Makoto Shinkai has come into the limelight lately being hailed as the “New Miyazaki.” Though I feel like the similarities between the two are few and far between, one similarity between the two is their ability to bring out emotions from a person. Miyazaki was able to do this with films such as Spirited Away, and Shinkai was able to do this with his previous work, 5 Centimeters per Second. Almost a decade later, Makoto Shinkai once again was able to bring out emotions from all of us with his new work, Your Name.
Without getting into spoilers, Your Name revolves around two characters, Taki and Mitsuha who inexplicably change bodies a few times a week. Though the only thing I could compare this synopsis to is Freaky Friday, I feel like the way that Shinkai presents this work is absolutely beautiful. Shinkai is able to show how different the personalities are when they switch bodies with things such as subtle body movement and the vernacular that the characters use. The main part of the story isn’t really special; other anime like Kokoro Connect have used this concept before; but the way it’s presented in Your Name makes it feel more emotional and allows you to sympathize more with the characters. I will say, however, that the story itself starts to kick into high gear right after the plot twist around the climax of the movie.
The reason as to why I think that Your Name works so well is because of all the likable characters. Taki and Mitsuha are extremely likeable but have their own distinct personalities. The side characters feel important to the story and don’t just feel like they are there only to advance the plot. It feels as though everything that has happened in the movie could happen in real life, and it’s because the characters were written so well and everyone feels like a real human being, not just an archetype put into a body.
The entire soundtrack was done by a band called Radwimps and they did an amazing job with enhancing each emotional scene while making all of the comedy scenes funnier. When I started to feel teary eyed during a scene, I feel like it was because the music complemented the scenes extremely well. Every song felt like it belonged there and the Opening and Ending songs sounded beautiful. The sound design was also well done, the Foley sounded realistic and the overall use of wind and echo effects made for a well-made sound.
Makoto Shinkai is well known for how well the animation looks in all of his movies, and this is no exception. The animation in Your Name is absolutely stunning and there was no visible dip in quality throughout the entire movie. His style resonates throughout the entire movie; every frame screams Shinkai. Every shot is crisp and no second was wasted when animating this movie. In terms of animation, this work is Makoto Shinkai’s masterpiece.
Your Name is a modern masterpiece that I would recommend to anyone. The only other movies that brought me the same amount of joy, sadness, laughter, and bittersweetness are other Shinkai and Miyazaki works. I could be laughing out loud one minute and I could be on the verge of crying the next. Your Name brought me to all corners of the emotional spectrum and I feel that all the hype surrounding it is well deserved.