Welcome to the Pile of Shame. Throughout my years of ceaseless debauchery and frankly worrying video game addiction, I missed out on movies that many consider classics. If you’ve ever asked someone if they watched a certain movie and gasped when they said they never did, you know what type of guy I am. I figured that it’s pretty silly that someone like me who lacks the appropriate historical movie education is allowed to write on such an esteemed movie website as ours, and have since created a pile of classic movies that I will work through in order to achieve true enlightenment. This series will be my chronicle through it and you’re more than welcome to tag along. Also, expect some spoilers in there, if you haven’t watched these films already.
During 2017 I heard wild praise for an animated film that has quite the strange title; Your Name. Despite being awkward to say aloud in conversations, it was also said by many to be one of the most beautiful anime films in history. The premise also sounded simple, with an adolescent boy and girl switching bodies in some supernatural twist of fate. It piqued my interest since I do enjoy Japanese anime as a casual fan, but I’ve never really delved deep into the world. For instance, I’ve never watched a Miyazaki film in my life, and you can bet your bottom dollar that some of his movies are on the Pile, and the only anime I’ve really given attention to was Attack on Titan, Psycho-Pass and Bleach during my teenage years. I do know how to appreciate them and my exposure to many Japanese video games have made me cognizant of the culture and mannerisms that are often on display. With that, I dove right into Your Name.
And I cried.
Like a little girl.
Let’s start from the beginning. The first thing that struck me was how jaw-droppingly gorgeous this movie is. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen such beautiful animated landscapes and detailed environments in my life. Every little detail has been painstakingly crafted to the degree where it sucks you right into this world. How Tokyo was so faithfully recreated is beyond my realm of understanding. It’s a marvel. The colours, the vistas, the expression, it’s all at the peak of where it could be, I can sit here all day and just praise the visuals alone with comprehensive analyses of stills, but this beautiful art is simply a backdrop for the strange young adult story that transpires.
Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu are two high schoolers living completely different lives in completely different worlds. One is a rural girl that is embedded in age-old traditions while the other is a slick city boy. For some inexplicable reason, they frequently wake up in each other’s bodies and with great initial confusion. They live each other’s lives and eventually figure out how to communicate with each other while they are in these Freaky Friday states. Why do they switch bodies? No idea. I still don’t really have an answer even after finishing the movie. The closest I can get to an explanation is that this is the work of some kind of Shinto god that seemingly has supernatural abilities that allow two people to switch places and create time travel.
It might sound like I was slighting the movie, but this is where Your Name shines in my eyes. It’s a simple young adult premise surrounded by something that is quite complex. If you pay close attention to the details surrounding everything, you’ll see a burgeoning story filled with intricate turns and twists that might even cause you to feel lost at times. Many aspects of the plot go by unexplained or are merely hinted at during certain times and it paints this intense picture of connected threads. This in a movie where a boy immediately feels up his female counterpart when he’s in her body (which is what all men will do, admittedly). It’s achingly cute and charming throughout and you’ll soon start to fall in love with the protagonists and even the supporting cast.There is an argument to be made that these moments of comedy rely too heavily on tropes at times and sometimes go for the simple jokes, but if you really want to go into such minute detail, you’re probably dead inside.
As Your Name continued I felt myriad emotions coursing through me.It first started with interest, got mixed up with a little bit of confusion and then it became unbelievably engrossing. I kept wanting to learn more, see more and experience more of this story to the point where I just couldn’t tear myself away from it. it was a thrill ride from start to finish and by the end, I just broke down in happy tears. It touched me so much that all the emotions bubbling in me just had to be let go. It was an incredible feeling. Surprisingly, not many movies have moved me to this extent. The ones that do are often considered to be my top movies of all time, so it’s pretty safe to assume that this movie has earned its place.
It was unequivocally the perfect recipe. A hugely intriguing story complimented by a stunning art style with memorable characters that go through very human feelings within a supernatural context. Mixed together along with a gorgeous soundtrack that deserves the highest praise and you got something that can stand the test of time. An animated movie that will forever be etched in my memory. I didn’t even really implement a lot of spoilers into this post because if by some reason you haven’t watched this movie, you owe yourself the honour of experiencing it.
I probably loved Your Name more than I should have. I could have put on my dirty critic hat and really delved deep into all the individual aspects that it is comprised of, but in the end, I just don’t want to. I want to remember it as a movie that I enjoyed immensely that made me feel something special.
And let’s not be mistaken, it is something truly special.
We’re getting through the Pile, but it’s still standing tall! Next week we’re going back into the classic realm with Shawshank Redemption.
(By the way, I watched the movie in Japanese. Subs for life, yo)
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