The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Your Name: Remarks about a future review

“Sometimes things aren’t clear right away. That’s where you need to be patient and persevere and see where things lead.” —Mary Pierce

Makoto Shinkai’s Kimi no na wa (the English title, Your Name, will be used from here on out) is one of 2016’s biggest anime movies; while its box office numbers are smaller than those of Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the film’s sales have reached a total of 11.1 billion yen (roughly 111 million USD), putting it at nearly five times the total box office gross that Girls und Panzer Der Film made. The trailers hinted at a narrative involving exchange of conciousness between a Tokyo high school male student and a high school female student living in rural Japan. Your Name is inspired by the classical Heian work, Torikaebaya Monogatari, where two siblings possessed mannerisms are those of the opposite sex, as well as Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, in which the eponymous characters fall in love with one another after Griffin receives a post card from Sabine that changes his life forever. With a more compelling and immersive narrative than any of his previous films, Shinkai casts Your Name as a powerful story where themes of distance and longing are now interwoven with initiative and resolve. His characters take charge of their situation and are no longer passive observers; they actively make an effort towards altering their circumstances, resulting in a film that is rather more conclusive and satisfying, even if some elements are roughly presented.

  • Kimi no na wa will hitherto be known as Your Name for easier typing. In this short preview review, I utilise screenshots obtained from the trailers, hence their quality, although I’m rather excited to see how sharp screenshots will look in full 1080p. Makoto Shinkai’s films look amazing in full quality, and since The Place Promised In Our Early Days, I’ve aimed to watch his films at the best possible quality to really take in all of the visual elements.

  • Makoto Shinkai’s interior environments are incredibly detailed and give a very lived-in feeling: the trend continues into Your Name, with Taki’s room filled with clutter appropriate for that of a high school student. His iPhone 6 is visible here, and throughout the movie, he uses the LINE app for communications. A Japanese platform for instant messaging and VOIP conversations, I prefer to use Skype only because all of my contacts, save one, use Skype.

  • Mitsuha expresses total frustration at the monotony in her life, shouting out that she wishes to respawn as a “handsome Tokyo boy” with the expectation that life could be more exciting. The movie juxtaposes this with her experiences as Taki, who leads a busy life. On top of being a student, he works part time at an Italian restaurant. On the topic of respawning, I’m still early to be thinking about that sort of thing, but should respawns be real, I’d probably like a chance to live in the Japanese countryside.

  • Notions of conscious transfer and body-swapping remains (thankfully) confined to the realm of fiction for the present: if someone were to swap places with me for a day, the kind of chaos it would cause would be immense. Because such a transfer is impossible, people strongly identify individuals based on their appearance as much as their personalities, so an exchange of any sort would result in an identity crisis of sorts.

  • In Your Name, Makoto Shinkai takes his animation to the next level: where Taki is in Mitsuha’s place, he gropes Mitsuha and results in Mitsuha’s younger sister growing suspicious. Later, during a basketball game, Taki executes a move that Mitusha would unlikely carry out, and the camera angles illustrate that non-rigid physics in Your Name are also well-tended to, standing in contrast with his previous films.

  • One of the elements I will need to consider for the figure captions in the full review is how to refer to the characters while they’re swapped, without resulting in any sort of confusion. The notation will probably resolve itself, and with no known release date for the BDs, I imagine there will be plenty of time to figure out how I will structure said review. The soundtrack, performed by RADWIMPS, is a reasonably enjoyable listen; I found myself enjoying the violin and piano pieces much more than the lyrical performances.

  • The vocal songs interspersed throughout Your Name are a bit different than the sort of music I enjoy, although they do add some impact to the film. I will aim to keep spoilers in this review to an absolute minimum, especially in light of how difficult it will be to access this movie in some places. Intel has been lacking, and besides the fact that Funimation’s licensed Your Name, dates and locations for North American screenings of this movie simply don’t exist.

  • A vast field in the top of a caldera is one of the locales in Your Name. The scale of the landscape is reminiscent of the finis terra of Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below, and while Your Name is ostensibly set in the real world, there are enough supernatural elements for the film to be classified as a fantasy, as well. The trailers have done a fantastic job of making it known that body switching is plays a substantial role in Your Name, although the movie itself uses this as one of many elements to deliver a multi-dimensional story.

  • Besides figuring out how to best present a talk on the themes in Your Name, I will also take advantage of the (presently) unknown time between now and the home release to eyeball whether or not the effects of an impact event is reasonably depicted in Your Name. I’m normally quite lax when it comes to accuracy in anime, but because Makoto Shinkai’s visuals are particularly good, I hold higher expectations; if the visuals correspond at least somewhat plausibly with real world observations, I will be satisfied.

  • As with Girls und Panzer Der Film, I will do my best to let readers know when a home release becomes a reality. With this post now done, and the fall season under way, I will tend to the Non Non Biyori Repeat OVA before Brave Witches kicks off.

Your Name is a moving and engaging film that features an optimistic theme; deriving a combination of elements from Five Centimeters per Second, Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below and The Garden of Words, Your Name tells a tale of separation as a smaller component in a much larger series of events. Driven by a desire to reach closure of some sort, Shinkai has his characters sieze the initiative rather than resigning themselves to what could have been in Your Name. The end result is an immensely meaningful conclusion to Your Name, and consequently, it is unsurprising that the film has performed as observed in the box office. At present, no information is available on when the home release is coming out, but I definitely will be doing a full review of the movie once the home release becomes available: like Girls und Panzer Der Film, it will be a larger talk with anywhere from sixty to ninety screenshots. Experience has found that such a post will take anywhere from nine to twelve hours to write, but this time, with the movie’s contents fresh on my mind, I’ll be able to distribute that time over a greater period, meaning that writing such a post will mean less exhaustion on my end.

4 responses to “Your Name: Remarks about a future review

  1. cloudst12 October 2, 2016 at 19:55

    I had been waiting for this movie since hearing about it last year. So, it was a real treat to be able to finally watch it.

    First of all, the visuals are terrific. Everything looks really much like real life. In fact, even the plateau caldera is a real life place that you can check out. In that sense, Shinkai has definitely outdone himself. Here’s a link to a comparison of the real-life places:
    https://fastjapan.com/en/p112544

    However, in my opinion, the story is a bit cliche. Everything just feels a bit too convenient for our protagonist. I won’t mention it here for the sake of spoilers but I feel that many things in the story feel like they just happen to fall on our protagonist’s lap.

    Now, I know that it’s hard to meet expectations when you’ve set the bar really high. And Makoto Shinkai definitely has set a really high bar for himself. In some ways, I feel that he has delivered, but the story of body swapping is a difficult undertaking for any story teller.

    It’s a good movie. But the message doesn’t feel as profound or relatable as that of 5 centimeters per second. I won’t talk about Shinkai’s earlier works – they were pretty abstract as well.

    Anime films (and animation films in general) tend to gross less than blockbuster movies. However, Kimi no Na Wa has definitely made it’s mark as the highest grossing anime film other than Hayao Miyazaki’s films. Actually, you should also check out the other movie that released this season, Koe no Katachi when it finally is available to watch.

    To be honest, I wouldn’t have minded watching a full version of Shinkai’s ad for Z-Kai. But that’s probably one for the future.

    Anyway, hope you’re doing fine. And see you when you post next.

    Cheers.

    Like

    • infinitezenith October 2, 2016 at 20:15

      They say time flies when you’re having fun, but what they ought to say is that time flies. I’m not surprised that many of the locations in Your Name are based off real places; Makoto Shinkai and his staff’s capacity to capture detail is unparalleled, rivaled only by the folks at Studio Ghibli. With that being said, I think that there is a limitation as to how high-quality the graphics can go in anime, and it seems that Shinkai’s hit his ceiling: Your Name looks roughly the same as Garden of Words, although that in itself is remarkable.

      The body-switching turned out to be a catalyst for another tale, and although the mechanisms were a little jagged, I found that the overall message, Your Name‘s raison d’être, as it were, was satisfactory. One aspect about Five Centimeters per Second that I disliked was the notion that distance and separation are final. If one loves and loses, he implies through Takaki that this loss is permanent. I’ve said this to others previously, but a part of the reason that Five Centimeters per Second his me particularly hard is because I see my life’s story in that movie. In fact, if I’d watched the movie recently, as opposed to five years ago, I would wonder how Shinkai got the script to my life. Your Name chooses a different approach, and I want to believe that life can roll that way, as well.

      I will definitely be checking out Koe no Katachi the instant it comes out; not to compare, but simply to see what that movie does and does well. I’m actually surprised I’ve managed to maintain my blogging output now that I’ve entered the workforce, so I won’t be disappearing into the shadows just yet. Soon on the horizon: I take on the Brave Witches episodic challenge🙂

      Like

  2. cloudst12 October 3, 2016 at 01:22

    Nice to hear that. Hope you don’t fade into obscurity too soon.😉

    Actually, I’ve watched the interview with Shinkai about his experience making 5 centimeters per second. His main message from there was mainly about how people move at different “speeds” in life. How you know, in school, time seemed to move at a constant pace but then when you’re out, everyone takes life at a different pace. Some people get married early, some people find work, some people are just messing around. I’m not out in the workforce yet but I can already see how different everyone moves. I’m sure you see it even more.

    The story really resonated with me too because it feels like as you said, as if Shinkai had a script of my life. But I think, that sometimes, distance is permanent in a way too. If one doesn’t play their cards right like Takaki, sometimes, the loss is permanent as well. The ending for 5 centimeters per second is sad, no doubt, but it’s realistic. But if you have a bit of time, the manga ending might provide a more meaningful end:
    http://mangafox.me/manga/byousoku_5_centimeter/v02/c010/29.html
    http://mangafox.me/manga/byousoku_5_centimeter/v02/c010/30.html

    I like that term “raison d’être”, “reason for life”. Kimi no Na Wa’s is that one should never give up on finding ‘that’ person.

    But, some days, I find myself asking if becoming Takaki Tohno and spending an entire life gazing at the sky to wait for something I would never reach is worth it. Then, recently, I realized that the answer is “no”. But I’m sure it depends as well.🙂

    I wasn’t planning on picking up any series this season, but since you’re going to cover Brave Witches, I guess I will as well. Looking forward to what you write.

    Med school is a busy life. Catch you around.

    Like

    • infinitezenith October 5, 2016 at 20:29

      When I decide to call it in completely, I’ll let my readers know. Until then, this blog is here to stay.

      With respect to the notion of variable speeds in life, I definitely understand that feeling. Life for me has been stepping on the gas; time passes faster and faster, it seems. I keep mentioning to my coworkers that days, weeks and months disappear too quickly — I sit down at work on Monday, type out some code, manage my team’s schedules and goals. In the blink of an eye, it’s Friday, and I ask myself, where did the week go? Yes, it was productive, and yes, we got stuff done, but where did the time go?

      I’ve read the manga in full, and I personally loved all of it, what with Sanae taking the initiative of visiting Tokyo and finding Takaki again. I don’t think I’ve made enough of an impact on others for people to do that with respect to relationships; it seems that my speciality is being remembered for making things work for people😛

      Similar to you, I’m generally a gung-ho, seize the initiative type of person, and I go out and make things happen rather than wait for them to happen, provided that “something” has value to me. The last time I waited for someone, I got burned*; it’s a story I’m (now) fond of sharing, since I learned something from the experiences. I’m a complete novice when it comes to relationships, but I realise that I’ve grown fond of my liberty, and for now, I’m not quite ready to trade that in just yet.

      Thanks again for dropping by to read the posts and add to the discussion; it’s always fun to learn and explore different perspectives. I’ve got numerous friends who are medical students, and they always remark on their busy schedules (some of my friends are doing clinical rotations right now).

      Liked by 1 person

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