of being a boy and a girl at an age filled with confusion and the need for self-identity, Your Name expands the contrast by showcasing the modernity of Tokyo with the rural countryside, where tradition still dictates the way of life. Mitsuha's grandma represents this tradition:
It is also Musubi that connects Mitsuha and Taki.
The aftermath of the comet, as it strikes down Earth and that part of rural Japan made up the second half of the anime, expounding on the tale that started out like a light romance-adventure but became much more than that.
If you've seen Shinkai's previous film, The Garden of Words, then you will enjoy this anime even more. It feels complete and fulfilling and more balanced than "Words" and another of Shinkai's films, Children Who Chase Lost Voices (星を追う子ども Hoshi o Ou Kodomo) which is too ambitious for its own sake.
As of this writing, Kimi no Na Wa is already in the top 10 list of the highest grossing anime of all time.
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