After months of waiting, Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) has finally been released in North America. In Japanese theaters, the film received critical acclaim and made over 320 million USD, and currently stands as the fourth highest grossing film of all time in Japan. In other words, it was impossible to go into the film without any expectations.
Being a longtime Makoto Shinkai fan, I knew I would encounter themes of human connection and be dazzled by stunning animation; those are his touchstones. In this analysis, I hope to examine Your Name’s theme of connections through time and space in comparison with another Japanese artist’s work, Haruki Murakami, through his short story, “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning, ” which covers a similar subject. This post will contain full spoilers for both works.
Your Name tells the story of two high school students: Mitsuha, a girl who lives in the county who dreams of finding more in Tokyo, and Taki, a boy who who lives in Tokyo who dreams of the Japanese countryside. Through magic realism, they switch bodies on random days. However, the catch is that whenever Taki or Mitsuha return to their normal bodies, they forget the previous day’s events like a fading dream. Because this has become a part of their lives, they write notes on their smartphones to retain stability in their lives. Essentially, these messages allow them to learn about the person (their friends, interests , and personalities) so they can pass as the other when switches occurs.