released 24 November 12a | 106 minutes
Director makoto shinkai Cast ryûnosuke Kamiki, mone Kamishiraishi, masami Nagasawa, etsuko Ichihara
At the time of writing, this animated movie is the ninth highest-grossing film in Japanese history, a success that has earned its director, Makoto Shinkai, comparisons to Hayao Miyazaki. Flattering, obviously; yet Your Name is not a Studio Ghibli film. It’s more grounded, more Young Adult, more risqué and funny.
It follows Taki and Mitsuha, two teenage strangers divided by distance (Taki in Tokyo, Mitsuha in a small rural town), but brought together when they start waking up in each other’s bodies. This, as you can imagine, is an education about the opposite sex, with Taki taking full advantage of his new-found breasts — an initially off-putting gag that gets funnier as it runs. But it’s also an intimate insight into another life; a way for them to develop the most unconventional of relationships.
It’s a fun idea, one that Shinkai (who adapted Your Name from his own novel) executes with wit and romance, channelling the youth of his characters into fresh, exuberant energy – the kind that sweeps you into investment. This is particularly useful come the final act, which is long, muddled and confusing — but ultimately saved by Taki and Mitsuha, a “will they, won’t they” you actually care about. Stephen Kelly
Eyeliner classes, day one.