What’s the—movie?! Oh! We’re reviewing movies now?! That’s cool! Yes! Anime movies!
Of course it’s anime, god forbid we review something I’ve heard of… So what’s the movie? Your Name. (2016)
Oh wait, I actually have heard of this movie! Yeah, it got all sorts of great reviews! I definitely remembering hearing about it! That doesn’t surprise me, this was one of those crazy popular hits that seemed to slightly crossover into the mainstream consciousness. Like even outside of anime circles too.
Wow, so this must be some amazing stuff then?! Eh, it’s okay.
Wait, what?! Just “okay” b—but the reviews? And the popularity? I mean I get it, it’s not like I’m so out of touch that I don’t understand why it got to such lofty heights within the zeitgeist but sometimes things that get insanely popular only do so because they tap into something broadly relatable rather than being something nuanced and well thought out.
You mean like how Titanic was the highest grossing, most Oscar winning film of its time and then some years later people realised it was pretty overrated? I don’t know why you think I’d ever have seen ‘Titanic’—whatever that is—but yes, “overrated” is an apt descriptor, or rather… actually I think I’ve found a better analogy.
Right, I’m waiting… It’s like whatever your favourite fast food is, for me its McDonalds, I love it when I’m eating it, it’s delicious, and it’s exactly what I wanted! But it’s not like it’s a masterpiece, it’s not like its life changing or worth raving about, it’s something that satisfies but is ultimately unremarkable in hindsight—at least for me.
I get what you’re saying but some people do think this movie is the best anime movie, even with time having passed and hindsight taken into account. Yeah and there’s those who McDonalds or whatever fast food they love, is all they want out of food, and then there’s those who seek more depth and complexity and nuance and originality. (Also not trying to say you’re an uncomplicated person if you love this film, my irl waifu loves this film).
Oh I get it now! You’re an anime hipster! Wait, what? No that’s not—
—No, that’s exactly it, this thing got crazy popular and you wanted to have a dissenting opinion to try and be different. I fail to see how disagreeing with a common consensus makes me a hipster, besides I never said it was bad film, I just said it was “okay”.
But with this film saying it’s just “okay” is the equivalent of calling it bad. Well I’m not going to disagree with that.
So what’s it about anyway? It’s about a high-school boy living in Tokyo and a high school girl many thousands of miles away living in a rural village, when each of them go to sleep they wake up in the others body! There’s more to it then that of course, but saying any more would go into spoiler territory, the best thing I will say for this film is that it benefits from going in unspoiled. I managed to avoid any and all spoilers so at least I had the mystery going ahead, but even then…
Hang on a second, be right back. What? *sigh* whatever, take your time…
*107 minutes later* This movie is amazing, you don’t know what you’re talking about! Wait, what?! You watched it? You. You watched an anime film?
It transcends anime; it’s so soulful and powerful! It’s derivative and simplistic and contrived and has plot holes as big as the hole in—
No, no! No spoilers! You said it yourself the movie is best without spoilers! This makes this review even harder to write, you know?
I feel like you need to specify what you do like about this film, this review has been too negative so far. Positive, huh? Well it’s probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing anime films I’ve ever seen. The visuals aren’t creative or complex or imaginative but they’re still beautiful and evocative… huh, guess I just inadvertently found another analogy for the film itself there!
Aha, and the characters? They are good; I mean the girl is about a hundred times more interesting than the male protagonist. The movie is all the more interesting when it’s about her, or when she’s inside him. Actually now that I think of it, both characters are a lot more quirky and interesting when the other person is inside them, I wonder what that says about identity and gender norms, probably more than I’m able to skilfully articulate, especially since the review’s almost over.
Anything else you wanted to bash—I mean add? Ahem, just that I think there are simultaneously too many ideas and not enough thought put into any of them to make the story feel cohesive or compelling. It wants to do so many things that it feels more like a full season of a show, shortened down to movie length. Where there should be carefully considered explanations or backstory or character development instead is choppy and mishandled plot points served up with serious pacing issues.
Final score and recommendation? Yes, I recommend it, but then again everybody’s probably already seen it and made up there mind on it. I don’t think it’s deserving of the success it got, but at the same time I realise that there’s no point bemoaning it for being successful, the more anime films that get recognised by a wider audience the better. It’s a stunningly beautiful thing to look at, there are some laughs to be had, especially with the body swap scenes, and there’s certainly some interesting ideas but it’s ultimately too ‘incomplete’ of an experience for me. 70 out of 100.