Tag Archives: Makoto Shinkai

Your Name (2016) Review

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Time: 107 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Coarse language and sexual references
Voice Cast:
Ryunosuke Kamiki as Taki Tachibana
Mone Kamishiraishi as Mitsuha Miyamizu
Director: Makoto Shinkai

Two teenagers share a profound, magical connection upon discovering they are swapping bodies. Things manage to become even more complicated when the boy and girl decide to meet in person.

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I had heard about Your Name, plenty of people has recommended this film especially in terms of anime movies. From the looks I had from some images of the movie, the visuals looked stunning but I didn’t know much about the film itself. I didn’t even know going in that it had body swapping as part of its main plot (which was quite a surprise for me when I eventually got around to it). Surprisingly, I actually loved the movie from beginning to end.

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It’s been said many times before about countless movies that it’s best going in not knowing much beforehand, but that is especially the case here. I went in knowing basically nothing and the experience I had was truly incredible. The premise of the movie isn’t new, it’s essentially a body swap story where two people keep swapping bodies. However, this has to be one of the best body swap stories, and it does a lot with its initial premise. The concept of the body swapping starts out simple but turns into much more as time progresses and as the two people try to keep notes, log moments in journals and write on their bodies, sometimes to keep the other person informed. It was compelling watching these two different characters living the other’s life, but experience it entirely different. We live through lead characters Mitsuha and Taki as they live through one another, a powerful bond is formed between the pair even though they aren’t on screen together a lot. The plot sounds basic at first but as the story unfolds it becomes so much more. The film balances very separate characters and storylines, and manages to connect them well. You are emotionally invested with what is happening, you care about the fully realised characters, the emotional moments felt earned, and the plot twists make sense. It is vast in proportion with its scale, yet the story is so intimate. Despite the fantastical elements (with the body swapping and all that), there’s a very human story at its core. It is enthralling throughout, with a pace that keeps the energy where it needs to be. It’s difficult to not be engrossed by its upbeat spirit. Your Name is many things, it’s romance, comedy and adventure, and it is sweet, sensitive, heartwarming and exciting. The story also gets dark and it handles the tonal shifts greatly. I was liking the movie already a lot leading up to that point, but I loved it even more after that point. Also without getting into it, the ending is beautiful and perfect for this movie.

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Makoto Shinkai’s direction is spectacular. I have seen a number of excellent looking animated (anime and not anime) films, but Your Name is quite possibly the most stunning animated movie I’ve ever seen. That visual style immediately got me hooked into the movie even before the story really started, with vivid colours with a style that’s well crafted to compliment the themes of the story. Honestly the visuals alone make it worth watching. That’s not all, the soundtrack by RADWIMPS is also amazing and memorable, really enhancing an already dynamic film and making it even more energetic.

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Your Name was truly spectacular. Not only was it visually amazing and gorgeous to watch, but the story is also energetic, heart-warming and compelling to watch play out, and I got very invested with it. One of my favourite anime films, and one of my favourite animated movies in general. Check it out as soon as you can, even if you haven’t watched an anime movie before.

Weathering with You (2020) Review

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Weathering With You

Time: 112 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence & coarse language
Cast:
Kotaro Daigo as Hodaka Morishima
Nana Mori as Hina Amano
Director: Makoto Shinkai

Set during a period of exceptionally rainy weather, high-school boy Hodaka Morishima runs away from his troubled rural home to Tokyo and befriends an orphan girl who can manipulate the weather.

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When it came to catching up on 2020 movies, I heard of Weathering With You being particularly good, which is an anime film. What immediately got my attention and interest however was the fact that it was made by Makoto Shinkai, the director of Your Name. That was one of my all time favourite anime films, with its story, characters and visuals, it was spectacular and I highly recommend checking it out (and it works as an entry into anime if you haven’t watched any of it yet). So I went into this movie only knowing that, I hadn’t looked at the images or the plot beforehand, and Weathering With You didn’t disappoint.

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A lot of people are going into Weathering With You with the mindset of people who previously watched Your Name. To get it out of the way, there are some similarities between the two. It’s another highly ambitious and original film combining multiple elements including coming of age drama, romance, and fantasy. Both of them also has similar plot elements and the over-arching theme of love, with it being a personal story focusing on two youths, while feeling quite large in scope. There are also some differences. However, I do judge them as their own things, and I don’t take issues with how they are similar or different. They did a good job at setting you in this location, and the characters are well established. You are along for the ride with the main characters from beginning to end. Much of the plot and writing on paper looks like it should be melodramatic, cheesy and cliché, but these characters are actually developed, and these emotional stakes and conflicts are established so well and contains a lot of empathy that it works. Like with Your Name it has some emotional moments especially towards the second half, and while it’s not quite as strong as that movie, it was effective enough here that you actually cared about what happens by the end. This film is also a metaphor for climate change underneath the fantastical myths in the plot. In terms of flaws, I guess there are small sections where I wasn’t quite invested compared to some other parts, but those are minor and don’t border on being boring.

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Makoto Shinkai directs this, and you can immediately tell that this was directed by the person who made Your Name, with the visual style, the way the camera pans around, the hyper realistic approach to the worlds that makes you feel like you could live among the characters. etc. If you haven’t seen Your Name or any of his other movies, it’s pretty hard to put into words to explain how extraordinary they look. The visuals are in a league of their own, and the animation is breathtaking. The overall look of this movie overall isn’t as fantastical as Your Name, focusing on being more realistic, especially with all the locations and settings. At the same time, the fantastical elements in this movie looks great. I do think the music for the most part is great, however I do think that there’s a bit of an overuse of pop songs. Some of it was fine (indeed a lot of that was in Your Name) but by the last third of the movie it became a bit much. That’s really my only criticism with the movie on a technical level at least.

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Weathering With You is a fantastic film. The story is empathetic and emotional, the characters are great and well established, and its directed beautifully, with enthralling and spectacular animation. Treating them as their own separate movies, I do like Your Name more than Weathering With You, though the latter of them is still great. I definitely recommend checking it out as soon as you can, especially if you like anime.