Hey, what's Your Name? No, that's not a personal question from me. It's the question I've received a lot over the last few weeks from people who have seen Your Name as one of the highest grossing movies in the world. The answer is that it's a $326M-grossing anime from Makoto Shinkai that has been a smash on the festival circuit and obviously every place else but here where it only received a one-week Oscar run in Los Angeles. So what's the big deal? Well, we're about to find out because a new trailer has arrived in advance of a U.S. release.
The film is based on Shinkai's novel, and it's hard to explain why it has caught on so. The story follows a young Tokyo boy and a city girl who start switching bodies at regular intervals without explanation. There's more to it than that, best captured by the synopsis:
The day the stars fell, two lives changed forever. High schoolers Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers living separate lives. But one night, they suddenly switch places. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki’s body, and he in hers. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen randomly, and the two must adjust their lives around each other. Yet, somehow, it works. They build a connection and communicate by leaving notes, messages, and more importantly, an imprint.
When a dazzling comet lights up the night’s sky, it dawns on them. They want something more from this connection—a chance to meet, an opportunity to truly know each other. Tugging at the string of fate, they try to find a way to each other. But distance isn’t the only thing keeping them apart. Is their bond strong enough to face the cruel irony of time? Or is their meeting nothing more than a wish upon the stars?
The English version doesn't feature any celebrity voice work, and I wonder if that'll hurt its domestic prospects. Then again the anime crowd doesn't really care about that stuff. The question is whether a big enough audience exists here for Your Name to continue the incredible roll it's on. We'll find out on April 7th.