April 29, 2017
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“Anyways, this is a good movie. I was genuinely moved by the displays of courage and sacrifice in the name of what they felt was right. So Mitsuha and Taki can have their moment, I’ll give them that, because at the end of the day, you win some, and you lose some. And today, they are about to win some, big time! The Blu-Rays are about to come out, and we are about to take them on a test run! Believe! Believe that!” –Kylo Ren on the announcement
Update: The release date of July 26 has been officially announced as of May 10.
I open with the remark that there has been no official announcement yet: this information is relatively recent, and its authenticity is unverified. Derived from a lower-resolution photograph of a promotional poster that was handed out with some stores accompanying purchases, it seems that Your Name will be available for purchase on July 26, 2017. Continuing with translation of the poster finds that there will be four tiers of the film available for purchase: the basic DVD will cost 3800 yen (46.56 CAD) and the standard edition BD will be 4800 yen (58.81 CAD). The special edition BD will include two bonus disks (likely containing the behind-the-scenes and other materials), plus a special booklet and artwork. This one will retail for 7800 yen (88.21 CAD). Finally, the ultimate collector’s edition BD will go for 12000 yen (147.02 CAD). The ultimate collector’s edition is notably less than the price of Battlefield 1: Ultimate Edition, which costs 165 CAD, and two dollars more than picking up Battlefield 1 and Battlefield 1 Premium Pass separately at current exchange rates: at the top-tier, consumers will get five disks in total (two for the movie, and three for behind-the-scenes features), plus a one-hundred page booklet and all-new visuals. Of note is the fact that there is going to be a 4K version: a resolution of 3840 × 2160 pixels, such a version of Your Name will look fabulous on screens ranging from 4K monitors to the iPad Pro tablets.
- Unlike Girls und Panzer Der Film, as I’m no longer a student, I cannot spend a full day writing a larger review: that post took twelve hours over the course of a day to write, and taking a day off work for an anime movie review makes no sense. With this in mind, having seen the movie previously, I’ve got a very good idea of what to write about going into the projected BD release date: I will aim to have the review (likely eclipsing even Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s review and discussion in size) out on the same day that my copy of Your Name arrives.
This news comes five years after I learned of the K-On! Movie‘s release, which was also set to be in July. The three month timeframe between the announcement and actual release is consistent with the K-On! Movie, as well as Girls und Panzer Der Film (which was also announced roughly three months before release) both cases, so while the July 26 release date is presently unconfirmed, I imagine that official news will be appearing quite soon. Further to this, the soundtrack for Your Name released on July 26, 2016, a month before the movie itself premièred in Japanese theatres. Finally, I’ve heard that Your Name‘s theatrical run in Japan drew to a close last week. The sum of these observations point in a direction to support the authenticity of this news; should Your Name indeed be released on July 26, the wait for this movie, however arduous it has been for the past several months, will have been worth something. At the minimum, Your Name will not be as elusive as Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2 Episode 3. It will be fantastic to be able to watch Your Name in proper HD on my own screens.
October 1, 2016
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“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.
December 18, 2015
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“I am searching for you, whom I have never met yet.” —Movie Tagline
Late in January 2015, Makoto Shinkai posted to his blog that he was working on the storyboards to a new story. Nearly a year later, the film’s title and story has been released. Called “Kimi no Na wa” (Your Name), the new film is going to follow the seemingly disparate lives of two high school students shortly after a comet has impacted Japan for the first time in a millennium. Mitsuba (Moka Kamishiraishi) lives in rural Japan but longs to move to a city its hustle and bustle. She frequently experiences dreams of life as a young man. Taki (Ryuunosuke Kamiki) lives in Tokyo; working part time at an Italian restaurant, he has a particularly strong interest in architecture, but dreams that he’s a female student attending a rural high school. This enigmatic connection seemingly links the two together and appears to form the basis for the main story, leading one to question what secrets said connection entails, and how all of this relates with the impact event. The unique combination of everyday familiarity with a touch of fantasy is distinctly Makoto Shinkai, and as per the post’s title, it will be released in Japanese theatres somewhere in August 2016. A bit of pattern analysis suggests that a home release will follow anywhere from two to six months after depending on its length (so, if it’s an hour or less, it’s quite possible that the movie could be out as soon as September-October 2016, while a feature-length movie exceeding 90 minutes will probably mean a home release in February 2017).
Screenshots and Commentary
- Impact events have a very profound effect on the immediate landscape, and larger impacts can significantly alter the planet’s climate. Sources are painting the impacting object as a comet, although this is technically incorrect: most comets average from several hundred meters to tens of kilometers across. An object with a 75 meter diameter would hit the surface with roughly 100 MT, which would annihilate a major city and yield a 1.5 kilometer wide crater. The smallest of comets, a few hundred meters in diameter, would impact with 15 GT, enough energy to destroy an area the size of Taiwan. So, the translations might not be accurate, and the impacting object is probably an asteroid no greater than 10 metres in diameter.
- Discussions off-site marvel at the level of detail that an iPhone 6 is depicted in. There are just enough differences between the real-world equivalent and this fictionalised version to avoid a lawsuit: while the interface seen on the screen is clearly iOS 9, the fictionalised phone’s edges are more angular than that of its real-world counterpart. I upgraded my Nokia Lumia 520 to an iPhone 6 more than a month ago for iOS development purposes, and because I’m quite familiar with the iOS ecosystem, this phone’s proven to be far more useful than my old Windows Phone.
- I still retain enough of my Chinese knowledge to read the squared-out section as “During the evening” (literally “evening-time”). The trailer was released on December 10, and featured extremities that characterise Shinkai’s specialities: intricate, highly-detailed depiction of mundane subjects (phones, blackboards and what appears to be a loom), as well as stunningly vivid skies.
- The cityscapes depicted in the Kimi no Na wa trailer appear to depict the same areas of Tokyo that were seen in Five Centimeters per Second. Both the previous films (Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below and Garden of Words) are as detailed as Five Centimeters per Second but made use of more advanced lighting techniques to bring scenes to life: I often compare the differences in the artwork for Shinkai’s later works to the differences between Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, where the graphical advancements were quite subtle but noticeable.
- With that being said, there is an upper limit to how intricate or vivid Shinkai’s works can be: the visual fidelity improved dramatically between The Placed Promised in Our Early Days and Five Centimeters per Second, but since then, have remained quite consistent. Thus, I can be quite certain in saying that Kimi no Na wa will be very similar to Garden of Words in terms of graphics, leaving only the story as an avenue for improvement.
- While Shinkai’s artistic talent and sense are unparalleled, his story-telling comes across as being weaker: Five Centimeters per Second is easily his best film, for being focused and telling a realistic, but melancholic story about one individual’s distance defeating his feelings for a girl he’d known since childhood. However, the ending proved to be somewhat difficult to understand for the audience. I’ve done an exhaustive review and analysis of the anime, hopefully clearing up some of these inconsistencies.
- Distance and separation form the bulk of the themes for Shinkai’s movies, and admittedly, I am not particularly keen on his interpretation of distance in Five Centimeters per Second, which suggested that the process of absence driving longing, and longing begetting melancholy, is outside of one’s control. Consequently, his characters suffer, grow depressed as a result of being unable to affect their circumstances. His later films attempt to step away from this, and while the execution becomes choppier (it would appear that Shinkai is not particularly versed on writing happier stories), I appreciate them all the same for aiming to be more optimistic: Garden of Words was quite fun to watch for that reason, as Takao is actively doing everything he can to connect with Yukari, and even though she ultimately moves, the efforts turn out to be worth something.
- Therefore, going into Kimi no Na wa, I think that the story would stand to gain a great deal if either 1) the romance aspects are outlined in a positive manner to help Mitsuba and Taki understand more about their circumstances or 2) is discarded altogether in favour of a conventional friendship, such that any romantic overtones need not be explored in further detail. The second approach is preferred simply because it would allow for Mitsuba and Taki to explore their dreams much more openly, in greater detail, without demanding inordinate time to reasonably build up a relationship, plus all of the challenges, especially since it’s clear that neither Mitsuba or Taki have previously met.
- I do not believe that the composer for Kimi no Na wa‘s music is known yet. Garden of Words‘ soundtrack was by Daisuke Kashiwa, and previous films featured music from Tenmon. The minimalistic presence of music in Shinkai’s works is fitting: details in the environment and lighting serve to convey particular moods and emotions in place of heavier musical accompaniment, and consequently, the music in most of Shinkai’s films (save Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below) acts to create ambiance.
- The upcoming wait for Kimi no Na wa is anywhere from ten to sixteen months; I’m willing to bet an arm and a leg that Girls und Panzer Der Film will have a home release well before then. Because the release date is so far in the future, I cannot guarantee that I’ll still be in a position to review this when the time comes, but I am going to do my best to try and watch it.
With Shinkai’s previous showings in mind, I anticipate that Kimi no Na wa will probably not be the powerhouse performance that Five Centimeters per Second was: his most recent two works, Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below and Garden of Words both were quite unique and entertaining. Moreover, they carry Makoto Shinkai’s signature style, featuring incredibly detailed interiors, landscapes, lighting details and artwork of common everyday objects. This particular aspect has become something that Shinkai’s become quite renowned for. In addition to his artwork, Shinkai’s love stories are also distinct: they tend towards a more open ending, leaving viewers to speculate what might progress from there. In doing so, Shinkai suggests that life itself is most definitely not deterministic and can’t be predicted; besides Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below, most of Shinkai’s stories take a particularly melancholic outlook on love itself, suggesting that it is unattainable for some. I am hoping that this will not be the case in Kimi no Na wa, as the premise appears to be conducive for two individuals coming together through fate. In fact, I assert that Kimi no Na wa will probably deliver a superior story if love is omitted: Mitsuba and Taki’s encounter should result in a friendship, not relationship, that allows the two to learn more about the secrets surrounding their dreams without introducing additional detritus that limits the main story.