Your Name ***Dir: Matoko Shinkai. Animation with the voices of: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryo Narita, Aoi Yūki. 106 mins. Cert: 12A
Matoko Shinkai is the Japanese animator many are tipping as heir apparent to the revered Hayao Miyazaki. This thoroughly emo bodyswap fantasia, a sizeable hit on home turf, demonstrates that he’s inherited much of his predecessor’s artistry and charm, but not yet his narrative mastery – nor, crucially, that magic that distinguishes lasting artworks from well-drawn ‘toons for teens. Shinkai ties this tale of a bored small-town girl who finds herself inhabiting the form of an inner-city male contemporary in photorealistic bows and ribbons, proving as attentive to everyday objects (smartphones, sliding train doors) as Miyazaki is to flora and fauna. Yet after a fluffily enjoyable first half, the attempt to dramatise and thereby process Japan’s recent run of natural disasters feels perilously jejune: as the spectacle expands, the film becomes less engaging and affecting. (Sensitive rockers Radwimps’ song-score suggests Fall Out Boy playing live at the Apocalypse.) Nice enough – just not quite the knockout advance word promised.
Your Name is now playing in selected cinemas.