By Cameron Hawkins
In America, when it comes to Japanese films most people really only know of animation giant Studio Ghibli. It’s known for creation of the Hayao Miyazaki films such as “Princess Mononoke,” “Spirited Away,” and “The Wind Rises.”
But film fans may get to know a new animation studio since the release of “Your Name.” Toho Co.’s animated film that took Japan by storm. It’s now the highest grossing film in Japan for 2016, taking in over $235 million since its August release. The second place film of the year, “Shin Godzilla,” only made $70 million despite an earlier release.
While “Your Name.” is not a Studio Ghibli film, it has the same quality of storytelling that has made Ghibli so well known. In any other sense, this is nothing like a Studio Ghibli release and you should not compare it to one if you choose to watch this spectacular film.
“Your Name.” is the story of a teenage boy and girl named Taki and Mitsuha who switch bodies after sleeping. They slowly adapt to living each other’s lives every other day. Throughout the film comes revelations that keep you on the edge of your seat for the second half of the film.
This film is not what you expect it to be when you walk into the theater. “Your Name.” has creative storytelling from beginning to end, well-developed characters, and even great humor throughout. It is one of those films that makes me wish that every time I watch it that it was my first time.
I’ve cried watching three films in my lifetime that I can remember: “Toy Story 3,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” and “The Wind Rises.” I’m mad at myself for not crying when I watched “Your Name.” I rate “Your Name.” as the best film of 2017 so far. If you do decide to see the film while it’s in theaters, savor it. Savor your first time exposed to this film, because you might feel the same way I do. Wishing that you could have that first-time experience over and over again.
“Your Name.” is currently playing at Century Summit Sierra in south Reno.
(Editor’s Note: Toho Co. is also the studio responsible for the 1954 release of “Godzilla”, an acclaimed Japanese film that earned worldwide attention.)