Geek Review: Your Name

I’m not exactly a huge fan of anime.  I’ve seen a few movies here and there, but am by no means an expert.  I can’t even say I was much of a fan of the stuff as a kid.

Then I heard a story on NPR about the movie Your Name, the biggest grossing anime film of all time, with a high 90s score on Rotten Tomatoes.  And, it was actually playing close to me, so off I went to check it out.

Teenage Mitsuha wakes up one day and doesn’t seem to recognize herself.  She seems particularly surprised to have boobs.  After a weird morning, the next day her friends are telling her she’s back to normal.  Mitsuha lives in a small village in the mountains.  She dreams of going to Tokyo.

Meanwhile, teenage Taki wakes up one morning and doesn’t seem to recognize himself either.  He’s also surprised about his body, but seems less inclined to discover things.  Once again, the next day he seems to be normal again, but he’s a bit surprised when he sees the photos on his smartphone and how he may have somewhat inadvertently flirted with the attractive woman at the restaurant he works in.

What soon becomes clear is that on various random nights, Mitsuha and Taki go to sleep and wake up after switching bodies.  They go back to their own bodies when they go back to sleep, but in the meantime, for no known reason, they swap.  The swaps have a certain dreamlike effect, making it hard for the two of them to remember much about what they do in each other’s bodies.  They do figure out how to make contact with each other by leaving notes, particularly on their smartphones, and quickly establish some ground rules that both of them ignore (Mitsuha wants Taki to stop feeling her up with her own hands, Taki wants Mitsuha to stop spending all his money at various Tokyo cafes).  And somehow, despite the fact that they never really meet in person, they fall in love.

So, you may be wondering why they don’t try calling or texting each other directly.  It turns out there’s a very good reason for that in the form of the central plot twist, and I won’t say anything more about that.

Beautifully animated, this was a sweet story about dreams, relationships, love, and destiny.  Even if you aren’t a fan of anime, you’ll probably enjoy this one.  Ten out of ten celestial events.

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