Director: Makoto Shinkai
I went to see this with my 13 year old daughter who decided she would rather see the subtitled, rather than the dubbed version. It’s only had a limited release in the UK so we had to travel to Southampton to see it.
The fantasy story revolves around two strangers, Mitsuha, a high school girl living in the rural town of Itomori and Taki, a high school boy living in Tokyo. Mitsuha is bored of life in the country and longs to live in the city. One day, Taki wakes up and finds himself in Mitsuha’s body while Mitsuha has been transported to Tokyo and is inhabiting Taki’s body. Taki and Mitsuha wake the next day, returned to their own bodies and lives, having to deal with the fallout from the understandably strange behaviour that went on the day before. As these random body swaps continue, the pair, realizing what is happening, start to communicate by notes and then by messages on their phones until the swaps suddenly stop.
Taki discovers that the Mitsuha’s village had been destroyed by a comet three years earlier, Mitsuha and most of the village had been killed and their body swaps had been out of sync by three years so he travels to Itomori in an attempt to connect with Mitsuha and this gives an opportunity to possibly change the outcome of the comet’s fall to earth.
This film looks gorgeous and it’s easy to see why it’s been such a success in Japan. The countryside scenes are fairly standard anime stuff but the cityscapes are outstanding, particularly the speeded up traffic and neon signs. The shot of a wet pavement with buildings reflected in it looked as though it was real. One criticism would be that the final section where the heroes meet at twilight was a little confusing although reading the Wiki page’s plot synopsis has made this clearer. There were some really funny moments, mainly to do with waking up in a body of the opposite sex (well, what would you do?) but it seemed from the reaction of a section of the audience, who presumably spoke Japanese, that there was a comic element to some of the script that the subtitles couldn’t convey although I’m not sure that the dubbed version would have got this across either. Either way, if you have even a passing interest in anime then this should be on your list of films to see.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
Spirited Away, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time