The highly anticipated anime that has been making waves, Your Name, is finally going to open in North American theaters on Friday.
Numerous members of Polygon’s team have seen the film and ultimately fallen in love with it, but for those wondering what the hubbub is about, this is for you. We’ve put together a primer on what you need to know about Your Name before it hits theaters on April 7. That includes questions like, “What are the characters’ names?” It’s not as dumb a question as one may think.
Your Name has already become one of the highest rated anime of all time, scoring a 98-percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film has also made more than $328 million worldwide, even without a national release in North America and Europe. Although that may be low compared to American film standards, it makes the film the highest-grossing anime of all time. It’s one of the anime film events of the decade, and you won’t want to miss out on it.
With that being said, let’s get some of the basic questions out of the way so you can hype it up to your friends when you’re making plans for this Friday.
What’s the basic premise of Your Name?
Your Name follows two characters, a teenage boy named Taki Tachibana and a teenage girl named Mitsuha Miyamizu. One night, after making a wish for a different life, Taki and Mitsuha wake up in each other’s bodies. Unlike films like Freaky Friday or The Change-Up, Taki and Mitsuha don’t just switch bodies once and then find a cure. Instead, they spend a large amount of time waking up in the other’s body. In order to keep track of what’s happening in each other’s lives, the two start keeping journals and communicating with one another. If they wake up in their own body, they can check the journal to see what happened the day before.
Taki and Mitsuha spend the majority of the film trying to figure out how to revert back to their normal selves while developing their friendship with each other.
Where does it take place?
Your Name takes place in two different parts of Japan. Taki is based in Tokyo, a city that Mitsuha desperately wants to run off to, and Mitsuha is based in a rural Japanese village in the Hida region. The movie hops between both areas as the two explore their surroundings.
Are the actual locations important?
Very! The location of both Mitsuha and Taki’s home play an instrumental part in the film. This becomes more clear as the film progresses, but there are traditional Japanese elements that play a big role in Mitsuha’s story. Like other anime titles, especially those that come out of Studio Ghibli, the mix of Japanese folk tales with the modernity of Taki’s setting makes for a whimsical ride.
Do things get complicated?
Yes, the film at times can get complicated. I won’t get into any specifics out of respect for those who don’t want any kind of spoiler going in, but the story is intricate. It’s not difficult to follow, but you will need to pay a little extra attention during specific scenes.
Is it based on anything? Or is this a new story?
Yes! It’s based on the novel by Makoto Shinkai, who also directed the film. Some of the events mentioned in the movie and the traditional Japanese folk tales are also true.
How long has it been out? I feel like I’ve been hearing about it for months...
You’re not wrong! Your Name was released in Japan last August, and it made its way to theaters in the United Kingdom a few months later. April 7 marks the North American release of the movie.
Since it came out last year, has the movie won any awards?
It absolutely has. Your Name has been nominated for a total of nine awards and won six. Your Name won three awards from the Japanese Academy, including the award for Most Popular Film. It won the award for Best Animation from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and Makoto Shinkai won Best Director at the Tokyo Anime Awards. Other awards were handed out for visual categories.
Your Name was also in the running for an Oscar nomination, but lost out in the final qualifying round.
Alright, you’ve sold me. Where can I watch it?
This is perhaps the most important question. Funimation is releasing it for one day only in the United States and Canada on April 7. To see a full list of participating theaters and purchase tickets, head over to Funimation’s site.