You know how one movie draws comparisons to another one? Fantasia 2018 brought us Fireworks. One of the producers, Genki Kawamura is well known for an earlier, highly successful animated feature from 2016 known as Your Name. All the time while watching Fireworks (specially with that ending…) I kept thinking I should’ve watch Your Name instead. Well, I ended up finally catching it with a crowd at Otakuthon 2018 of all places.

(Source: Toho)

Your Name should’ve been a Fantasia Film. Actually, I’m still not convinced it wasn’t. I’ve been looking over the program guides from 2016 and 2017 but it’s really not there. Funny enough, I did the same thing when I reviewed I Am A Hero (2015) and although it wasn’t a Fantasia movie back then it was part of the line-up festival in 2018.

Director and writer Makoto Shinkai brings us a comedy with romance with a little fantasy thrown into it. Mitsuha is a high school girl living in a small town that dreams of the big city. Taki is a high school boy living in Tokyo. Sometimes they don’t remember what has transpired the previous day, while their friend and families tell them instances of outlandish behaviour. Yes, every now and then they wake up switched in each other bodies. Now they must leave notes to one another to make sure they don’t end up ruining their lives.

Rather than go for the extreme, Your Name goes for the subtle. Yes, there will be hilarity, but mostly there’s a slice of life component that is quite charming as both Mitsuha and Taki learn to cooperate and try to make each other’s lives a little better. Mitsuha gets Taki a date with Miki while Taki makes her popular in school. It’s a more symbiotic relationship until the body switching stops and Taki discovers there’s more separating them than distance.

Highly recommended for anime fans. This one is satisfying from beginning to end as you realize that rather than fight, the two leads try to learn from one another. Their established dynamic is what makes this story stand out from any other. You will be rooting for them to get together as the film goes on, and here’s where I have to keep myself from spilling the ending. It’s fitting, it’s satisfying and it really should end where it does.

That will do for now.