Your Name director Makoto Shinkai has been cited as being the “new Miyazaki” and finally having seen the film I can understand why, even if such praise is misplaced. Now don’t get me wrong, Your Name is amazing but is more a teen romance which are the Ghibli films Miyazki didn’t do (Ocean Waves, Poppy Hill, Whisper of the Heart.) Your Name reminded me most of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time anime, adapted from Yasutaka Tsutsui’s novel. Both are romantic comedies with a science fiction twist.
Your Name involves two Japanese high-school students. Mitsuha and her young sister live with their grandmother in a small farming town and Taki lives in Tokyo. One morning Mitsuha wakes up in Taki’s body with no explanation and the same with Taki in Mitsuha’s body. They each think it’s a dream but then realize it wasnt based on how their peers react to them the day after. “You’re back to normal today!” exclaims one. We start by seeing things mostly from Mitsuha’s point of view. She gets friendly with Taki’s beautiful boss at the restaurant much to the envy of his male co-workers. Eventually they learn to communicate by leaving notes to each other on their smartphones which leads to an hilarious montage of the protagonists doing off character things in the other’s bodies and then yelling at the other one via note on phones or even written on their bodies.
There was one particularly funny moment which only worked if you knew a little Japanese. Mitsuha in Taki’s body, meeting Taki’s peers the first time, refers to herself with the formal (female?) watashi but realizes she’s used the wrong pronoun from the confused looks Taki’s friends give her. She then tries the formal (male?) watakushi, then the informal boku before finally settling on the very informal ore with Taki’s peer’s approval! Hilarious, right? I laughed so hard in the theater I had to wipe away tears.
They get to know each other via these transferences and they’re both in Japan so why don’t they meet? There is a reason and they do try. Without success. Mostly. There is a real threat that is presented and while I always hope for a happy ending, I don’t always get it. I can’t say more without spoiling a lot of the film. I guessed the two twists provided but didn’t feel they were telegraphed or out of place.