There are plenty of body swap films out there. And they all tell the same story. Two people living polar opposite lives wind up meeting by chance and lamenting about how the other has a better life. They wake up the next day and BAM they are all of a sudden in the body of another. First come hijinks and hoopla until the pair each learn a very valuable lesson.
Freaky Friday, The Change-Up, and The Hot Chick are just a collection of these movies that are pretty much identical to one another. So you’ll be excused for the first ten minutes of Your Name if you lump the Japanese body swap animation into the same category. But by spreading the tale across multiple-genre’s, director Makoto Shinkai has envisaged a charming and emotional film.
The movie revolves around a young girl called Mitshua who is living in a humdrum village where her life is dull and boring. One day, she learns that she is missing time from her recollection and the day before, she was acting oddly and strange. Unable to remember what’s happened, as the days go by, she discovers that the event is becoming more frequent. Only when she wakes up in the body of Tokyo based boy Taki, it becomes apparent that the pair have been swapping bodies and forget the very next day. However, as this strange relationship progresses, they both discover they are being drawn to one another to stop a catastrophic event from happening.
The sweeping and grand emotions that echo throughout you after watching Your Name make it a remarkable and poetic film. Balancing romance with science-fiction, and disaster movies with magical comedy, with splices of a teen flick, should’ve made Shinkai’s film a jumble of genres and unable to communicate to the audience. However, the movie is able to wrap gloriously around you and enthrall you into the midst of it’s becoming. Through truly marvelous characters, the story envelops you with eloquence that you become engaged with all the different components however small. One minute you are laughing at Taki’s insistence to cop a feel of his new boobs and the other you are in tears, lamenting of the future of some of the characters. It’s a spectrum of feelings, a wondrous collection of visceral emotions that keeps you engaged to the very end.
It helps that the leading characters are so realistic. Between Taki’s hard-work but small life to Mitshua’s grander dreams, as their lines overlap and entwine, the audience is drawn into this unusual but brilliant transcendent relationship. Shinkai embellishes our leading pair with glorious details, allowing them to become these three-dimensional characters that are caught up in the mystery of their circumstances. However insane the initial premise is, the love that comes from that flows naturally and, by the end of the film, you are overcome with it’s stirrings..
The animation is also superb as there are images of comets that strip in rainbow colours across the sky. Traditional and yet achingly modern, the imagery on display here is exquisite.
A glorious and enchanting anime, Your Name eclipses it’s collective genres to become a rounded and unforgettable piece.
Your Name is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!