Your Name.

Your Name. ★★★★★

Makoto Shinkai directs this critically-acclaimed animation in which two complete strangers find themselves being connected in a very strange way. Is distance the only thing which is preventing them from seeing each other?

The story concerns a teenage boy and girl embark on a quest to meet each other for the first time after they magically swap bodies (one immediately thinks of Freaky Friday as this is very similar).

Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh both give terrific voice performances in their respective roles as Taki and Mitsuha.

Taki is a high school boy living in Tokyo who enjoys sending time with his pals and works part-time in an Italian restaurant. Although he is gentle, he is short-tempered, which doesn’t make him likeable at times.

Mitsuha is a high school girl living in the rural town of Itomori, but she doesn’t like life in the town and aims to move to the capital Tokyo and finds it hard to get on with her father.

Sinterniklaas and Sheh both suit their roles really well, voicing like they are determined to try and see each other.

Elsewhere, Laura Post and Catie Harvey voice the roles of Miki and Yotsuha. Miki is a University student who works in the same place as Taki and both have a mutual attraction, but Taki doesn’t want to go into a relationship with her. Yotsuha is Mitsuha’s younger sister who believes she is mad but still cares for her.

Glynis Ellis and Scott Williams voice the parts of Hitoha and Toshiki. Hitoha is the head of the Miyamizu family and the grandmother of Mitsuha and Yotsuha, while Toshiki is the girls’ father who is not a likeable character because of the way he makes his feelings clear, while also being a town mayor at the same time.

All the voice cast are decent and none of them disappoint.

The direction from Shinkai is excellent because he allows the facial expressions to be seen to a strong effect throughout, while also keeping a pleasant but sometimes tense atmosphere happening as well. The script is written to a terrific standard by the director as he makes the movie easy to follow.

The technical aspect that stands out best is the camera, because it makes very good use of the locations and also captures the tense moments well, which deservedly get the edge-of-the-seat status.

The animation is beautifully put together and for me, it really does feel like this is a film from Studio Ghibli – if this was produced by Ghibli, it would be added to their collection of classics.

Overall, Your Name is one excellent anime from Japan, thanks to the solid voice cast performances, the excellent direction and well written script from Makoto Shinkai, along with the terrific animation and mixed atmosphere. One of the best animated feature films to have been made in the year of this release.

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