Makato Shinkai has been named as the predecessor to the semi-retired Hayao Miyazaki, who has yet to be surpassed in terms of storytelling and artistry.
True enough, Shinkai treats surroundings with as much detail as Studio Ghibli does with foliage. Photorealistic animation and lighting are deftly captured in well-composed visuals. Here, a quaint town by the countryside can be as stunning as a bustling city; a character looking at a comet in the sky is portentous, and raindrops on the pavement are melancholic.
While there are plenty of visuals for you to immerse in, the plot of this body-swapping story is executed like a TV anime, resulting in a crowd-pleasing but underdeveloped narrative.
For some reason, the plot is injected with music montages. Instead of getting to know more about Taki and Mitsuha as they discover, understand, and make an impact on each other’s lives, we get clips similar to the opening credits of anime cartoons. This becomes repetitive as it focuses on their day to day routine, which gives us little about the characters.
The logic behind their switch is vague and as the movie progresses, becomes more of an excuse to connect two disparate souls together. There’s also a lot of plot strands that it’s trying to play with – a body switch, a gender swap romance, and fate. In the end, it settles for a rushed love story.
Your Name at least, finishes with an emotionally satisfying ending to a good start, even though the storytelling in between is lacking.
At best, Your Name still manages to deliver the inspiring message that Studio Ghibli has exceptionally told under Miyazaki – your ordinary mundane life can be magical if you open yourself up to new experiences.
Your Name (Kimi no Na wa)
Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) is crippled by poorly defined characters, underdeveloped narrative, and misguided plot.