By now, most people that have even a vague interest in Japanese pop culture have likely heard of Kimi no Na Wa. This piece seems to have taken the world by storm, even a year after it’s original theater debut.
An animated film by director Makoto Shinkai (5 Centimeters per Second, Garden of Words), this story takes place in relatively modern Japan. Two students of high school age, Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana, find themselves waking up to highly unusual circumstances. Suddenly no longer in their own homes, or their own bodies for that matter, they must be quick on their feet to figure out how to go about fitting into the life of the other. Soon enough, they begin to communicate and go boldly in trying to help out in each others’ lives.
It’s a bizarre premise, with an even more bizarre ending. I couldn’t resist comparing it to the American movie Freaky Friday, in which a mother and daughter who constantly fight are cursed to switch roles. Though, unlike Freaky Friday, I found that Mitsuha and Taki were a lot more fun to watch. After getting over the initial intrigue with bodies they aren’t accustomed to being in, it was fascinating to see them working together in order to make the strangeness of the situation the least stressful part of their lives.
A fascinating premise, with another somewhat odd piece to the romantic subplot. Much like Shinkai’s previous work, Garden of Words, I felt the relationships between the two protagonists was odd. Perhaps it is the fact that the love that forms between the characters is not what one would expect from a love story. My vagueness being unavoidable less I give out spoilers, the film overall is immediately entertaining. Needless to say, its around the world fame is just short of deserved.