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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sean Kelly

Review: Your Name

Two teenagers find out they are swapping bodies with each other in Your Name. Mitsuha is a high school girl living in the town of Itomori in Japan's Hida region, where she is preparing for a festival that coincides with a passing of a comet. Mitsuha soon finds out that she has been intermittently switching bodies with Taki, a boy living in Tokyo. The two leave messages for each other as they try to piece together why this strange occurrence is happening to them.

Your Name is an anime romantic fantasy about two teenagers, who find out that they have been switching bodies with each other. Both Mitsuha and Taki have their own problems in their respective lives, which are compounded somewhat when their bodies are taken over by the other. When the body switching unexpectedly stops happening, it compounds the mystery of why this was happening in the first place, leading to some surprising revelations.

Distributed by Toho, Your Name is notable for being the first anime film not directed by Hayao Miyazaki to be a huge box office success in Japan. In fact, Your Name is second only to Miyazaki's Spirited Away, in terms of having the largest domestic gross in the country. The film is definitely tonally different than the films released by Studio Ghibli, with Your Name being primarily a romance, with elements of fantasy peppered through it.

While there is a certain sappy element to Your Name, particularly the many pop songs on the soundtrack, the film does have a pretty well constructed story. The film does have you rooting for a happy ending to the budding romance between Mitsuha and Taki, even though the circumstances of their union might make this impossible. There are some revelations about the body switching made in the second half of the film, which somewhat changes the film's direction, with it being unknown how this story is going to turn out.

While I do try to see anime films in their original Japanese whenever possible, time and circumstances resulted in me having to watch the English dub. However, I thought that the dub was quite well done and I don't think anything was lost in translation. Unlike Studio Ghibli, who tend to get celebrities for their dubs, Your Name just uses regular voice actors, who just do their job without being all that distracting. In fact, the only familiar name in the English voice credits for me is Kyle Hebert, who is best known for his voice work on Dragon Ball Z.

While I'll probably never say that Your Name tops the output of Studio Ghibli, the film is still a charming mix of fantasy and romance.

8 / 10 stars
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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).