Your Name.

Your Name. ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

What seemed an "in-one-ear, out-the-other" anime has become on re-watch something more. Despite my misgivings with its melodramatic plot, Your Name. has obsessed me and colonized my brain in a way few films have.

Is this a consequence of it kicking off my Covid-19 self-isolation? Perhaps. Or is it because--despite my cynical reserve--the film stirs in me genuine emotion derived not solely from its juvenile love story, but from its broader implications about Japan's history as a battering ram for the ring of fire?

I initially recoiled from what I perceived as adolescent, male wish-fulfillment (strapping young man rescues damsel he loves), only to discover upon re-watch wish fulfillment of a very different sort. What if Japan's Shinto-Buddhist traditions could avert disaster? It seems trivial on first blush, but this notion haunts the film more seriously than its cosmic love story.

Pairing this mature concept with a twisty plot and characteristically Shinkai/Wong-Kar Wai-esque distant love story produces a film so soaringly original, endlessly re-watchable, and staggeringly beautiful that it obliterates any petty complaints one might have denoting plot contrivances or sophomoric sentimentality.

It's possible as I slowly retreat back to everyday civilization that this piece of escapist entertainment will seem less profound, but Your Name. nevertheless, despite its failings, is a spellbinding work and one of the great popular films of its time.

NOTE: [roughly translated; excerpted from an interview on the American Blu-Ray release]

Shinkai: "An inspiration for the film was a Haruki Murakami story I read called 'On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning.' In the story, a man crushes on a woman he sees in Harajuku, and imagines seducing her by lying that they met when they were kids and had fallen in love, but had both contracted amnesia and forgotten one another. I was very touched by this, though in the story none of this really happens--they just pass each other on the street without a word and that's the end..."

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