Tea & Review: Your Name (Kimi no Na wa)

Your Name is a Japanese anime movie that was released in 2016.  The story revolves around two high schoolers Mitsuha Miyamizu (Mono Kamishiraishi) and Taki Tachibana (Ryunosuku Kamiki).  

Mitsuha lives in the rural town near the mountains and is a Miko (shrine maiden) of the family shrine.  

Taki lives in Tokyo and works part time as a waiter in an Italian restaurant.  Their lives are drastically different from each other’s, including their temperaments

Then, for some mysterious reason, they begin to switch bodies.  At first, each believes they were having an extremely realistic dream.  Until their respective friends and families comment on how strange they were acting.  Then, after finding notes they both leave for the other, they both realize they have a problem on their hands.

The two begin leaving each other messages and rules when they are switched into each other’s bodies.  This is so the other knows what has happened when the switch occurs.  They create rules in order to keep up appearances and to create as little chaos in the other’s life as possible. This is also because they switch bodies frequently and at random. It slowly allows Mitsuha and Taki to care about one another as they live the other’s life.

As an audience, we learn that they are tied together by fate, more accurately, the red string of fate which is worked in throughout the movie.  To be tied together means to be tied to your soulmate.  It becomes obvious that Mitsuha and Taki are soulmates but why they are switching bodies is a mystery.

Your Name is a romance movie with a dash of the supernatural mixed in, and a hint of mystery.  While nothing makes sense until at least half of the movie is over, it does a good job of playing up the romance between Mitsuha and Taki.  It is in this that their romance feels natural and not overdone or overblown.

The two leads actually put effort into their relationship, like any couple.  They make leaps of faith and sacrifices for the other.  These actions make the audience root for them to be together, not because they’re fated but because they’re Mitsuha and Taki.

The film doesn’t use the old and tired soulmate trope that the audiences are usually forced to believe. In this case, the active participation between the two main characters allows the audience to be convinced that they supposed to be together. Just because, but without it feeling like a cliche trope.

The animation and art of the movie are not overdone and the leads are not caricatures of themselves.  Rather, it all has a fluid and natural feel.  And that extends to the movements and reactions of the characters.  This makes the movie worth watching just on animation alone.

In Your Name, the main characters work to be able to be together.  Having a soulmate and being tied to each other means very little if no effort is put into the relationship.  Because strings can unravel and as the movie states: things can come together but also split apart.

Because Your Name is not a romanticized movie but an actual romantic movie.   Rather, it is active participation that allows the soulmates to actually be together. And the audience also actively wants Mitsuha and Taki to be together.  Instead of the passive “just because.”

The movie strikes a cord because in most relationships, romantic or platonic, they require a lot of work.  It is not the passive “everything will be fine” that most romcom’s lead us to believe.  Happily ever after takes real proactive work, even if it doesn’t seem obvious.  Maybe that is also the draw of Your Name. You see both of the characters actively trying to work on the relationship.  It is one of the more realistic examples of a romancic relationship, supernatural events aside. 

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