3 Reasons Why You Should Watch Your Name

3 Reasons Why You Should Watch Your Name

On August 26th of 2016, Your Name by Shinkai Makoto was released in Japan, overtaking Howl’s Moving Castle by Miyazaki Hayao and becoming the second highest-grossing Japanese film of all time. Nearly 18,000,000 people have seen the movie between August 27th of 2016 and January 16th of 2017. Your Name has also reached the top in weekly movie ranking in Asian countries – Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, China, and Korea. Your Name will finally be playing in the United States and Canada on April 7th, 2017.

In our world, two unrelated individuals might encounter someday. This idea was Makoto’s first inspiration to visualize the story, which lead to making Your Name.

Country girl Mitsuha and handsome city boy Taki one day both wake up to find they do no longer inhabit their own bodies, but have switched with one another.

At first, they think it is a dream, but as they unintentionally exchange their bodies over and over again, they start to accept their reality and attempt to leave messages on paper to communicate with each other.

But one day, they stop switching bodies and they miss their chance to exchange names. This motivates Taki to find Mitsuha. As Taki endeavors to track her down, he finds out about her tragic incident. Would Taki be able to meet Mitsuha in the end and know her name?

While I did not enjoy Your Name as a whole, I still think it’s worth the watch for three reasons: film setting, use of color, and music.

Japanese anime directors are known for their attention to detail and Makoto is no exception. Being from Japan, I was impressed at how accurately designed the Japanese locations were. A fan of Makoto’s film took a photo of a view in Shinanomachi and compared it with the film’s rendition – the contrasts, if any, are few. Makoto’s extensive use of light and shadow also add to the settings’ beauty.

Personally, the overly-realistic settings are what I disliked. It felt too realistic and yet not; am I to see this film as an entirely made-up story or not? While it takes place in real locations in Japan, it is also a borderline fantasy world. With the inclusion of time warp, I was even more confused. Such a contradiction made it difficult to concentrate on the story. 

Visually, the movie is stunning as Makoto’s use of color is lovely, especially in the sky drawings. It is something you need to experience visually to truly appreciate it.

Makoto's use of color in sky scene

Makoto's use of color in sky scene

The music in Your Name are also the area to consider. A famous Japanese rock band RADWIMPS dedicated compositions of 4 love songs for the film. In just a month, over 220,000 albums of the Your Name soundtrack were sold.

The song “Zen Zen Zen Se” on the album is faithful to the film’s story. Throughout the film, the beautiful display of natural settings  integrated seamlessly with RADWIMPS’s music, adding to the immersion of the film. The integration of the colorful visuals and beautiful music is certainly the highlight of Your Name. The English version of the Your Name album was released on January 27th, and the album will be released on February 22nd of this year. 

While I did not enjoy the story, I loved the integration between the visual display and music. Regardless of what attracts you to a film, Your Name has something for everyone.

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