Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name) (SPOILERS)

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Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name) (SPOILERS)

Postby ClosetOtaku » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:44 pm

On Friday, April 7, Kimi No Na Wa (English: Your Name) will be released in US theaters. This Makoto Shinkai movie has broken records around the world, becoming the highest grossing anime film of all time, even outperforming Ghibli classics Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. It is (as of this writing) the fourth highest grossing film (animated or otherwise) in Japan. It has received a 97% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

I have long been a fan of Makoto Shinkai, even as far back as his first major work, Voices of a Distant Star. His other films include The Place Promised in our Early Days, and 5 Centimeters Per Second. While those efforts hold a very special place in my anime universe, Kimi No Na Wa has surpassed them all for me in terms of story, characterization, animation quality, and music.

I highly recommend this film for older teenagers and adults. It is rated PG-13, and contains some mature humor and potentially intense scenes. It does explore themes and practices related to Shintoism. I prefer subtitles, and without spoiling anything I think there are times in this film where a dub could easily gloss over differences in the language that are important to understanding the plot.

I will contribute a more thorough (and possibly spoiler-ific) recap and discussion of the film once its US tour has ended.
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Re: Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name)

Postby EventualDay » Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:31 pm

I'm just waiting for this to be released on Bluray/DVD. It's definitely the sort of film that I'd like to own.

Normally Makoto Shinkai's works aren't my favorite (5 Centimeters Per Second and Children Who Chase Lost Voices were hard for me to appreciate), but I really liked The Garden of Words (which I *think* was his other most recent).
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Re: Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name)

Postby ClosetOtaku » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:56 am

Kimi no na wa appears to be headed for an unprecedented third week in select US theaters, focused largely on major market areas. In its first week, it out-earned North American totals for Spirited Away despite showing in only half the number of theaters. Its total North American gross -- $3.4 million -- is still far short of Spirited Away's $10 million total since its release, and will not likely match that number, but worldwide has earned more than any other anime feature film.

Reviews have generally been very good -- the movie has scored 98% on RottenTomatoes, with similar results on IMDb and Metacritic.

All this is to say that if you have the means to get to see this movie before it disappears from theaters -- and with no R1 DVD/Blu-Ray release date in sight -- you should plan to hop in a car, take a plane, or do whatever to see it legally right now.

More discussion to follow.
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Re: Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name)

Postby ClosetOtaku » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:12 pm

Kimi No Na Wa has finished its main US theater run. I’m therefore going to make some comments and observations on the film. Following this post, I will be very heavily into spoiler territory, so if you haven’t watched the movie yet, close this thread immediately.

Needless to say, I was enthralled by the movie. I have now seen it five times in theaters, have read the novel, own a number of the books (including the first two volumes of the manga, the novels, and the artbook), and have been reading comments on a several different websites.

One of the major complaints/concerns about the film was the perception that there were a number of “plot holes”. In my opinion, these concerns are not as valid once you have watched the film multiple times and/or read the novel – but in the interest of those who only were able to see the movie once or twice, I am going to use a Q&A format for most of my comments and focus on the topics of frequent objection.

Feel free to jump in at any point and continue the discussion. I hope that both you and I discover additional layers to this wonderful film.
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Re: Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name)

Postby ClosetOtaku » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:19 pm

SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Question: why didn’t Taki and/or Mitsuha realize their calendars were not in sync, particularly when leaving messages on each other’s smartphones?

This is perhaps the most common objection to the plot. My main defense here is the idea that the characters, when inhabiting each other’s bodies, were fully aware of their surroundings, but (a) not so much their corresponding lives in their own bodies, and (b) once they switched back to their bodies, their memories of the swap became hazy and were quickly forgotten. As they began to master the swaps, they retained more of the information they collected, but it was still imperfect. For example, Taki forgets the name of the town until he is reminded during the visit to the ramen shop.

We tend to remember numbers fairly well, and even when we don’t our smartphones will help us by plopping us into our calendar-oriented applications on the day in which we write our entry. We have to make a conscious effort to choose a different day. So, the really important stuff – the diary entries used for communication – were the focus of the characters’ attention, and not the day/date combination.

Therefore, even though the days in 2013 and 2016 for the same date were different, Mitsuha and Taki didn’t take notice of this.

There is a suggestion that -- on the day Taki visited go-shintai in Mitsuha's body -- him coming down in Mitsuha's school uniform was evidence that he didn't realize the days weren't in synchronization. But more on that in a future Q/A.

SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Question: About Taki and Itomori-machi: how could he remember the buildings in such vivid detail, but couldn’t remember the town’s name?

Taki is an aspiring architect. We know this from seeing his room and the numerous drawings of buildings and landscapes. His mind thinks in visual terms. Imagine a person who is great with faces but poor with names – he probably heard the town name a few times, and may have even seen it in writing, but ultimately the images and not the name stuck.
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Re: Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name)

Postby ClosetOtaku » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:25 pm

SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Question: Isn’t the whole memory loss/vanishing data plot device randomly implemented?
Not at all. Here’s how I think it worked/works.

We know the characters are sort of muddy on some details when they return to their bodies. However, Taki remembers Mitsuha, and Mitsuha remembers Taki, and all is well. Until, that is, Taki (in Mitsuha’s body) goes to go-shintai and the underworld.

Remember what oba-chan said: to return to the real world, you must leave your most precious item behind. This would have been the kuchikamizake for Mitsuha and Yotsuha – but that wasn’t Mitsuha, that was Taki. His most precious item at that moment was the whole swapping thing with Mitsuha and all the associated memories. Once he leaves go-shintai, he and Mitsuha never randomly swap again.

Note what happens when oba-chan “wakes” Taki up after the trip: he sits upright, and tears begin to flow. Taki’s mind hasn’t grasped it yet, but his connection to Mitsuha has been severed. His soul knows it, though, and he cries.

At virtually the “same” moment, Mitsuha is fixing her hair in the mirror when the tears come unbidden. “Why?” she asks herself. Mitsuha’s mind hasn’t grasped it yet, either, but her link to Taki is gone. Her soul recognizes it, and she weeps without understanding.

This, I suspect, shakes Mitsuha to the core. Maybe, she thinks, the date with Okudera has caused damage to her relationship with Taki. Uncharacteristically, she tells Yotsuha that she’s going to Tokyo, skips school, and gets on the train. The rest his history.

Now, here’s the thing: Taki’s kumihimo (braided cord) keeps his memory of Mitsuha alive. So he doesn’t start forgetting about her in earnest until…

I’m pausing for a moment here because this is where things get into some speculation. Remember when Mitsuha is talking with Teshi and Sayaka after her first swap? Teshi mentions her mind being joined with the Everett Multiverse. This is a concept associated with the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.

When Taki views the destroyed town that was once Itomori, he comes upon a Schroedinger’s Cat moment: he looks in the box and sees a dead cat, he looks at the horizon and sees a dead village. The waveform that was Mitsuha is now unquestionably dead and incapable of making entries in his diaries. It is a self-resolving paradox. Mitsuha’s entries disappear before his eyes. “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet,” says Niels Bohr.

At that moment, Taki begins to forget details, including Mitsuha’s name and existence. By the time they are back in the hotel, Taki can’t remember much of anything, including who gave him the kumihimo. But he will remember enough of his trip to go-shintai, and the kumihimo will encourage him to take action.

However, on the lip of the caldera, Taki gives the kumihimo back to Mitsuha. When she vanishes, his memory wipe is almost complete.

And Mitsuha’s memories? You notice she doesn’t begin to forget about Taki until after their meeting at kataware-doki. But why does she forget? For the same reason Taki did – Mitsuha emerges from the underworld (in Taki’s body), and in so doing will give up what is most precious to her – the memories and body-swap with Taki. It doesn’t take effect immediately (how could it? She’s in Taki’s body!), but shortly after she makes her way to Itomori, she can’t recall Taki’s name either.
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Re: Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name)

Postby ClosetOtaku » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:27 pm

SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Glad you mentioned Teshi. Isn’t his behavior and level of destruction at the power station over the top?
Not at all, I think.

First, Teshi is a dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy theorist. We see him reading magazines and commenting on the Everett multiverse, past lives, and so on. It’s clear that his thoughts on these subjects are not conventional.

Second, Teshi is a tech otaku; he has numerous electronics that he knows well, and figures out a way to hack the town’s emergency management system.

Third, Teshi has a bad crush on Mitsuha. Mitsuha herself believes Teshi and Sayaka should be an item, and even leaves instructions for Taki not to get involved with Teshi (seen in both screencaps of her smartphone instructions as well as in the manga).

Teshi believes Mitsuha’s statement that the comet will split and destroy the town. He finds evidence that a previous meteor impact formed Lake Itomori (something that Taki learns during his kuchikamizake trip). He is also youthful enough, and maybe rebellious enough against his father and his father’s company, that he’s willing to go rogue.

When Teshi plants the explosives, he really doesn’t know what he’s doing. He just began learning about explosives less than a month before. When he and Mitsuha are racing towards the town, he confesses that he has “no idea” when his device will go off. When it does, he seems surprised by its efficacy. Subsequent explosions cause him concern rather than elation, and I think he realizes he accidentally overdid it.
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Re: Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name)

Postby ClosetOtaku » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:28 pm

SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Back to Mitsuha and Taki. Do they remember things about the past once they start talking to each other after the end of the movie?
Happily, I think this is answered within the movie itself. We see Taki can be reminded of things he has forgotten – Mitsuha’s name, as well as the name of the town. His memories aren’t completely gone, but they are very deeply buried.

The significance of the Red String is important here. It’s clear from three motifs the Red String is at work: (a) Mitsuha’s hair ribbon, (b) the red string and “wind chime bell” that rings when the two are in proximity to each other, and (c) the repeated appearance of the moon. The first are self-explanatory; the third is a reference to Yue Lao – the moon is his abode, and he is the celestial being responsible for tying the red string between two people who are fated to be together.

This is why I think Taki and Mitsuha will gradually regain certain memories of their past, although I doubt either would be bold enough to discuss their memories with people outside of their relationship. They are tied by the Red String and fated to be in a permanent emotional union with each other. Their past memories will help form the foundation for that relationship – after all, they remember enough to believe they have met before.
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Re: Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name)

Postby ClosetOtaku » Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:01 pm

SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Question: What about the dating of the trip to go-shintai?

This one has me perplexed. Here is why.

We know from the movie that there are certain dates where Taki and Mitsuha swapped. These dates (for the curious) are September 5, 7, 9, 12, 16, 19, 20, 24, 29, and October 2. From other clues, the dates appear to be conserved -- that is, Mitsuha and Taki swap on the exact dates. Remember, though, that Taki goes to 2013, while Mitsuha lands in 2016.

Go-shintai happened on either September 29 or October 2. Only during this time is the comet visible (as Yotsuha mentions).

Supporting September 29th: September 29th is a Thursday in 2016 but a Sunday in 2013. This is why Taki comes downstairs in a school uniform: he thinks (from leftover memories of him in 2016) it to be a school day. But it is a Sunday, and oba-chan will be taking them to go-shintai today. This presumes October 2nd is not a school holiday, and that oba-chan will not pull both of the girls from school for their field trip.

Supporting October 2nd: Everything else. Why Taki thinks October 2nd is a school day -- it is a Sunday in 2016 but a Wednesday in 2013 -- is unknown. Oba-chan would have to pull both children from school -- unlikely but possible, unless it is a school holiday. Furthermore, when oba-chan "wakes" Taki out of the dream, he immediately pops out of bed and sees that he has a date with Okudera-sempai "the next morning" after Mitsuha's entry on October 2nd, when she makes the last swap. Furthermore, the novel indicates that their trip was in early October, and October 2nd is the only data available. October 3rd is the day the date with Okudera-sempai takes place, and the same date that Mitsuha seeks out Taki in Tokyo (although these are in different years).

Getting into the weeds: It appears that Taki snaps out of Mitsuha's body at kataware-doki on October 2nd; this would have been around 5:40 PM. However, Mitsuha makes her diary entry on October 2nd at 6:30 PM -- so where did Taki go? Did Mitsuha go to bed as Taki? Another thing to notice: when Mitsuha awakes on October 3, she is wearing not only a shirt but a bra; the novel makes it clear she started doing this to dissuade Taki from groping her. But if she had gone to bed as "Taki" and he as her, is it likely he would have taken this step?

There is quite a bit to ponder here, and it is somewhat important to explaining the mechanics of the swapping. It is possible Taki didn't recall the swap on September 29th and dreamed of it on October 2nd -- but now we're really getting oustide the evidence.
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Re: Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name) (SPOILERS)

Postby ClosetOtaku » Sat May 27, 2017 7:41 pm

TWWK has been more than kind and published a short essay I wrote on the relationship between Christianity and the story in Kimi No Na Wa at his website "Beneath the Tangles". You can find it here. This essay is completely spoiler-heavy, so do not read if you haven't seen the film.
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Re: Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name) (SPOILERS)

Postby TWWK » Mon May 29, 2017 2:54 pm

So glad that you wrote that article for us!
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