Your Name is the story of a Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu, two teenage students in Japan who for unknown reasons switch bodies at random points in the week. What seems like a unique happy go lucky romantic comedy takes a striking turn in terms of genre and tone to science fiction and time travel.
Spoilers from this point on, something tells me your memories may or may not be erased from this experience.
As mentioned above Taki and Mitsuha are two teenagers who switch bodies. While the initial concept of a boy and girl switching bodies is already fairly entertaining with obvious physical differences between boys and girls (gotta love boobs and peeing with a penis for the first time), the personality differences between the two adds more to the story.
Mitsuha comes from the near rural town of Itomori and feels isolated from the rest of the world with no bookstores, no malls, and her go to ‘cafe’ being a outdoor vending machine. Mitsuha is a shy girl who feels trapped in her town and in the traditions of her family longing to escape the simple life shouting ‘in my next life I want to be born as a boy in Tokyo’.
Taki is a loud boy with typical boy ways of being into older women and each time he woke up would take time to grope and appreciate Mitsuha’s breasts. Despite these typical traits of a teenage boy Taki does have depth; on the days that he is in Mitsuha’s body he stands up for her own sake calling out bullies who normally pick on Mitsuha and her friends and genuinely growing to love Mitsuha’s family and friends (he even builds a table and chairs for Mitsuha’s go to cafe).
On the other side of things Mitsuha enjoys time in Taki’s body, but is still fairly respectful to Taki’s life (outside of spending a large amount of his earnings on giant pastries). It’s actually pretty humorous to see how the friends and family of Taki and Mitsuha slowly begin to piece things together on their own concerning the two switching bodies.
I was actually a little disappointed to see that Mitsuha’s sexuality wasn’t really explored. It’s very brief, but there is a scene where she sets up a date for Taki with an older woman hoping she would be the one going on the date rather than him. Taki still has a strong attraction for girls in Mitsuha’s body gaining Mitsuha large amounts of attention from female classmates.
The twist halfway through the movie actually did shock me significantly with the revelation that Mitsuha’s life was happening in the past while Taki’s life was taking place three years in the future. Taki then discovers that Mitsuha and most of the population of Itomori were killed in a accident via a piece of a meteorite falling off and hitting the town.
In an effort to change the future Taki drinks sake from a shrine (I don’t know the Japanese religion of Shinto well enough to go into depth about it, forgive me). Contrary to what one would expect, instead of choosing to save just Mitsuha, Taki takes time to formulate a plan with Mitsuha’s friends to prevent the catastrophic event from taking so many lives and getting the town to evacuate in time.
I really did like the film and feel the hype surrounding Your Name is well deserved. The film takes time to explore both big and small elements of life like the relationships among friends and family are still important to each person while in the grand scheme of things are very miniscule in the grander scheme of things and life would easily continue on for the rest of the world while a whole city were to be destroyed. It’s also very heartwarming to see that although Taki seems like a generic guy who’s more interested in girls, keeping his part time job, and saving money, grew to genuinely love the people in Mitsuha’s life putting the effort to save her town rather than being selfish and choosing to just take Mitsuha to a safe area area from disaster.
I give the film four sharpie messages on a hand out of five.
Your Name is produced by CoMix Wave Films and is distributed by Toho.