Your Name. ★★★★

The Anime Marches On! Challenge (17/26)
Five Anime Films from the 2010s (4/5)

Two Japanese teens--a city boy and country girl--wake up one day having traded bodies. What starts out like a wacky 80's body-switch comedy soon goes Donnie Darko on us, making for a movie that gets much more thematically deep as it goes along.

Director Makoto Shinkai returns to an unspoken theme of his previous film 5 Centimeters Per Second: the young citizen of Japan who is surrounded by beauty they frequently fail to recognize. And again we have some stunningly-illustrated Japanese landscapes and settings, but this time, as a result of the place-switching by the two main characters, we do see them taking the time to appreciate these new settings that each offer something their original life seemed to lack.

Shinkai is very interested in making the old new again with Japanese culture, something I, an outsider who loves learning about other societies, can definitely appreciate. From the depiction of Shinto temple ceremonies to the visual implication that our two teens are connected by the red thread of fate, Shinkai finds a way to derive a distinctly 21st century romance story from Japanese roots that go deep.

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