A Japanese anime called YOUR NAME broke box office records in Japan last year. No other anime has ever sold more tickets in that country. The film is a beautifully hand drawn animation about a teenage boy and a teenage girl who wake up one morning in each other’s bodies. The switch is only temporary but it happens over and over at seemingly random times. It’s a fascinating premise that’s fun to watch until the story gets overly complicated and then drags on too long.
Him: Where am I?
Her: I have been having strange dreams lately like a dream about somebody else’s life.
Him: The day a star fell it was almost like…
Her: like seeing something out of a dream, nothing more or less
Both: than a breathtaking view
Him: In our dreams, that girl and I…
Both: We’re switching places.
Taki is a high school student in Tokyo. Mitsuha is also a student, but she lives somewhere in the countryside.
At first their struggles in different bodies are amusing.
Boys: How could you get lost on the way to school?
Mitsuha in Taki’s body: I was enjoying myself. It’s so festive and all in Tokyo.
Teacher’s voice: Ok next, Mitsuha.
Teacher: Oh, so you remember your name today.
But gradually, the two figure out what’s going on and leave notes on their cell phones to help each other.
Him: Two or three times a week I’ll suddenly switch places with Mitsuha. Somewhere out in the boonies. The trigger is sleep. The cause is unknown.
Her: Any memories I have of the switch get more and more hazy after I wake up.
In fact, they can’t even remember each other’s names.
Then we learn that their connection is related to a comet that crashed into the countryside and that when they switch bodies, they are also time traveling.
It’s all a bit much and so is the fast pace and near constant pop music.
I usually don’t mind subtitles but lots of fast talking makes it hard to read captions and follow the visuals at the same time. The version was dubbed into English is showing only in the late morning when not many people can attend.
I can see why YOUR NAME is so popular in Japan, but it may not find the same success in America.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org