Taki is a 17 year old boy living in Tokyo. He lives the life of a normal teen – school, coffee shops with friends and in the evening he works as a waiter in an Italian restaurant where he has a crush on his boss. Mitsuha is a 17 year old girl living a very different life in a rural lakeside village called Itomori where she lives with her sister and grandmother, she is also a perfectly normal teenager.
One morning though, Mitsuha wakes up feeling very disorientated, and discovers that she is actually Taki. Both Taki and Mitsuha have begun mysteriously swapping bodies, something which then occurs every few days or so, for a day at a time. Their days begin by curiously checking out each others bodies before fumbling through the rest of day, trying to appear as normal as possible to friends and families and trying not to mess up their life before handing back their body. After simply relying on other people to tell them how strange they behaved the previous day, Taki and Mitsuha begin typing notes on each others phones – a basic diary of everything that happened so that the other can pick up on any developments in their life when they do return to their own body. Mitsuha even helps Taki by setting up a date for him with his restaurant boss.
Then, one day, the swapping suddenly stops and normal life resumes. But after the strong bond and the experience they both shared, Taki cannot stop thinking about Mitsuha. An unfortunate side effect of the body swap meant that neither of them could remember each others names or where they live when they swapped back, so when Taki decides to go searching for Mitsuha, he has to rely on vague memories of the surrounding landscapes where Mitsuha lives, sketching them down before setting off.
Meanwhile, we’re vaguely aware, thanks to its depiction during the opening credits, that this story is taking place in the build-up to what Mitsuha calls “the day when the stars fell” – a meteor shower whose full significance is only revealed at around the half-way point of the movie. This is when “Your Name” becomes something very unexpected, delivering a jaw-dropping blow that I won’t spoil here
Your Name probably spent about a year sitting on my Amazon Prime watchlist before I eventually decided to watch it. It was the highest grossing film of 2016 in Japan and the highest grossing anime film of all time worldwide, passing “Spirited Away”. A movie with 370 reviews and an overall rating of 5 stars, constantly overlooked by me in favour of old episodes of The Office! And then, one cold and gloomy weekend afternoon, I decided to give it a go.
To be honest, it didn’t really do anything for me at first, it all felt a bit messy and a little confusing and I very nearly gave up on it after about 20 minutes. And then it just grabbed me. Captivating, beautifully animated, incredible storytelling, emotional drama, it all just clicked and took hold of me. By the time it had reached its powerful ending, Your Name had just completely blown me away and I’m only sorry I didn’t give it a chance sooner.