This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Mikael Brønmo Hansen’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
What a year... On this day one year ago, I watched this movie for the first time. Little did I know that this movie would change my life for ever.
Where do I even start. I remember the experience of watching this movie for the first time, so vividly. I know exactly where I was, what time it was, even how the weather had been that day and especially the feeling I sat with afterwards.
*Disclaimer. This is going to be a really long and personal review (if you can even call it that), probably also really boring. I just want to gush about this movie so much, because it means so much to me. This next paragraph is not part of the of the review per say. It's just me ranting about how difficult it was to get a hold of the movie. Just skip to the next paragraph if you want to read my actual review. *
At the time I "only" gave it a 9/10. It wasn't even in my top 100 list. But even so... I knew this was something special. So, I ordered the Blu-ray of it online. When it finally arrived the next, I was so excited. I put in the disk, ready to watch it again, and... It only had Japanese and Swedish speech and Swedish subtitles... Now I am Norwegian, so I do understand Swedish, but it's not optimal, and the Swedish dub was really bad. So, I went on another site and ordered it again. I waited another week, and it came. I put the disk in... and low and behold, Swedish dub and subtitles. At that point I was really annoyed, and didn't want to spend more money on it until I found a version with English dub and subtitles (Even though it was 100% my fault for not reading the description before ordering). So summer was passing by, and I was packing for university. And I was looking for movies to buy used online. And I happened to find someone who was selling a ton Blu-ray's. I looked through them, and saw something that stood out to me. Yes, there was no doubt about it. A steelbook cover version of Your name. I sent the guy a message, and asked if it had English dub and sub. He answered that it did, so I bought it. Best thing I've ever bought. So yeah that's my long and boring story about why I bought three copies of Your name. But man, it was definitely worth it.
*Actual review starts here*
So, in one year now, I've seen this movie 12 times. An average of 1 time per month. Needless to say, I like this movie. A lot. It is in fact my favourite movie of all time, as I've stated many times. So, with this being my one-year anniversary of the movie, I thought I'd pour out everything I love about this movie in this very long love letter to the movie Your name.
I'd like to start off with the music in this movie, because my god, the soundtrack for Your name is probably... no it is definitely my favourite soundtrack for anything, period. Just listening to a single note from any of part of the score makes me go: "Man I really want to watch Your name again". It is just so perfect. As I've mentioned. I watched this movie for the first time one year ago. Now you know at the start of December, you get this "Wrapped" from Spotify. It contains all of the stats from the year about the music you've listened to. From May 31th to December 1st, there's about six months. Now when I got my "Wrapped" I could see what album I listened to the most, and how long I listened to it. Well in those six months, I listened to the soundtrack from Your name for about 128 hours. And I'm still not tired of it. I'm actually listening to it right now as I'm writing this review. The soundtrack incorporates the feelings of the scenes so perfectly. One thing I would like to highlight is the theme "Date". This is played during Taki and Miss Okudera's date. In this theme, we can also hear parts of "Mitsuha's theme". The reason for this being that Mitsuha wishes that she could be there with Taki, but she can't. I just really like that you can feel what Mitsuha is feeling from the track that's played over the date. Just listening to a particular song brings me back into the movie. That might just be because I've seen the movie so many times now, but details details... But this soundtrack being as great as it is, is no coincidence. The music was made as the movie was animated. Radwimps spent a year and a half on making the music for Your name. Shinkai even went as far as to alter certain scenes and dialogue according to the music, and wise versa. That way, the music would just be a part of the movie. And they totally nailed it.
“Once in a while when I wake up, I find myself crying. The dream I must have had, I can never recall. But… But… the sensation that I’ve lost something, lingers for a long time after I wake up. I’m always searching for something, for someone. I’ve been consumed by this feeling, ever since that day… That day when a star fell. It was almost like, like seeing something out of a dream. Nothing more or less, than a breathtaking view.”
Chills. Every. Single. Time.
That’s what this movie is. Nothing more or less, than a breathtaking view. The animation of this movie is beyond beautiful. It is something that you just don’t see often. I tend to throw around the words “gorgeous”, “beautiful”, “stunning” at different animated movies. But this. This is something beyond that. Trust me when I say this. This is THE most beautiful movie to date. The only movie I can think about getting close to this level, is Makoto Shinkai’s next movie Weathering with you. This man isn’t the next Miyazaki, as many have stated. No, he is Makoto Shinkai. Remember the name. Because he will be considered, if not already, as one of the greatest artists ever. I get chills just thinking about shots and sequences from this movie. Everything from the close and intimate scenes, to the really wide and big landscape scenes. It’s all so detailed. Ever since he started making short films back in 1999, he has been consistently knocking it out of the park with his animation. The beauty of this movie can almost not be described with words. You just have to see it. I’ve showed this movie to a lot of people, even people who hate anime. And they all say one thing to me after the movie is over. “That was probably the best animation I’ve ever seen.” This movie is worth watching just for the animation alone. Luckily, it’s amazing in every other way too, but I’ll get to that later. One section I would like to highlight, is the section where Taki falls in the cave after drinking Mitsuha’s Kuchikamisake, and sees her life. This scene stands really out from the rest of the movie. It shows all of the connections Mitsuha makes and loses in her life. And it’s this really trippy journey for Taki, where we and he learn everything about Mitsuha’s backstory in just one and a half minute. From birth to when the comet falls. Shinkai could easily have had this monolog full of exposition where we learned all of this information, but instead, he used barely any dialogue. Most of the story is told through these gorgeous dream-like sequences. And that’s one thing that has stood out to me when I’ve watched all of his films this week. He only uses exposition when it’s necessary. He avoids it as often as he can. He will much rather tell his story through the visuals, which is what makes him such a talented director.
Makoto Shinkai is a man that really loves the city of Tokyo. With the way he portrays it in all of his movies, it’s easy to see that. Especially in this movie, maybe more so in Weathering with you, since most of that movie is spent in Tokyo. But here you can feel that love for Tokyo, as Mitsuha is one that dreams of coming to the city. She hates being stuck in Itomori. In her wonderful way of describing it, “This town is too towny”. I interpret this as Shinkai growing up in the country and feeling like he can’t do what he wants to do with his life. He feels trapped there. Longing for a life in the bright and beautiful city of Tokyo. On the flip side. Taki represents the side of him that has lived in Tokyo for a while, and loves it there. When Taki comes to Itomori, he is frustrated with all of the things that is missing from his usual life in Tokyo, and all of the disadvantages of living in the country. But after a while, he starts to respect it. While he wouldn’t move out to the country, he has found a love for it, that he was missing previously. That might just be me reading waaaayyy too into this, but that’s at least how I interpret it.
There are a lot of characters in this movie, so I won’t talk about all of them, but very often a complaint I see about this movie, is the lack of development for or depth to side characters. Take Teshi for example. He’s the son of the leader for one of the biggest companies in the area. He has a lot of expectations to live up to. When Sayaka and Mitsuha complain about the town, he keeps himself in distance of this. He doesn’t want to participate in the conversation. Later Sayaka asks him what he wants to do after school. He responds, “What you talking about the future? Where’d that come from?” The way he responds to this makes it seem like he hasn’t given it any thought. And that while that is true, it’s not because he doesn’t think too far ahead. It’s more because he doesn’t have a choice for what he wants to do. When he is older, he’s set to inherit the construction company. That means that he can’t go to a big city in Tokyo and become what he wants. And while he’s happy for his friends, who have that opportunity, he can’t help but feel sad every time it’s brought up. But as we later see in the movie, he has broken free from this. Mostly because of the comet, that destroyed Itomori, but even so, he got his happy ending by ending up with Sayaka and living in Tokyo.
Miss Okudera. The crush of Taki at the start of the movie. She does develop feeling towards him too, because of Mitsuha and her “feminine power”. But ultimately, she sees that Taki has his eyes set on someone else. Even before Taki realizes it himself. So, since she is the mature and grown up person that she is, she steps down, and sets Taki’s happiness ahead of her own. But as we see towards the end of the film, when she tells Taki “I hope that at some point, you’ll find happiness too”, as the camera focuses on her hand with a ring. She has found her happiness.
Tsukasa or Mister Tsukasa as Mitsuha calls him. Taki’s best friend, who along with Okudera, tried to “help” him with finding Mitsuha, is one that doesn’t get that much development, but his character has more to him than it would seem at first glance. For example, the scene in the basketball court, where they eat lunch for the second time. So, when it’s Taki is in his own body. After he leaves for work, Tsukasa says that “I thought he was kind of cute yesterday”, before proceeding to blush. Now up until my last time watching this movie, so the 11th time, I just assumed this meant that he was gay. And I thought that was pretty cool. I also liked that it wasn’t in your face either. It was just a little more detail about his character. Now what I noticed during that last re-watch, was how close Tsukasa and Okudera became during their trip towards Itomori. I then remembered that ring Okudera had, that I mentioned. So, I waited for the scene where Taki, Tsukasa and Shinta met up at the end of the film. And low and behold. Tsukasa had a ring that’s identical to Okudera’s ring. Tsukasa wasn’t gay, he was bi. Now, my point with all of this, is that all of Mitsuha and Taki’s friends that had a lot of screen time, found their happiness while Taki and Mitsuha were still searching for theirs. And I love the message of with this. That you shouldn’t stress about all of your friends finding their happiness before you. Your happiness will come. You just have to find it first.
So, last but definitely not least, our to leads. Taki and Mitsuha. I love them. They couldn’t be more different from each other, but even so, they were meant for each other. I especially love the sequence where they’ve figured out what’s going on, and try to figure out what to do. They are frustrated by the other one and how they live their life, and also hate how the other one is dealing with their own life. It shows that, you don’t have to live your life in a set way. If you were in someone else’s shoe, you’d probably live that life very differently. You are not on a set path. You choose the way you want to live your life.
Mitsuha is one with a lot of pressure on her shoulder’s. She’s the mayor’s daughter and part of the Miyamizu family, and bear the responsibility of upholding the traditions of the Miyamizu shrine. The way she keeps on going, and not being torn down by all of this pressure is with routines and staying as quiet as possible. We see that as soon as Taki is in Mitsuha’s body and starts saying what (s)he means, people are very confused. It’s very unusual from her. We also see that when Taki doesn’t do Mitsuha’s hair, people point that out very loudly. She has to look good at all times, that’s why her hair is so important, and why she puts so much effort into doing it every morning. Which is why the decision to cut it is so important. When she cut’s her hair, it’s like her saying “No I’m done with all of this. I’m going to live my life my way.” Up until the switches, Mitsuha was able to hold up this barrier, so that no one could see any other version of her than she wanted to. But then that changes. We see that as she’s getting ready to go to Tokyo, while doing her hair. The camera is behind her, and moves up so that her hair is in the middle. The camera then proceeds to pan to the left, so that we see through the hole between her arm and head, and into the middle. She’s crying. Taki has broken down that barrier that she set up, and she realizes that she has feelings for him.
Taki on the other hand, is quick to pick a fight as Okudera states. He doesn’t take no for an answer. He doesn’t always come out on top, as seen from his bandage on his chin at the start. He is someone that would much rather stand his ground and lose, than give up. And this is what I really loved about the movie from the first time I saw it. The world this movie takes place in, it feels real. It feels lived in. It’s not like the movie is the starting point for our character’s life. They’ve lived in this world for a long time already. Taki is also a really shy. He acts tough, but on the inside, he is also insecure. Kind of like Mitsuha.
I really love the story of Your name. It’s everything I love about movies. All of my favourite genres. Drama, romance, mystery, sci-fi and of course animation. And the way Makato Shinkai tells this story is so great too.
This is a list of some of my favourite scenes from the movie:
- The opening scene where we see the comet, and they say “Nothing more or less, than a breathtaking view”, I get chills throughout my entire body, every time.
- The ritual scene, where Mitsuha and Yotsuha performs the ritual. That scene is so gorgeous. The fluid animation, the light reflecting in the gold. Mesmerizing.
- The first time Mitsuha sees Tokyo in Taki’s body. We see Tokyo as it would feel like for someone who’ve only dreamt of seeing the city. And you can’t help but fall in love with the view.
- The scene at the end of Okudera and Taki’s date, where they’re at the bridge. Half of the bridge is covered in dark, while the other half is bathed in light. As Okudera crosses from the light to the dark, she says “this is far enough.” This was the point where the possibility of a relationship between the two were gone. Okudera in the dark. Sad that she won’t be able to be with Taki. Taki still in the light, because he has a future with the love of his life ahead of him. But that girl is not Miss Okudera.
- The Katawaredoki scene. They finally meet each other. Taki and Mitsuha. Everything is perfect. They decide to write down their names, and just as Mitsuha is about to write down he name, the camera cuts. She’s gone. That’s probably my favourite cut in a movie. Period. Like the biggest gut punch ever. God it’s so amazing.
- And finally, the Stair scene of course. The last scene in the movie. Brings tears to my eyes, every single time.
Okay this is the last thing I would like to talk about, I swear. If you’ve read this entire review, I thank you. This is as you can imagine a movie that means a lot to me. And also, if you’ve read this entire review, what’s wrong with you? How much free time do you have? I say, as I have written a over 3500-word long review about a movie that no one is going to read.
The last thing I want to talk about, is why this movie means so much to me. One year ago, on this day, I watched this movie for the first time. It was my introduction to anime. My blessing into this wonderful world of a medium that I once mocked for being “silly, perverted and worst of all, stupid.” Anime has since then, changed my life.
- I watched “Neon Genesis Evangelion.” A show with giant robots fighting monsters, that’s really about what it means to be a human, and why you shouldn’t run away from your problems. It made me realize what kind of person I was, and it disgusted me. So, I changed. I became better.
- I also watched “A place further than the universe.” A show about four girls going on a trip to antarctica. But really a show about not wasting your youth. One day it will pass by, no matter what you do. You just have to enjoy it while it lasts. So, I started saving. Saving for a trip that I’m going to take when I graduate from university. I’m not going to let my youth pass by without enjoying it to its fullest.
- I watched “Anohana.” A show about a group of friends that were separated after the loss of one their friends, and that girl coming back as a ghost with the main character having to help fulfill her wish, so that she can move on. A show about the importance of sticking together and grieving. Death is final, but it shouldn’t be what stops you from living your life.
- I watched “K-ON.” A show about cute girls that sit around drinking tea and eating cake, and occasionally making music together. A show about friendship and growing up. K-ON thought me that, yes, we all grow up eventually, but graduation isn’t the end, friendship will last until the end. Remember the memories. Those will last forever. So, for now, just enjoy the time being.
- And lastly, I watched “Clannad: After story.” A second season to a high-school romance, that shows the life after the happy ending. A show about life, and its hardships. Even after your happy ending, life won’t be always rose’s and sunshine. There will be tough times. But it’s important that you don’t let that break you. You must keep on living. Living for the ones that you love, and the ones that love you. Ironically enough, this show broke me. But it also made me realize that I one day want to start a family and have kids on my own.
I have also made so many friends because of anime. I’ve found a community online that share my love for this medium, that I talk to every single day. People that got me through my first year living alone. They mean the world to me.
And all of this within a year. All of this because I, on this day one year ago, watched a movie by Makato Shinkai, called Your name.