Many people think of Japanese animation (termed anime), as cartoons for kids. But the world of anime is much more profound with masterpieces such as Spirited Away and Grave of the Fireflies reaching levels that no live-action movie can replicate. In recent times, Makoto Shinkai has emerged as THE DIRECTOR of Japanese animated films. Kimi no Na wa (English translation: Your Name) is an integral masterpiece written by him.
Kimi no Na Wa was released in 2016. The film won Best Animated Feature at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, the 49th Sitges Film Festival, and the 71st Mainichi Film Awards, and was nominated for Best Animation of the Year at the 40th Japan Academy Prize.
The plot is full of twists, and turns, but ends with heartfelt romance. The movie starts with a shooting star with wonderful cinematography and animation. The film revolves around two kids: A boy named Taki and a girl named Mitsuha. They inexplicably switch bodies upon waking up and going to sleep. Mitsuha is a rural girl in a simple village, while Taki is a city boy in Tokyo. Their lives are different as they can be. Taki gets the opportunity after switching bodies to live a girl’s life and becomes popular in Mitsuha’s school. Meanwhile, Mitsuha’s feminine mindset helps Taki’s body score points with his crush.
Suddenly one day, Taki stops switching bodies with Mitsuha. Taki feels a hole in his life as he searches for Mitsuha and where she came from. To his surprise, he finds out that he didn’t just switch bodies to different places, but also to DIFFERENT TIMES! Mitsuha existed 3 years ago from Taki’s present time. The present Mitsuha is dead after a comet crashed into her village and killed everyone living there.
Taki is filled with grief as he searches for a way to avert the disaster. After praying to the gods at the ruins of Mitsuha’s village, he gets one last chance to travel through time before the disaster. The boy and girl finally meet in the past and Taki warns Mitsuha, just before he fades into the present. Before fading away, Taki writes on Mitsuha’s hand that he loves her. After that final time travel instance, both of them remember that something magical happened, yet they forget each other.
Mitsuha saves her town from the comet and she lives up to the present time. Taki has also graduated from high school and both of them are living lives in Tokyo, having completely forgotten about the magical events. However, both of them feel that there is something missing in their lives.
The ending part has no actual magic, but merely the everyday magic of love. It goes as follows.
Taki and Mitsuha meet on a staircase.
Taki: “Hey. Haven’t we met?”
Mitsuha (with tears along her face): “I thought so too!”
Both (with tears of joy): Kimi no namae wa? (What’s your name? in Japanese)
Kimi no Na wa is an absolute masterpiece born out of the thoughts of Makoto Shinkai and adorned with a heart-wrenching soundtrack by the Japanese band, Radwimps. It can even make a grown man cry. Though the film is in Japanese, the English subtitles do not harm the emotion of the story voiced in the original Japanese language. The conclusion of this review is that no matter if you are a fan of Japanese animation or not, Kimi no Na wa should be definitely on your bucket list of films to watch.
Article by: Sachith Keragala | Faculty of Medicine