Hunter Powell’s review published on Letterboxd:
“I wanted to tell you that… Wherever you may end up in this world, I will be searching for you.”
Distance creates a disconnect. Time wears away our memories. We forget people who once meant the world to us. But the bonds we form change us on such a fundamental level that the impact made by those we love will never fade away.
I don't think an ending to a movie has ever made me that happy. People have called Makoto Shinkai the new Miyazaki, but I'd have to disagree. He is certainly the best anime filmmaker in the business right now, his animation is just as beautiful and the magic in the stories that he weaves is just as encapsulating. However, Miyazaki deals in grand scale epic animation, creating some of the greatest adventure animations of our time throughout most of his career. Shinkai is a personal filmmaker, dealing with personal stories overflowing with emotion, and I'm an absolute sap so I loved every second of it. He resembles more the late stages of Miyazaki's career, with quite a bit more ambition.
The hand drawn animation on display here is better than almost everything I've seen from American animation in the past decade. Every scene is like a painting, highlighting the intense personal emotion that Shinkai is dealing with here by using bright colors and filling his scenes with light. His two lead characters are incredibly fleshed out and infectiously likable, never falling into any typical anime stereotypes. The narrative that Shinkai creates here is well-written and fulfilling to the point that I wanted to rewatch it as soon as I finished to pick up on everything he was crafting in his story. It starts out seeming pretty simple but the more you progress through it, the more interesting it gets. Shinkai manages to weave the story through relatively free of any plot holes, and accomplishes something truly original by the end (and very romantic if you're into that sort of thing like I am).
Your Name. is an animated masterpiece and sets the bar high for Shinkai from here on out. I can't wait to see where he goes from here, and I certainly can't wait for this to make a run in American theaters. Your Name. is a stunningly beautiful movie, and if you can find a way to watch it sooner rather than later, I couldn't encourage it enough.