be me for a while. Iíll be you,Ē so spake a late-20th
century Middle American sage. The notion of seeing things through
someone elseís eyes, walking in their shoes - body swapping - has been
an evergreen fictional premise, particularly when itís a switch between
the sexes. In Makoto Shinkaiís Your Name, we not only explore what
occurs when a teenage boy and girl magically trade places, but possibly
even shift dimensions.
canít Mitsuha remember what happened the day before? What is this mass
hallucination her sibling and schoolmates seem to share where she
behaved like a wild brute and made a spectacle of herself at school?
Bad enough Mitsuhaís already under the spotlight as the daughter of her
small townís stiff-necked mayor and under pressure to perform her duties
as a shrine maiden to perfection; this apparent blackout of hers simply
canít happen again.
are those things on the front of his chest? When did he grow all this
long hair? Where is he? These are some of the pertinent questions
posed when Taki awakens one day and has no idea where or what he is.
While his consciousness is absolutely his, his physique is a little
different than the one he went to bed with. Not only has Takiís body
changed; everything is different. Besides suddenly being a girl, he is
also a big sister, a grandchild, a daughter, a priestess, a target of
petty jealousy, and a beloved friend living a quiet existence in a rural
valley. Takiís independent life as a hard-working Tokyo part-timer
couldnít be further removed.
the adaptability of youth, both Taki and Mitsuha grasp the general gist
of what has happened, if not the why. They very sensibly begin to
accommodate for this mysterious nightly body swap. The pair leave notes
on their mobile phones for each other about the dayís events, so that
when or if they wake up in each otherís skin, they are not at too much
of a loss as to what each had gotten up to. This helps a lot to avoid
freaking out their friends and families with any more inconsistencies
than might naturally occur when a stranger takes over your body and
the many days of trading, the two grow so close - as would be expected
living in another personís flesh - that they unconsciously look after
each other; complimenting oneís flaws with the otherís strengths: Takiís
outgoing nature brings Mitsuha a popularity she never knew, while his
aggressive, hot temper causes the mean girls tormenting Mitsuha to think
twice. MitsuhaĎs gentleness and innate sweetness gives Taki Ė now much
more in touch with his feminine side - a leg way up on the other boys,
who share a crush on their sophisticated co-worker, Miki; an eventuality
that makes him the object of envy as the Mitsuha-controlled Taki wins a
date with her.
only natural that they should want to meet face to face. When Taki is
unable to reach Mitsuha through their cell phone lifelines, an
occurrence that coincides with their suddenly no longer being able to
switch bodies, he senses something is very wrong. His journey to
Mitsuhaís hometown reveals an even larger puzzle that encompasses the
very fabric of time and space and life and death. As it seems like
Mitsuha will be lost to Taki just as mysteriously as she entered his
life, Taki vows not to let her go, even as their memories of each other
begin to fade.
Name is Japanís second biggest anime release, behind Hayao Miyazakiís
Spirited Away. There have been more than financial comparisons between
Shinkai and the man called the Walt Disney of Japan: Cinephiles around
the world are anxious to fill the massive gap that will be left with
Miyazakiís announced - renounced - though sadly inevitable - retirement.
Due to the striking box office and critical success of Your Name, along
with its surreal premise, many are pointing the finger at director
Shinkaiís painstaking attention to stunning aesthetics; lush colour
palettes, crisp character designs and glorious lighting, as well as his
totally hands-on role as director, writer, editor, designer and
photographer, one can see the equivalence, but I think thatís where it
ends. Where Miyazaki is fanciful and sweet, Shinkai is clever and
incisive. Where Miyazakiís adventures are visceral and transcendent,
Shinkaiís are more cerebral and grounded, even when weíre walking
through dimensions in the twilight home of a Shinto god.
his smart, romantic, character-driven fare that feels more like a
live-action piece captured as art, Shinkai is creating his own place
and marking his own path in the animation pantheon, and after the
sparkling, brilliant Your Name, itís one I canít wait for him to take
Lady Miz Diva
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