Japan’s biggest hit in 2016 and the highest-grossing anime film of all time, Makoto Shinkai’s lush mindbender Your Name has many elements that are familiar on their own but here combine to create something unique. Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi) and Taki (Ryûnosuke Kamiki) are teenage strangers living very different lives. She’s in a remote village, while he’s in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo — right where Mitsuha wishes she could be, at one point shouting to the heavens from whence a comet will soon appear, “Please make me a handsome Tokyo boy in the next life!”
Mitsuha gets her wish to an extent when she and Taki begin waking up in each other’s bodies for no apparent reason. They muddle through each other’s lives as best they can, communicating by leaving messages on their phones. Your Name is the most beautiful anime since Patema Inverted, with which it shares themes about the difficulties of personal connections as represented by inexplicable cosmic phenomena. If Shinkai’s picture goes for the obvious gag of Taki-in-Mitsuha’s-body fondling Mitsuha’s breasts a few too many times — for her part, Mitsuha is appropriately disgusted by Taki’s body’s penis — Shinkai at least has the taste to hang a lampshade on the joke, and it takes nothing away from the heartfelt splendor of Your Name.
Directed by Makoto Shinkai
Opens April 7
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 4, 2017