Makoto Shinkai’s name has become synonymous with lushly animated (and highly acclaimed) movies that are packed with incredibly detailed artwork and loads of melodrama, heartache, and nostalgia (e.g., The Garden of Words, 5 Centimeters Per Second, The Place Promised in Our Early Days). His latest film is Your Name and it certainly seems like it’ll continue Shinkai’s streak.
Your Name, which had its world première at Los Angeles’ Animé Expo, tells the story of a boy and girl who find their lives intertwined, literally:
Mitsuha is a female high school student who lives in a rural town nestled deep in the mountains. Her father is the mayor and isn’t at home much, and she lives with her elementary school-aged little sister and her grandmother. Mitsuha has an honest personality, but she doesn’t like the customs of her family’s Shinto shrine, nor does she like her father participating in an election campaign. She laments that she lives in a confined rural town, and yearns for the wonderful lifestyle of living in Tokyo. Taki is a male high school student who lives in central Tokyo. He spends time with his friends, works part-time at an Italian restaurant, and is interested in architecture and fine arts. One day, Mitsuha has a dream where she is a young man. Taki also has a dream where he is a female high school student in a town in the mountains that he has never been to. What is the secret to their dreams of personal experience?
Though the trailer’s in Japanese, it does appear like there will be some sort of sci-fi element, as is usually the case in Shinkai’s films. Also, according to some commenters, the film is one of the happier films in Shinkai’s oeuvre — though I’m sure it’ll have its fair share of tearjerking moments, too.
Your Words is currently dominating the Japanese box office and could become the first non-Miyazaki animé title to earn 10 billion yen (or nearly $100 million).
Update #1: Over on AniTay, Kevin Mai reviews Your Name and says it’s Shinkai’s “best film yet.”
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.