𝕎𝕚𝕝𝕝𝕖𝕞 (𝕃𝕖𝕠) 𝕧𝕒𝕟 𝕕𝕖𝕣 ℤ𝕒𝕟𝕕𝕖𝕟’s review published on Letterboxd:
I've had a strange and twisty road with Makoto Shinkai's work. The first film I saw of him, 5 Centimeters Per Second, was a nice and layered, poetic little film that carefully melted my heart where the second film I saw, The Garden of Words, left me baffled with its uncontrollable melodrama, albeit being beautifully crafted. His latest hit Your Name. is a lovely middle way between those two.
Before I started watching this I had quite a prejudice towards it. Firstly I was kind of scared that it would have the same kind of melodrama as in The Garden of Words, the premise of it all also sounded quite cliche to me and to top it off I was always kind of weary of the typical anime-style drawings (you know, the ones that don't look like Ghibli-stuff... I'm really a Ghibli-slut). Nonetheless Your Name. really surprised me! Firstly it mixed the cliche plot of two people switching lives with some other cliche bits and bops here and there (including a take on the heroine-has-to-convince-a-town-in-which-nobody-believes-her plot). It is an incredibly nice and unique way to spice up a story which has been told countless times before and while it is presented in a slightly cluttered way around the middle of the film, it's still understandable and very enjoyable.
A large part of that enjoyability, for me at least, comes from the fact that, while the film is filled with numerous obnoxious J-pop songs and heavy flourishes of melodrama, it also has a solid place reserved for that poetic, meandering in both image and plot to let the many happenings of the story settle with ease with the viewer. It also helps solidify the impressions the characters give us throughout the film. At first they seemed to be the oversimplified facts of life we would get in silly teen comedies from the early 2000's but as the first plot devices carrying the switching bodies-tale were rushed in to make room for the much complexer overall plot, these quick glances became much clearer studies. Still simple and palpable enough for the many teens that will watch or have watched this of course, but clever enough to keep a wandering mind like my own thinking for a bit.
So yes, I was indeed surprised in a positive way and I hope Shinkai will do that to me a few times more in the future.!