Your Name.

Your Name. ★★★★

Makoto Shinkai saw unprecedented success with Your Name. back in 2016, sending shockwaves through the international box office before becoming similarly embraced overseas. I had not seen this film up until last week, and while I remember watching part of it when it first came out, I'm glad that I have been able to experience so much more work from the likes of Satoshi Kon and Studio Ghibli since then. What appears to be a simple drama revolving around a body swap, the film slowly but surely becomes a soul-stirring experience exploring what it means to forget the ones we love.

I have yet to see an Anime film with less than stunning animation, and this is no exception; charged with resounding colors and textures that overflow each frame with tangible life. The voice-work in the English dub ground the characters of Taki and Mitsuha in the occasionally fantastical environments, and I appreciated how their personalities became pivotal to the later story elements. Their bond evolves naturally from set-pieces both humorous and tragic, and never once felt artificial.

There is a large amount of set-up to get through in the first act, and while I found Shinkai's slower approach to work in many scenes throughout, the initial premise did feel stretched-out and somewhat aimless until the inciting incident kicks off. Also, some of the supporting characters felt designed solely to push the momentum of the screenplay forward, which isn't an inherent flaw in most cases unless completely transparent, which it was in this case.

Your Name. is a great romantic drama with some of the most surprising twists and turns I've seen in recent memory, and while it does takes time to get there, the film comes together in spectacular fashion. B+