On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.
Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love.
A high-school girl named Makoto acquires the power to travel back in time, and decides to use it for her own personal benefits. Little does she know that she is affecting the lives of others just as much as she is her own.
Mitsuha is the daughter of the mayor of a small mountain town. She's a straightforward high school girl who lives with her sister and her grandmother and has no qualms about letting it be known that she's uninterested in Shinto rituals or helping her father's electoral campaign. Instead she dreams of leaving the boring town and trying her luck in Tokyo. Taki is a high school boy in Tokyo who works part-time in an Italian restaurant and aspires to become an architect or an artist. Every night he has a strange dream where he becomes...a high school girl in a small mountain town.Written by
Kimi no Nawa is up there with the quality of work Studio Ghibli makes. It's a journey in a world breathing with atmosphere, mystery, and visual wonder. A journey about growth and resilience in the face of overwhelming odds. A journey about human emotion that transcends space and time, as we watch our two protagonists struggle relentlessly against fate. A journey that might just be one of the most captivating anime movie experiences I've had in years.
Director Makoto Shinkai's artistry is something people tend to love or hate, but this film is solid proof to all of his disdainful critics that his movies were never "just eye candy". They explore the nature of life and relationships in quiet ways rarely seen or discussed, which is why most of them are not fast-paced or action packed...and why they are so beautiful. But even if you're not a fan of this kind of style with its major use of metaphorical imagery and mixture of subtle and explosive emotions, definitely give Kimi no Nawa a chance. This is by far his most ambitious, original movie in many ways. For instance, there's an actual mystical element to the story apart from his previous films that are set purely on realism. The pacing is a lot faster and intense. There's a surprising amount of humor in the script, making the chemistry between the characters more light-hearted and comically entertaining than expected. All of this is done through a narrative vision so emotional, so brilliantly realized, that I'm pretty sure everyone at the Anime Expo world premiere screening was tearing up, including me.
Without spoiling, what mainly drives this film's story is the dynamics of our main characters' relationship. The way these two interact is just so unique and lovable. The premise itself allows them to bond on a more personal level, far more intriguing than the usual teenage love story where boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy gets girl. Eventually, you become so invested in their strange relationship, that when all the action goes down, it's no longer just suspenseful - it's almost heartbreaking.
Editing and sound design play a HUGE role in this immersion. There's rarely a single dull moment because of how gripping and emotionally driven the timing of every cut is. The sound design combined with a beautiful music score is outstanding - subtle and moving when creating atmosphere, powerful at times of dramatic conflict. In fact, the same can be said for pretty much all of the visual aesthetics - which if I haven't already mentioned, are amazing. This is a prime example of astonishingly jaw-dropping animation combined with powerful storytelling.
Kimi no Nawa is not just any anime movie. It has the potential to be viewed and studied as art cinema. It's so beautifully crafted and meticulously detailed, I feel like I didn't even cover 80% of its greatness in this review. To do that, I would have to make a spoiler analysis review, and to do that, I would probably have to see the movie again, maybe a couple more times before I can fully appreciate this nearly flawless masterpiece.
I know I sound like I'm fanboying, but as a film student and anime fan for many years, I'm being fully honest here - if Director Makoto Shinkai keeps this kind of quality up, he is going to be an even bigger name in the anime industry for years to come. Remember Your Name long enough until it's available in your country, if you're not seeing it in Japan theaters. Because trust me, you're not going to forget it. 10/10
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