“Your Name.” is a 2016 Japanese anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai three years after he directed “The Garden of Words” (2013). It is a fantasy/love romance film on the “body swap” phenomenon and a fictional meteorite fall event.
Original story, direction, screenplay and storyboards by Makoto Shinkai. Produced by CoMix Wave Films. Music by the Japanese rock band Radwimps. 107 minutes.
Set in Japan a month before a comet comes for the first time in a thousand years. Mitsuha Miyamizu, a high school girl in a rural town deep in the mountains (Hida, Gifu Prefecture), and Taki Tachibana, a high school boy who lives in the middle of Tokyo, find they swap bodies through their dreams frequently.
They are gradually opening up through the body swap, but their body swap ends abruptly.
Taki goes to see Mitsuha in Hida, but he faces a surprising truth at his destination.
The film was a blockbuster at the time of theatrical release. It became the biggest box office hit of all time among Japanese films worldwide.
In the film, Shinkai returned to his origins as represented by his early animated short film “Voices of a Distant Star” (2002), i.e., romanticism like the novels by Haruki Murakami and the narrative structure of “sekaikei”, in which a dyad relationship between “me” and “you” is directly linked to worldwide disasters without the mediation of social relationships as intermediate regions.
Shinkai shaped a story of altering history after a disaster into an aesthetic fantasy film with a happy ending, incorporating the devices as shown in the Japanese adventure games, such as backward time travel and possible worlds.
In the Japanese context, the disaster depicted in this film reminds us of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. It is clear that the story of altering history in the film is based on a denial of reality, i.e., a desire to deny a disaster actually happened and to pretend that nothing happened. The world of “Your Name.” is a fantasy world based on the defense mechanism to heal trauma by denying reality in a post-disaster society. The evaluation of this film will change drastically depending on whether you can enjoy it as a fantasy or not.
There are also the novel version by Makoto Shinkai and manga version (illustrated by Ranmaru Kotone).