Your Name (2016)
It may be a fantasy, it may be animated, but this is both beautiful and brilliantly entertaining. Mitsuha lives in a small idyllic Japanese town, but dreams of something bigger. Being a teenager, being the mayors daughter, she wants out. Taki lives in Tokyo, goes to school, works in a restaurant. When they go to sleep and dream, they switch places. They don’t know why, but as they begin to understand what’s happening they leave messages for one another to try to navigate each other through lives. Mitsuha seems to enjoy the excitement of Taki’s life in the big city. Taki though finds her a meddling influence in what should be his life. There’s a suggested spirituality to all this, with Mitsuha’s grandmother explaining the concepts of connections, strings through time, through worlds. Despite this, it does occasionally have the tone of an American teen comedy, but it’s far too gorgeous to be so one dimensional. On numerous occasions my breath away is taken away by the level of detail, not just in the animation, but the cutting and the plot. It’s lovingly crafted with a staggering amount of patience. It doesn’t really create a fantasy world in the way that so many Studio Ghibli films do, it’s seems more interested in inserting a fantasy element into an otherwise normal everyday world. Then, just as it begins to feel normal, the switches stop and Taki sets out to find Mitsuha. The comet shower that appears to have been linked to the connection, turns out to have destroyed Mitsuha’s village 3 years before she ever met Taki. Are they dreaming through time, is she a ghost? It does get a bit complicated, especially when reading subs and it’s very sentimental, but I really enjoyed it. Mitsuha and Taki are connected through space and time, a bond that cannot be broken and delivers a fantastic finale that had me gripped! Comets, out of body experiences, an engaging love story and it really does look gorgeous too.