you name analysis

Before this class, my knowledge of anime was restricted to the childhood shows I used to watch like Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z and Beyblade. I wasn’t aware of the consistent and ongoing genre of anime as much.
Thus, I had never heard of Your Name before. I wasn’t aware that it was the huge hit that it was. So, before watching the movie I saw the summary online and I wasn’t very impressed it seemed to be like any other gender reversal story like ‘it’s a boy girl thing’ where two classmates change identities one morning after a series of incidents the night before.

Thus, I started watching the movie with some apprehension. The setup, in the beginning, was average, Mitsuha is a high school-age girl who lives in the fictional Itomori, a gorgeous, quaint village in the Hida region of Japan; Taki is a slightly older boy living in Tokyo. They are both average kids with their own social circles, but they have no actual connection, and lead very different lives, at least partially defined by their equally gorgeous settings of city vs. country.
However, what drew me in since the beginning was the visually striking settings like the train system in Tokyo, its gorgeous skyscrapers touching the sky, a never-ending horizon in Itomori, or even just a series of streets on a mountainside. It made me keep watching.
What I found the most interesting was also the part that this movie differentiated itself from all the other Hollywood gender reversal movies I had seen. The two main characters were not in the same setting, they had virtually no idea of who the other person was and then suddenly they switched bodies. They moved through the days not knowing what was happening or who they’d become. It was all very confusing and we could feel the same way from the lead characters.
But it’s not as if they are left to fend for themselves, they work to help each other, leaving each other notes and diaries about what happened when they switched places. For example, Mitsuha has the courage to talk to the girl Taki likes. But one day, they stop switching, and Taki can’t get a hold of Mitsuha in any way. He has vague memories from Mitsuha’s life and he sets out to try to find her.
What was also very interesting to me was that the lead characters, Mitsuha and Taki, maintain gender differences without feeling clichéd in the boy vs. girl way We feel like these two very different people find commonality in gender and class without losing their personalities at the same time. Mitsuha and Taki would likely never interact in the real world, but they start to become supportive of each other, and essential to each other’s happiness.
The idea that struck me most was that someone you’ve never met and would never otherwise interact with has the same needs, joys, and fears as you. This seemed like a major theme and message from the movie and a very important one that we all should remember at this time in the world.

6 thoughts on “you name analysis

  1. I feel like I can also relate with your admiration for the infrastructure and striking graphic settings. I remember how much the buildings in DBZ used to amuse me. The dome shaped houses, unconventionally shaped towers, and many other such elements in the setting really added to the effect.

  2. Your post reminds me of the scene where Mitsuha and Taki cry thinking of each other and being with each other. They have never met or done anything together at the same time in the same place, but the way they communicate with each other and feel each other is so special! By the way, exactly what message do you think the film is conveying to the audience? Obviously, we would most likely not switch bodies or be able to interact and care about someone we’ve never met so deeply. Nice post!

  3. I have the exactly same feeling with you according to your first paragraph. Before taking this course, my impression of anime still stayed on One Piece, Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon that I watched in childhood. But after taking this course, I watched anime like Perfect Blue, Ghost in the Shell, Your Name. They impacted me and changed my impression of anime and manga. Some anime are very advancing, for example, Ghost in the Shell already discussed the technology-humanbeing relationship and cyberpunk in 1995. Perfect Blue revealed the darkness in entertainment industry and
    social expectation in 1997.

    I am also impressed by the striking scenes of all the places. I think one of the reasons why those site scenes are so attracting is they are realistic. Many places shown in the movie actually exist in Japan, such as Suga Shrine – the last scene, Aogashima – the big circle mountain, Lake Suwa, the skywalk in Shinanomachi Station, etc. Now many people visit those places for just taking one picture. I’d like to try it if one day I travel to Japan~

  4. Malvika,

    I enjoyed your description of your personal journey/reaction to anime in the course. There is something universal in the idea that two people can switch bodies and learn more about another’s experience–no matter what borders/binaries separate us. Do you feel this is a central theme of the film–that we are all human, we all share similar hopes/desires/dreams–or is there some other message being shared here?


  5. One thing I feel also interesting about the main characters in Your Name is that they stay true to their personality. In many body transversal movies that I have seen, the characters usually have to change their personality in order to fit in with their new bodies and environments that they are in (or at least they try to). In Kimi no na wa, Mitsuha and Taki stays true to their feminist and masculist personality even when they are in each other’s body. It can be seen in the scene where Taki(in Mitsuha’s body) boldly kick down a table in against to all the hate talks against Mitsuha in class. And the scene where Mitsuha(in Taki’s body) sew back Taki’s crush dress and walk her home ( “Feminine power” Mitsuha said). And those personalities actually improves their relationships in life. And so, even vaguely, they encourage the viewers to stay true to your personality and identity, even if there are changes in their outside appearances

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