Your Name. ★★★★½

My pick for 2016’s best animated film is none other than Makoto Shinkai’s breathtaking, heart-swelling romance Your Name. Adapted from his own same novel, Shinkai raises the stake in terms of pushing the boundaries and possibilities of storytelling. It follows two teenagers who switches bodies and ends up falling in love with each other. Sounds complicated? Yes and no. Shinkai embraces the melodrama and absurdity of his scenario with conviction and as I’ve said, he pushes as far and as effective as he can be. Your Name juxtaposes many elements that are universal. It is not just about making connection and time, but it’s also about loneliness, yearning, and searching for possibilities in life’s unexpected ways. With the film’s unique attention to character monologues, Shinkai makes interesting cases and observations throughout the film which made me think and reflect on the things I’ve had as a person. I can’t fully describe what I’ve seen, but I am deeply astounded by how far an anime can go in bringing such raw emotion and imaginative wonder without being manipulative. It is cerebral but at the same time, profoundly open. Your Name is such a wonderful welcome to the cinema of Shinkai, and this is just the beginning of my new admiration for this man.

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