Kimi no Na wa/Your Name
Your Name is in theaters in the USA until the 20th! Check your theater listings.
Mitsuha and Taki are a boy and girl who have never met, living in a rural mountainous village and the urban sprawl of Tokyo respectively, who one day discover they swap bodies whenever they go to sleep, and then back into themselves the following sleep, alternating lives every other day. Mitsuha’s family runs the town shrine and she forms her own kuchikamizake sake at an autumn ritual dance, which “contains half of herself”. She brings it to the family tomb inside a cater a ways from the town. Then she gets ready for the upcoming festival which coincidentally takes place on the night that a comet will pass by Earth once every 12,000 years.
The surprising thing: this isn't really a comedy about body-swapping. That only comprises the first act. It’s the result of a much bigger danger that establishes the conflict for the rest of the movie. It turns out that Taki and Mitsuha not only swap experiences, but TIME. Yeah. It turns out what Mitsuha's experiences in her life occurred 3 whole years before what we see of Taki’s life! When Taki swaps with Mitsuha, he goes back in time! And when Mitsuha swaps with Taki, she goes into the future. That comet I mentioned before? A piece breaks off from it while in view from Earth and it lands directly onto Mitsuha, and decimates her entire village, and everyone in it, in 1 second. Taki, upon discovering this after the body-swapping mysteriously stops, has to somehow go back in time and save the person he has grown fond of.
It was beautiful to look at and NEEDS to be seen on a big screen. The story was well-written with a few big plot twists that you probably wouldn't quite understand if you're not familiar with Shinto religion and their idea of intertwining timelines. I mean... this also got me educated on some things. I had no idea what kuchikamizake sake was before seeing this. There is a good amount of humor in the beginning, with a wildly GREAT joke to kick off the third act that left my audience laughing! The opening song plays like a music video montage and spoils a lot of key moments, which felt weird to me. While they say it's a love story, I really do not see how the two mains could grow to love each other... I mean, they barely meet in person, and in the rare times they do, they don't show any sign that they're meant to be together.
I saw the dub, and it is really good. While not really to the quality of the dub of say Cowboy Bebop for FMA, it is just slightly above your typical Funimation/BangZoom dub. Michael Sinterniklaas as a boy trying to act like a girl was HILARIOUS in the beginning. So overly cheerful and dotty. It's also common knowledge among psychologists that if you state you're in a dream to yourself, you are NOT in a dream! Stephanie Sheh was most likely cast because her role calls for two personalities, which she pulled effortlessly while sounding like it comes from the same character (her being one of the dub producers also helps).
Overall, I guess I was too focused on trying to understand things going on to ever cry. Yes, I never cried during the film. So I also don't understand why it got this much acclaim and success, but it seems like a really good introduction into anime, and a great story about perseverance. I still highly recommend it.
- www.vimeo.com/andrewkaiko/norm… See my short Norm & Cory in full!
- Orbis Park won a 2012 ASIFA East Award for Excellence in Design in the Independent Film category. It tied with an SVA thesis called The Girl And The Fox. Congratulations to all the winners! And as always, my short can be watched in its entirety here: fav.me/d4hu4xq !