I had forgotten how amazing it was to watch an anime that’s so great you are at loss of words, feeling awestruck, almost like it’s a religious experience. I cannot really begin to describe the complex storytelling of this animation. It’s the story of a teenage romance between a Tokyo boy and a countryside girl who swap bodies as they are linked through space and time by some sort of old Shinto god. Or was it just a dream? It’s a truly fantastical tale — as it follows more or less Todorov’s definition of the genre. And yet, it’s also science-fiction because it involves a comet, some meteorites and technology — cellphones, etc. — is instrumental in the storytelling. In that aspect, it might be an allegory on the kind of relationships people can have through social media without never even meeting in person. But the really extraordinary part is the exceptional quality of the animation. It’s so realistic, precise and beautiful that it does really feel like a dream. You want to be there, to visit this remote part of Japan in the Gifu prefecture!
I could say so much about this movie and yet I just cannot find the words to describe how I feel. You really have to see it to understand how great it is. But, of course, if you’re a fan of Makoto Shinkai, you already know all this. He really is a master animator/director. And with each new movie he surpasses himself (mostly Voices of a Distant Star in 2002, The Place Promised in Our Early Days in 2004, 5 Centimeters per Second in 2007, The Garden of Words in 2013). There’s also a light novel and a manga adaptation, both written by Shinkai. Your name. A must!
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