Anime Review: Your Name

November 30, 2017

Your Name Blu Ray cover

I hope that everyone is still having a good week, and are
getting plans for the weekend solidified.

Things are going pretty well because I am finally able to
have a break, as well as continue doing what I like to do.

A few days ago, I received some presents, which were mostly
store credit, but among those presents, I got a movie that I felt like seeing.

Today, I will be reviewing that movie, which is called Your Name.

Taki Tachibana and Mizuha Miyamizu are both ordinary high
schoolers, living in different areas in Japan, with hopes and dreams of their
own.

However, because of mysterious circumstances, they begin
switching bodies and they start to develop feelings for each other to the point
where they want to meet, and there is something that is preventing that from
happening.

Miyamizu family relaxing outdoors.

When I first heard that this movie was being screened where
I live, I was going to write it off because Makoto Shinkai never really managed
to impress me with any of his work that I have seen, such as The
Garden of Words
and 5 Centimeters per Second, and I viewed him
as both overrated and overhyped, but remembering how I never really liked Isuna
Hasekura before reading Spice
' Wolf
, I thought that I would give him another chance.

And after watching this movie, I can say that I liked it,
more than I thought I would.

From the moment that I started watching this movie, I found
myself engrossed enough in it that I did not want to stop watching it for any
reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as every other human being.

Now, considering how much hype this movie has gotten, I
think that very few people would argue with this, as they would have been much
more surprised if I hated it, but I was only able to do it when I was able to
pay attention to the movie in near silence and I was able to go into it with
neutral, if not positive, expectations.

Every time a creator puts out a work, it leaves behind a
good or bad impression of him or her, and the more often they put out terrible
content, people are going to get jaded and are either going to avoid them like
the plague or see it just to see how much of a train wreck it would be, thereby
making them patrons who are not really fans and probably will not ever grow to
like them, which is where I put myself on the spectrum, since I rarely give
creators any more than two works that not in the same series to impress me.
This is why one of reasons why I make it a point try to talk about how well a
work drew me in or failed to do so, other than the fact that it helps the
reader or, in this case, the viewer to ignore even the smallest of flaws, and
is a much better indicator of how good a work is than if the creator or staff
that created it did everything right, because the things done right would only
make it better.

Yes, some people would say that this is why things are only
as good as you think they will be going into it, but my chance to watch it
without the clouded belief that everything Makoto Shinkai creates is an
abomination is not the only reason that I started feeling like giving praises
to Makoto Shinkai.

In the other work that I have seen from Makoto Shinkai,
there seemed to be something missing that prevented me from feeling like I had
been taken to another and feel connected with the characters and have the same
feelings they did, beyond things that I or anybody else has experienced, and
the way things were largely handled were in a way that I highly doubt that
changing the audio track from English, which I prefer to watch so that I do not
have to worry about whether I have a headache or not, to Japanese and turning
on the subtitles would have improved anything.

In the case of The Garden of Words, the big problem
was with both how short it was, which was the equivalent of an hour-long
television episode, and the way things were executed, which was also a problem
with 5 Centimeters per Second, though the runtime, according to the stream
on Crunchyroll, was a little over an hour. As a result, I got the feeling that
Makoto Shinkai did not deserve to be called the next Miyazaki and made me feel
disgusted that people thought that it was any good, as they cared more about
the realism than the believability or how important it was to connect with the
characters more than just putting yourself in their shoes.

Here, however, it seemed like Makoto Shinkai tried making
the protagonists and those around them feel real and gave us some insight into
who each character was and what they have been going through, so that I would
not have to put myself their shoes, without knowing anything about them,
thereby making it so that I am mistaking myself and where I am now for
characters that have nothing going for them.

If that was not present in this movie, I would have hated
it, regardless of how great the artwork and/or animation looked, because I
would have only received further confirmation that Makoto Shinkai is nothing
more than a hack, in spite of the fact that even he, himself, acknowledges that
his work is not as good as people make it out to be.

Thankfully, Makoto Shinkai was able to show some
improvement, and that makes me glad that I decided to give him a third chance.

Hopefully, his movies will only get better from here,
because I would prefer this to be more than just a fluke, so that I can praise
him more often than berate him.

Then again, Makoto Shinkai is human, just like the rest of
us, so this could very well have been a fluke and the rest of his movies could
end up being just as bad as the other two I saw from him.

Still, Makoto Shinkai does deserve some praise for doing
something right for once, even if he is telling people that the movie is not as
great as they think it is.

I also liked how the bond between Taki and Mizuha formed.

One of the things that made The Garden of Words such
a terrible movie was how the growth from two people who happened to be in the
same area once into something more because there was nothing there that
suggested that either character had feelings for the other, even after all the
time they spent together, yet the way things played out, I was supposed to
believe that the male character's feelings for the teacher were real.

Yes, there are some differences between how adults and teens
fall in love, but the only way that I could see a relationship develop with how
things progressed in that movie was if they actually had a decent conversation
going each time they met. Heck, even Mikoto Misaka's feelings for Touma Kamijou
felt more realistic and believable than the male protagonist's crush on the
adult woman.

Here, in this movie, the bond between the Taki and Mizuha
seemed to be a bit more believable because there was actual communication
between the two and they got to know each other by living the other person's
life in addition to talking to each other through journals.

Because of this, I felt much more invested in the movie and
could understand their longing much better than I could from the other
characters from Makoto Shinkai's other work, as well as enjoy things more.

If this relationship was established as badly as the ones
seen in the other two movies, I would have considered this movie to be just as
much of a piece of trash that DBZ and SAO
are considered today, and I would have regretted watching this enough to never
support another title from Makoto Shinkai.

Thankfully, that was not the case, and I can at least give
Makoto some applause for actually giving me reason to feel more the characters
because the relationship did feel real.

Hopefully, this becomes more prominent in Makoto Shinkai's
future projects, as he has finally been able to make something decent for once,
and any improvements would show that he is becoming more competent beyond just
producing great artwork and animation, but since two thirds of the films I have
seen, and he was involved in making, have been rather poor outside of those two
things, I am not too confident that he can do it.

Another nice thing about this movie were that there were
quite a few things to laugh about.

While the humor found in this movie were not truly unique,
especially when compared to works in the realm of gender bending, which may
contain body swapping between genders, things were still executed well enough
that I could get a good laugh.

In most of the movies I have seen from Makoto Shinkai, I
have noticed that there is a lack of humor, and while that is not necessarily a
bad thing, since works in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres do
not usually have moments that one could consider funny, yet can be quite
enjoyable, many fictional works still have a lively atmosphere mixed in with
things that one would expect from tragedy or something else to help it feel
more realistic.

However, Makoto Shinkai's work have only one emotional
response all the way through, if any at all, and that ends up killing things
much of the time to where I cannot really enjoy.

Fortunately, there were quite a few funny things to be found
in this movie.

The funniest of which mostly happened whenever the
protagonists switch bodies and/or find out what the other did, such as touching
their own body and realizing they are a different gender and how they mess with
each other's lives.

Seeing as this movie involves body swapping, this is
something that would expected, but, unlike the expectations of many out there,
due to the fact that Rightstuf lists as rated for ages 17 and older, things
were played out in way that was closer to being family friendly, with things
only that could enough come close to the perverted nature that anime comedy is
usually associated with would be misunderstandings and weird realizations.

If these events had not occurred, I would have been truly
disappointed because that would result in a body swapping movie that is very
unbelievable, as Taki and Mizuha would have been navigating life just fine, no
matter whose body they were in, and nobody would be suspecting a thing, unless
they do not act like they usually do, whereas most people would be wondering if
what they are seeing is actually true.

Fortunately, those events were not left out, and it really
helped to liven things up a bit more than I what I have seen from Makoto
Shinkai.

Hopefully, Makoto Shinkai can add in more comedic moments
into his work, so that I do not feel numb from only feel one kind of emotion,
because that would give me a bit more reason check out more of his work than I
do right now.

The thing that I liked the most though was how this ended.

In the movies I have seen from Makoto Shinkai, he tends to
have his work end on a sad note, with 5 Centimeters per Second being a
good example, and I walk away from them extremely dissatisfied.

Now, this might make it sound like I only enjoy happy
endings, but that is not why I am not particularly fond of the endings that
Makoto Shinkai creates.

In the many works of fiction that I come across, the only
thing that I expect to see is a good and satisfying ending, and when I come
across a work with a satisfying end, such as the ending of Kotomi Ichinose's
route in Clannad,
the ending of the first Narcissu
VN
, or FMA Brotherhood, I feel like I truly read or
watched something incredible and walk away feeling happy that I spent the time
to go through, whereas most Makoto Shinkai's work makes it seem like I just
wasted my time.

This is a feeling that many anime fans and readers would
agree with, because a satisfying ending takes work to create than it does to
create a happy or sad ending purely for the sake of having a happy or sad end,
and if the audience detects that the ending was only put in so that things
could end a certain, they would be very upset because that shows that the
creator was lazy.

In this movie, even though I did kind of get a vibe that
this was more of an alternate ending to 5 Centimeters per Second, as
Mizuha and Taki kept missing each other for most of the last few portions of
the movie, it came off as satisfying as both of them were actually seeking
other out, in addition to looking another when they think they see somebody
familiar.

When I first saw this moment, I was shaking my head,
appalled that Makoto Shinkai would even think of ending things like this again,
as the only difference between this and 5 Centimeters per Second was
they at least did finally meet each other, but when I view it now, especially
considering that it was a more optimal viewing experience and I could look at
it without my strong bias against Makoto Shinkai, it did give off a different
feeling and seemed to be a lot more satisfying.

If this had ended just like 5 Centimeters per Second,
in that both Taki and Mizuha give up in the end, without even confirming their
suspicions, I would have been even angrier because then Makoto Shinkai would
have appeared to not only be a hack, but much lazy as well, which would have
really put him on my list of creators to avoid at all costs, which includes
John Grishman.

Thankfully, this more satisfying ending that the atrocity
that was the ending to 5 Centimeters per Second's ending, and ended up saving
Makoto Shinkai from the scrap heap.

Hopefully, he can put more work into his future titles,
because I really hate to berate people for something that I knew that they
poured their blood, sweat, and tears into, since I would not doubt that was
Makoto Shinkai and the people helping him do a lot to make the movies that many
have enjoyed.

Unfortunately, just like with how well this movie started,
this may only be a fluke, so I would not be surprised if things took a turn for
the worst.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least that could not be added into what I talked
about already.

Because my attention was grabbed quickly and held until the
end, unlike other works from Makoto Shinkai, there were things to laugh about,
and were a bit friendlier to the audience than the rating listed online
suggests, and that the ending was actually satisfying, this movie was fairly
decent.

Mizuha thinking

Although I liked the movie, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk and
one thing that I brought up already, which I had more of a problem with in
initial viewing, nothing really bothered me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth
mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like about this
movie, enough so that it ended up being better that I thought it would be, this
was definitely worth watching.

I mainly recommend this to fans of Makoto Shinkai and
romance, as they will like this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, as
it was better than the last two movies I saw from Makoto Shinkai, but if you
truly hate Makoto Shinkai's guts enough that you cannot go into this without
having bad expectations, it would be best to skip this, because it is not good
enough that it would change your mind about him.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on Patreon
or, if you have seen the movie and liked the music in it, buy the soundtrack
from iTunes,
so that I can find more worthwhile anime series or movies for you guys to
watch.

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