ByElle McFarlane, writer at
'There's always someone younger and hungrier coming down the stairs after you.'
Elle McFarlane

Every once in a while an extraordinary movie manages to cross generational, cultural and social divides to find fans from all walks of life and in all manner of places; genre-defying anime movie , is one of those films.

A colossal box office and critical success, Your Name has redefined the boundaries and the appeal of the anime movie, and with it finally getting a U.S. release, Your Name, with its beautifully hand drawn animation, is one movie you will want to watch on the big screen. To make sure you've got the lowdown, here are 7 insane facts about your new favorite anime movie.

1. 'Your Name's' Success Is Due To Teenagers & A Killer Soundtrack

'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]
'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter in October, Geki Kawamura, Your Name's producer, stated that due to its relatively minuscule budget, that they projected that the movie would only make modest returns at best. The reasons for its colossal success? The fact that young fans championed the movie, hard. Yoshishige Shimatani the CEO of Toho stated at the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (MPPAJ) press conference that:

"It was the young audiences that recognized the greatness of director Shinkai, spreading the news about the film at great speed on social media."

Coupling the priceless word-of-mouth grassroots teen marketing campaign with a catchy theme tune composed by Radwimps called 'Past-Past-Past Life' proved to be a heady formula for box office domination.

As reports, the theme song resulted in vast swathes of amateur covers which were posted on social media, so by the time the track was released just before Your Name's premiere, the movie was fully wedged within the public's conscience — a technique which had been adopted previously to similar astounding effect with Frozen's hit track 'Let It Go.'

2. 'Your Name' Has Both Subbed & Dubbed English-Speaking Options

'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]
'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]

Choosing not to wade into the thorny subbed vs. dubbed debate with regards to translating Japanese anime movies for an English-speaking audience, Funimation, the American based anime company, has created both subbed and dubbed versions of Your Name to keep all anime fans, happy.

What's more, the dubbed version also comes with dubbed versions of the Radwimps Your Name soundtrack songs, with all the lyrics being both written and sung by Yojiro Noda who also sang on the Japanese originals. Speaking to Yahoo! News Japan, director Makoto Shinkai said of the English song translations:

"In 'Your Name', there’s a connection between the theme songs, the character’s dialogue, and the story itself…With the English songs, I hope that North American audiences will be able to enjoy Your Name on an even deeper level.”

3. 'Your Name' Defies Genre, Creating A Complex, New Anime-Hybrid Movie

'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]
'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]

Trying to explain the plot of Your Name without giving too much away is virtually impossible. Weaving together themes of fate, love, time, tragedy and, of all things, body-swapping, the anime movie blends together to form a holistic pastiche that touches deep into what it means to be human, and what it means to be young and in love.

Consequently, this appeals to people of all ages. For the young they can identify with the protagonists as they live in the present, and for the older generations they can reminisce about past loves and relate to the constant threat of memories beginning to fade. Speaking to the South China Morning Post, director Shinkai briefly touched upon this multi-generational appeal in his summary of the movie:

“It is a film about memory, but also about losing memories. It’s about individual memory and collective memory, the forgetting of a certain morality and sense of tradition.”

4. 'Your Name' Is The Highest Grossing Anime Movie Of All Time

'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]
'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]

Making a colossal $328 million worldwide, surpassing Spirited Away's impressive $275 million, Your Name is now officially the world's highest grossing anime movie ever — and it's set to make much more following its US release.

Speaking to the LA Times about the surprising box office success of Your Name, Shinkai went on to say:

“It’s a stroke of luck that goes beyond what can reasonably be credited to my abilities: Our box office goal was only two to three billion yen. ‘Your Name’ is a straight-up boy-meets-girl story: I think people, particularly young people, were hungry for an animated film in that genre.”

5. 'Your Name's' Director Is Actually Terrified By The Movie's Success

'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]
'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]

In a revealing interview with the South China Morning Post, Makoto Shinkai professed that the success of Your Name actually haunts him, stating:

"It’s not healthy, I don’t think any more people should see it.”

And what's more, he can't tolerate the comparisons which are being made between him and Studio-Ghibli anime movie master, Hayao Miyazaki:

"Of course I’m happy when people mention his name and mine in the same breath. It’s like a dream. But I know they are overpraising 'Your Name' because I am absolutely not at Miyazaki’s level."

The thought of Miyazaki actually watching Your Name also terrifies Shinkai who fears he will be able to, like himself, only see the movie's flaws:

“Honestly, I really don’t want Miyazaki to see it because he will see all its flaws...For me it’s incomplete, unbalanced. The plot is fine but the film is not at all perfect. Two years was not enough.”

6. You Can Pretend Your Living In 'Your Name' s' Movie Universe In Real Life

'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]
'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]

Blurring the boundaries between fantasy and reality, various entrepreneurial individuals have created a variety different schemes in which customers can feel like they are living within the Your Name movie universe. From Tokyo's Ikebukuro and Nagoya Parco Cafe recreating the food which features in the movie, to visiting the Hoshizora no Illumination which is projecting scenes from Your Name onto the glass of its observatory, it's possible to enter the anime fandom at an even more extreme level than just purchasing all the available paraphernalia.

And it's not just not unique to Tokyo. The movie is split between Tokyo and the town of Hida in the Gifu Prefecture, and now a multitude of blogs have been set up to locate specific pilgrimage routes mapping out exactly where in the Prefecture Your Name is set. Capitalizing on this, the Hida Tourist Board has uploaded an official 'pilgrimage map' to its website and various pieces of Your Name storyboards and related props are being showcased there.

7. 'Your Name' Tackles Topical Questions Of Gender In A Refreshingly Unique Way

'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]
'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]

With the two main protagonists, a male and a female, being uniquely connected by their ability to swap bodies, Your Name explores ideas of gender and what it is that makes someone uniquely female or uniquely male in a sensitive and refreshing way.

Based on ancient Japanese stories in which males and females humorously swap bodies due to the fact that they are unable to fulfill their prescribed gender roles, Your Name (partially) drops the comedic side of this gender-bending exercise and as Shinkai told the LA Times:

"Manliness’ and ‘womanliness’ aren’t as clearly defined today. A person’s nature isn’t determined by their biological sex. Taki and Mitsuha [the movie's protagonists] don’t become angst-ridden when they’re switched into bodies of different sexes: Their liveliness in those bodies makes them increasingly popular with the people around them.”

'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]
'Your Name' [Credit: CoMix Wave Films]

This is a wonderfully fresh take on gender politics, the likes of which have only really been paralleled by Netflix's Sense8 TV Series in recent times. Your Name consequently touches upon many different themes, often so delicately that while watching, you are unaware that it's making you question the nature of your own reality and your sense of self until long after the credits roll.


Would you keep your cool if you suddenly swapped bodies with someone else?


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