Breaking news comes from the anime industry today as Makoto Shinkai’s film Kimi no Na wa, otherwise known as Your Name, has become one of Japan’s highest-grossing films. It surpasses long-time title holder Spirited Away. But how can a movie about body-swapping teens surpass a film that has basically put anime on the map? Well, let’s find out.
What Is Your Name About?
Although the title doesn’t explain much, the story of Your Name follows two teenagers who have swapped. Mitsuha, a high school girl living in a rural town and Taki, a male high school student residing in Tokyo. Suddenly, Mitsuha dreams of herself as a young man and Taki dreams as a girl attending high school in the countryside. And while this body-swapping doesn’t seem a unique theme its Makoto Shinkai’s spin on it that has made Your Name a must-see film.
Your Name has been climbing the charts since its release in August in China and South Korea. It’s until recently that it has become popular in the West. A majority of the reviews have been comparing Makoto Shinkai to Miyazaki, even calling him “The New Miyazaki.” But how did Your Name become such a box office the highest grossing anime worldwide?
1. Beautiful Visuals
If you ever visited Japan or any other cities, you will instantly realize how beautiful and unique the city (and its countryside) is. Although there are a lot of anime that are based on real-life locations, it’s Your Name‘s interpretation of these sites that have made it a box-office hit. Your Name has taken common places and gives them that anime touch that has drawn fans to the medium. Due to the stunning visuals, these locations fans (and nonfans) are making pilgrimages to the area. Thus, not only discovering the hidden gems around Japan, but also driving tourism.
2. Spotlight on Japan
It’s been almost six years since that terrifying earthquake hit Japan. The devastation left thousands dead and more injured, either physically or emotionally. This is illustrated in the film, as a natural disaster overshadows the funny situations that Taki and Mitsuha get into. Consequently, it resonates with the Japanese audience or anyone that has gone through such a calamity.
Also, the body-swapping film highlights a side of Japan that people rarely get to see, the countryside. Your Name illustrates the rural town in such a realistic and beautiful background scenery. Thus, not only featuring the booming metropolis of Tokyo, but also the relaxing and natural environment of Japan. In the end, the film lets the people rediscover what’s beyond the concrete jungle.
3. The New Miyazaki
Your Name isn’t Makoto Shinkai’s first film. The young director has made several films that show his skills as a writer, director, and producer (Voices of a Distant Star, 5 Centimeters Per Second and The Garden of Words). His four last movies have earned him several accolades, however, with Your Name Shinkai has brought the comparisons to the legendary Miyazaki. But, the Your Name director has stated numerous times that this comparison is an overestimation. Whereas Miyazaki has announced his unretirement with his new film Boro the Caterpillar, it’s time for the new generation to take over. It’s up to people such as Makoto Shinkai to elevate the world’s perception of anime to a level of substantial artistic and literary stature.