Kimi no Na Wa is a Japanese animated movie surrounding the fate of high schoolers Mitsuha, who wants much more than her provincial life, and Taki, a privileged boy living in downtown Tokyo. The two start of as complete strangers living their individual lives—until they suddenly switch places. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen and they build a connection by leaving notes and messages. But, try as they might, something more daunting than distance prevents them from ever meeting.
This movie doesn’t sound like my cup of tea when I first heard of it—which is why I put off watching it for so long. But I’m glad I finally got around to it because it’s now one of my favourite animated movies of all time. It has elements that makes Ghibli what it is—thoroughly charming and comical combined with a heavy dose of fantasy and science fiction—but with a modern twist. The body switching phenomenon was played out so smoothly—you could easily tell who was in whose body a majority of the time—and it could easily have been played for laughs. There were so many chances for it to cross into adolescent pervertedness territory. But director Makoto Shinaki stirs the pot and subverts the story in other creative ways without ever confusing the audience.
The art style is absolutely gorgeous what with the photo-realist views of Taki’s urban Tokyo life contrasting the picturesque hues of Mitsuha’s lakeside home. The sound design is incredibly immersive and atmospheric; it blends classic instruments with J-Pop, creating a beautiful fusion of The animation is all hand-drawn—which makes the movie all the more impressive as everything looks so clean and detailed, it may as well be rendered. The pacing shifts from comedy to tragedy to romance and back again all in a blink of an eye but is cleverly done and leaves audience on the edge of their seat. Even though the movie was marketed as a romance, it doesn’t make it the central theme. It bypasses the familiarity of the romance genre and settles for subtlety in order to explore something much more intimate and strange.
Kimi no Na Wa is the absolute very best kind of crowdpleaser, the kind that genuinely does seem to have a little something for everyone. It’s a gripping story about fate, time, dreams and desire—simple in concept but grows in depth and complexity as it goes on. “Treasure the experience. Dreams fade away after you wake up,” is what Mitsuha’s grandma says at one point. Not with this movie. It will be left lingering in your mind long after it’s over.
If you’ve made it this far into my post, thank you for reading! Have you seen this movie before? If so, what did you think? If not, would you be interested? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you in my next post.
Until next time,