(Kimi No Na Wa)
The premise of Your Name. seems to have been borrowed from the live-action Passion of Mind (2000), which had two Demi Moores on either side of the world, each dreaming they were living the others life. That film ended with an absurdly contrived mundane revelation whereas here Makoto Shinkai plays the premise with far more confidence in the fantasy elements than Passion of Mind ever did. While Passion of Mind had either dreamer as a passive observer in the others life, this has the two devising a way of communicating with one another and then, the logical step that Passion of Mind never thought of, to set out to find the other.
Your Name. starts out as typical shoujo drama the look is the classical one of characters with large oversized eyes and the artwork resembles the clean simplicity of Hayao Miyazaki. Maybe a shoujo anime with a cute bodyswap premise in the early sections, Shinkai derives humour from Taki waking up to find he has breasts and Mitsuha in his body adding a feminine touch that allows him to win the girl he likes. All of which seems to be setting up a light and fluffy film, which seemed a little more on the juvenile side than the anime classic I was expecting from the films strong advance word.
At almost the halfway point, Your Name. turns into something else altogether. Makoto Shinkai pulls the rug out from under us with the shock revelation that Itomori was wiped out by the comet and the secondary revelation that this happened three years ago and that Taki has been communicating with Mitsuha across time. It then becomes a completely different story about trying to prevent the tragedy from occurring.
The mid-film shift does however feel odd going from a bodyswap film like Passion of Mind to something akin to Timescape (1992) with its cross-temporal conundrums about preventing a town from being struck by a meteorite. That and maybe a few dashes of the impossible day/night romance of a film like Ladyhawke (1985). I didnt feel like these plot elements or the mid-film shift in the type of story we were watching fully gelled. I wanted to be drawn in more by the characters but the film skips over them at times and instead heads off to a more drama-oriented climax about saving the village from the comet splinter, leaving two beautifully told stories that never fully satisfy.
Certainly, it is in this latter half that Your Name. gains its greatest emotional strengths. The film is imbued with the longing for an impossible love that stretches across time and to someone who may even be dead but for Takis determination to save her. It is also a film that comes with an overwhelming sense of loss of things forgotten its saddest moments are those when the two cross-temporal figures start to forget one anothers names.