Viewed – 23 November 2017 Blu-ray
I love animation. I love all types of animation. I have a particular soft spot however for Japanese animation, often named ‘anime’. This highly acclaimed and box-office record breaking (in Japan) drama however arrived with some anticipation. It tells the story of two teenagers who find their lives inexplicably connected when they swap bodies seemingly at random, and try to figure out why it’s happening and is the arrival of a passing comet something to do with it all?
This beautifully animated and eye-catching movie was a little hard to get into at first and I did wonder initially what all the fuss was about, beyond the visuals. It’s a body-swap drama but told in such a way it’s not all that clear what’s going on. However it’s a story that unravels gradually all leading to a ‘Oooh’ moment when the various pieces fall into place that turns everything on it’s head. The two central characters; Japanese school kid ‘Taki’ and suburban school kid ‘Mitsuha’ are well rounded and interesting, funny and complex. The surrounding characters are also are a lot of fun. The attention to detail as often is the case with Japanese animation explores Japanese traditions, way of life and little quirks I found endlessly fascinating especially as an outsider to the culture.
Director Makoto Shinkai‘s movie also throws in several goose-bump emotional moments that really pack a punch and once a certain story element reveals itself and it head into a powerful conclusion, I was left very impressed. Granted, it takes some unnecessarily complex turns to get there, but where it goes is well worth the journey. Recommended.
Verdict: 4 /5