Today, I saw Your Name. again, this time in cinema (I didn’t plan on seeing it today; I just happened to see it listed in the paper). With my first viewing being what I think may be a bootlegged version on KissAnime, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Shinkai’s vision on the big screen. Having lauded it and its way of greatly emotionally impacting its viewers before, I decided this time to focus on the film’s flaws; namely, the plot holes that were required to drive the story forward. The following are what I believe to be the two devices to achieve the emotional impact that this film had.
Now the saddest part of Your Name. is easily the climax of the film, set to RADWIMPS’ “Sparkle”, where both Taki and Mitsuha forget the other’s name while Mitsuha desperately tries to save Itomori. However, to achieve this heart-wrenching moment, several things had to happen. Firstly and most importantly, neither Taki nor Mitsuha wrote the other’s name anywhere else. The film never reveals whether or not their contact information remains in their smartphones (though it’s possible they disappeared along with Taki’s memos, or Mitsuha’s phone was destroyed). Moreover, each character’s interaction with their friends and family must have left some impression (in fact, it’s repeatedly shown that they become completely different people); how hard would it have been, for example, for Taki to tell Mitsuha’s grandmother his name on the final day? Or anyone else? All it would take is for someone to remember the name.
Secondly, both Taki and Mitsuha had to be oblivious. Since both were high school students in their respective timelines, both likely had the date written at some point. Had one of them noticed the incorrect date, perhaps some arrangement could have been made (though Mitsuha would have died in the original timeline anyway). Taki is also a complete idiot, apparently deciding that being smooth trumped actually reminding Mitsuha of his name.
Your Name., then, has two interpretations: 1, a more analytical interpretation of the plot and how parts of it seem stupid or suffer from lack of foresight, or 2, accepting the plot for what it is and turning a blind eye to the flaws and plot holes – after all, neither of the devices listed above are impossible. Of course, with much of the film going unexplained – while you can wipe a character’s memory, you can’t wipe the audience’s memory, for example – it’s difficult to tell exactly what Shinkai wanted to come across. Regardless, though, Your Name. remains my top animated film – and one of my top films of all time.