Japanese Film ‘Your Name’ Holds Up Over Time


Leon dos Remedios

Released in 2016, “Your Name” was one of Japan’s biggest hit films that year, even becoming the highest-grossing anime film of all time in the world and Japan’s highest grossing film of all time. That was until “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” was released in 2021. Despite the film’s dethroning from Japan’s monetary hill, it has been revered as one of the greatest animated films of all time, and it was so popular that the director of the film, Makoto Shinkai, had this to say about the success of the film: “It’s made life feel a bit constricted… I feel like I’m constantly being watched.”  

Many fans of the film criticized the 2016 Academy Awards for not including “Your Name” within its animated film category. The main reason it wasn’t included is most likely because of how few Americans had seen this movie due to it being a limited release within theaters, which leaves many Americans wondering, “What makes this film so beloved by people across the ocean?” 

The film begins with the male lead Taki waking up from a dream that leaves him crying. It then cuts to the female lead Mitsuha doing the exact same. They both talk about feelings of loss, and how they feel like their life hasn’t been complete in the past few years.  

The movie then plays intro music, and then we cut to Mitsuha waking up in her grandmother’s home. However, it turns out that it’s not Mitsuha, but in fact the male lead Taki is in her body controlling it. How this happened is a mystery, but it does eventually get explained later. Eventually, Mitsuha regains control of her body, only to realize Taki has essentially been messing with her life. The same has happened to Taki, as they realize early on that they’re not dreaming of being in another person’s body as they had suspected, but they were actually switching bodies and living the other’s very real life. 

One of the film’s main themes is that of connection, particularly how everything is connected through musubi, a red thread of fate that connects all life and events that have occurred or will occur within the real world. This theme of connections and forming bonds with other people is of special importance nowadays, where people find themselves connecting with others less and less due to things like technology and more importantly, a worldwide pandemic that had been keeping everyone to themselves.  

Another important theme that can be looked at today is the theme of hope, as the characters find themselves in a nearly hopeless situation during the film’s climax, but they continue to hold on to hope that they can figure a way out. Hopefully people that watch this movie can look at these themes during the dark times they find themselves in, and ultimately they can find hope and courage within their heart to pull through with the ones that they hold dear to their heart. 

The movie does feature some drawbacks, especially when it comes to the elements of time travelling that are introduced later in the film, leaving small but ultimately ignorable plot holes that seem to be featured in the movie during the third act. However, it’s quite easy to look past the mistakes when your eyes are blessed with beautiful hand-drawn 2D animations with characters that have more life in them than what a life action actor could pull off. 

Despite its limited American release, “Your Name was a smash hit for anime films, and Japanese films as well. It’s beautifully animated sequences of character interactions backed by fantastically beautiful writing and character development make it an instant classic for anyone who may not have been able to catch it upon its release six years ago.