An unexpected anime showing while on my Narita to Manila flight. It was punctuated in the beginning by all the required prerequisite public announcements befitting a modern-day passenger flight. Regardless, I sit here two hours into a four-and-some-change hour flight to my final destination. Flying on an ANA 787-8, I tried my best not to cry for the obviously-ignoring-me salaryman sitting two seats from me.
And yes, this is with spoilers.
I can see why this is breaking records in the box offices, an interwoven tale of romance that spans years and different personalities. Taki is a typical Tokyo boy, aiming to be an architect when he grows up. Mitsuha is the eldest daughter of a Shrine Priest turned politician who wants out of the country life she’s in. Bound together by the red string of fate (literally in a sense) the two swap lives periodically, gradually getting to know each other until the truth is revealed.
When Taki seeks to find Mitsuha, he comes across the destroyed town of Itomori, destroyed by the comet Tiamat when it broke in half, killing the majority of the town. Seeking to try to prevent that fate, Taki tries one last leap back, and inhabiting Mitsuha’s body, stages an attempt to evacuate the town. He would go to the mountaintop shrine, and meeting each other in the twilight between night and day, Taki manages to write a message for Mitsuha before the connection breaks at the setting of the sun for Mitsuha, and the dawn for Taki.
Back to Mitsuha, with her co-conspirators caught in the act of causing mayhem, Mitsuha sees the phrase “I love you” written on her hand by the boy she barely remembers, and manages to convince her obstinate father evacuate the town. 8 years after the accident, the residents of Itomori live their new lives throughout Tokyo, while Taki still feels drawn to Itomori yet not understanding why. A chance meeting between two passing trains brings the two together, and after finding each other again, ask the other their name.
I normally don’t watch much romance. But the opportunity presented itself with the subtitled version of Your Name being aired on my flight. It is emotionally riveting, showing the gradual intertwining of Taki and Mitsuha. There have been parts where I came close to tears, and the most heartwarming part for me was the twilight meeting. It broke my heart that they would eventually forget each other’s name, as well as the change in the end. It didn’t delve quickly into love as some romances do, but established both characters, and in fact for the early part of the film would lay the groundwork for the mysticism and spiritual connection between the two.
The animation is well done, musical cues perfect, and the songs are befitting the scenes they come up with. The characters are memorable and the two mains are literally star-crossed lovers bound together by the red string of fate. Time and distance would not keep two loving souls apart, and a love this strong would literally move the heavens to prevent a tragedy.
The aftermath of the change in destiny for the town was the most frustrating minutes I’ve had in an animated movie in the longest of time. The odd glimpses Taki had of Mitsuha as they lived their adult lives in Tokyo and their eventual return was frustrating to no end, and I can hear Sebastian the Crab going “just kiss the girl”. It was that sort of tension that was so palatable for me.
It’s a story that makes one feel good, and I can’t honestly recommend it more. Maybe when I’m able to sit down and analyze it I’ll do a proper blog post complete with summary. But in a sense, it takes away from the viewing, and the magic that a movie like this has that has to be seen in order to feel. Then again, it is a Makoto Shinkai film anyways.
Anyways, I’ve rambled long enough, and at this stage, nearly most of the way through the flight, I should probably get started on my customs declarations and whatnot.