Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) (2017): An Animated Masterpiece That Contains As Much Heart As It Does Visual Beauty (Review)

Disclaimer: ‘Your Name’ originally came out in Japan in 2016, however it received its release here in Canada in 2017 which is why I am referring to it as a 2017 film. Also because I want to include it in my Best of 2017 list so there is my selfish reason 🙂
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[Credit: Toho]
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Your Name follows two high schoolers of varying economical and societal worlds, Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi) and Taki (Ryunosuke Kamiki), as they experience a body swap and develop a growing connection through this bizarre occurrence. The film also stars Masami Nagasawa, Etsuko Ichihara, Ryo Narita and is directed by Makoto Shinkai (Children Who Chase Lost Voices, The Garden of Words).

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

Back in 2014, my older brother taught English in Japan for a full year and since then, he has praised the country immensely for virtually every aspect of it. When I heard about how much acclaim this film called Your Name was receiving, I asked if he would want to watch it with me and (of course) he couldn’t resist… I watched it last night at my local theatre with the English subtitles and feel an overwhelming need to see it again, possibly with the English dub to see how well it translates over. I can confidently say Your Name is one of the greatest animated films I have ever seen in my life.

| ‘Your Name’ Becomes The Highest Grossing Anime Film Of All Time |

There are certain comedic-style films that are funny in their own right, however when they attempt to include any type of emotional arc to either a character or situation, it can come off as jarring or off-putting. Your Name managed to have me genuinely cracking up during one instance and when it transitions to the more heart-wrenching components, my eyes welled up like no other. What I appreciated the most out of these components were that they were not included simply to make the audience feel bad. They contributed to the progression of the film and, in the realm of the film’s universe, made complete logical sense. There was one beautifully executed sequence that the film was building up to and when that scene concluded ugly tears were formed, my friends.

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‘Spider-Man’ [Credit: Columbia Pictures]

The relationship developed between Mitsuha and Taki is just so well done, if I continue to write about them this will just be a 10,000 word thesis of me gushing about these two. I think I enjoyed their coupling as much as I did because this universe was unbelievably fleshed out. The town of Itomori featured staples a ridiculously beautiful town of its calibre would have and its residents felt like real, breathing individuals instead of inclusions of characters to fill up the screen. The rich landscape of Tokyo, with its towering infrastructure surrounded by bouts of greenery, was fucking incredible and the bustling transit system was filled with real commuters.

The deep connection you feel for Mitsuha and Taki is because you experience their lives and the people they surround themselves with. Everyone serves a purpose yet in many instances seen in other films, the inclusion of secondary characters and their backstories occasionally feel forced to the point where you just don’t care about them. You don’t even realize how much of a connection you feel for the characters included in Your Name MILD SPOILER until certain instances occur. END SPOILER

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[Credit: Toho]

Your Name isn’t solely a goofy body-swapping story where these two are destined to be together and you’re spending the whole movie wishing they’d get together so it would end already. Quite the contrary for me, I wanted them to get together because they deserve each other, damn it! The connective tissue included in this film is marveling, there are instances where I found myself thinking, “… ohhhhhhhh! Oh that’s good, I didn’t even think of that.” There are quite a bit of revelations made that seemingly pile on one another, however it is executed brilliantly and isn’t patronizing to the audience whenever a character attempts to rationalize what they uncovered.

How Were The Other Aspects Of ‘Your Name’?

Calling Your Name a “beautiful looking” film simply doesn’t do it justice. From the very first frame to the very end I was in awe at the sheer magnitude of fantastic I was witnessing. The visual spectacle of it is only made greater by the enjoyability of the film and the development of its characters. If you’re not tired of my gushing, the final aspect of this all-around flawless film is its music. Besides the insanely catchy original pop songs, there is a distinctive piano piece incorporated throughout Your Name that enhanced every single scene it was utilized in.

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[Credit: Toho]

If you’re looking for an anime film with developed characters and a unique take on an intriguing concept that is unlike a typical Hollywood animated flick, check out Your Name.

Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) receives a coveted 5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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Moana (2016) Movie Review

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Disney
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Moana tells the story of Moana (voiced by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho) as she sails out beyond the reef to find the once mighty demi-God, Maui (Dwayne Johnson) who holds the key to help restore the dying island she will eventually become Chief of.

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

As per Disney, our free-spirited and wily protagonist is tasked with enduring a life she does not want to lead and the responsibilities she must undertake just does not fly with her. Moana’s character consists of occasional doubt, oozing charisma and a whole lot of beautiful looking hair. She is fleshed out pretty well throughout the film and Cravalho nails her role brilliantly, I felt connected to Moana not only because of the motivations of her character and the challenges she must overcome, but the voice acting and her ability to emote through her young voice was executed flawlessly. I honestly would not expect anything less than perfect with voice casting when it comes to Disney and they truly did a spectacular job casting Moana… Not to mention, this year’s version of “Let It Go” will absolutely be “How Far I’ll Go.”

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fucking FLAWLESS | Disney

Guys I love “Let It Go” (no shame) and “How Far I’ll Go” will most definitely be the new drunk karaoke song college students belt out when dealing with the disappointment they bring their parents.

The chemistry she has with Johnson’s Maui is imperative to the success of the film and I am happy to say they work wonderfully together. Their banter was entertaining and again, they utilized each other’s strengths really well. There were a few awkward pop culture references made that took me out of the film for a few seconds, one involved using the term “tweeting.”

I particularly loved everything about Moana’s relationship with her ‘crazy’ grandmother. The relationship between her and her parents is developed as much as need be, albeit they suffer from the “conceal, don’t feel, my daughter!”-syndrome. However there are a few of those Disney-Ripping-Your-Heart-Out moments that got me to the very core of my being and a majority of those moments are related to the relationship she has with her grandmother. The various imagery used in certain instances is just so incredibly beautiful. I lost my grandmother about seven years ago now yet no matter what, when I watch a film that showcases a grandmother with their grandchildren, I get emotional… What Moana accomplishes goes beyond that and will have you ugly crying.

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I utilized every morsel of my being to not burst | MTV

The film is paced relatively well, however there are moments that linger just a tad and there is this chicken sidekick that hangs around… I loved this chicken named Hei Hei (voiced by Alan Tudyk, for some reason). He (It?) was really reminiscent of Becky from another Disney film released earlier this year, Finding Dory. There were a few instances I could have done without him, however he performs a serviceable job as comic relief. What I really want to talk about is the animation in Moana… The animation is just something else.

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Disney

How Were The Other Aspects To Moana?

Moana does for the CG animation of water what Frozen did for snow, certain sequences leave you in awe by the magnitude of the beauty these animators managed to pull off. If you’re interested, CNET posted a fascinating look at how they developed the water animation for Moana and I would recommend checking out here:

Disney Develops A Water Effects Engine Called “Splash”

Kyle Odermatt, the visual effects supervisor for Disney, reveals what was available on the market “[wasn’t] exactly what [they] were gonna be looking for to achieve the results they wanted” so they decided to take the James Cameron a la Avatar route and just develop an entirely new simulation engine called “Splash.”

And the result of that? Sheer beauty on a riveting scale.

Enjoyable Soundtrack And Score

Certain songs developed for the film are quite catchy and will have you humming them on your way out of the theatre. There is one sequence involving a snail that I did not see coming and that sequence is probably my favourite of the entire film. Every part of it was thrilling, fantastical and the visuals were a-mazing.

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Disney

If you’re looking for a beautifully animated film with charming characters and catchy songs, check out Moana... And let’s face it, you probably already have.

Travel The Internet Seas For More:


Moana receives 4/5 Matt Damon heads

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sources used: [1], [2]

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

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Schroeder: What do you mean Beethoven wasn’t so great?
Lucy Van Pelt: He never got his picture on bubblegum cards, did he? Have you ever seen his picture on a bubblegum card? Hmmm? How can you say someone is great who’s never had his picture on bubblegum cards?
Schroeder: … Good grief.

Starring: Peter Robbins as Charlie Brown, Christopher Shea as Linus van Pelt, Tracy Stratford as Lucy van Pelt, Kathy Steinberg as Sally Brown and Bill Melendez as Snoopy, dir. Bill Melendez.

cinemagraph source: otfilms

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Do You Have A Favourite ‘Peanuts’ Special?

Big Hero 6 (2014)

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Fred: [talking through camera] Hiro, if I could have any superpower right now, it would be the ability to crawl through this camera and give you a big hug.

Starring: Ryan Potter as Hiro Hamada, T.J. Miller as Fred, Jamie Chung as GoGo Tomago and Scott Adsit as Baymax, dirs. Don Hall, Chris Williams.

cinemagraph source: orbo
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Art Direction: Scott Watanabe (Tangled, Paperman)

Dumbo (1941)

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Timothy Q. Mouse: What’s the matter with his ears? I don’t see nothin’ wrong with ’em. I think they’re cute.

Starring: Edward Brophy as Timothy Q. Mouse, Cliff Edwards as Jim Crow, Verna Felton as Elephant Matriarch and Herman Bing as The Ringmaster. Supervising director: Ben Sharpsteen, Sequence directors: Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Bill Roberts, Jack Kinney, Samuel Armstrong

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Shaun The Sheep (2015) Movie Review

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I did not expect to love a movie, that had not a lick of dialogue, this much

Stop-motion animation is a beautiful work of art and the people over at Aardman Animation know exactly how to make movies that utilize this form of animation. I had never heard of the Shaun The Sheep property and after watching this surprisingly wonderful and heartwarming movie, I am hungry for more of these adorable animals.

Seeing the struggles these damn sheep endure in order to be reunited with their Farmer pulled at my heartstrings and made me laugh aloud. Every sheep served their purpose and essentially every single character had their own distinct traits that made them unique. Shaun is an incredible protagonist and is honestly climbing up my list of my favourite animated protagonists of all time. He makes mistakes. He has ambitions. He loves. He fears. HE’S ADORABLE. The movie doesn’t treat its audience like they are morons which is something I thoroughly appreciate in a “kid’s movie.” They flash back to moments that are significant in order to help the younger, and by extension, stupider (because they’re small), audience be aware of what is going on but I really never felt bored or exhausted by the flashbacks. I felt so attached to these characters and we really only share like an hour and a half together…

I also cried way more than I am willing to admit… 

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The film is paced well, the sheep and humans alike were fleshed out, there were moments that made me genuinely laugh and again guys, I grew way more attached than I would’ve liked to these fictional characters. The scenes in the Pound specifically and the Poor Ugly Dog that nobody wanted really got to me. I wanted to hug all those creatures and scream, “it’s going to be alright! You’ll all find homes!!” 

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I mean it’s not… that bad..

This movie made me happy and feel warm and tingly all over. That’s really all that there is. If you’re interested in an incredibly beautiful looking stop-motion animation and want to feel, please check out Shaun The Sheep. I so wish I checked this out when it appeared in theatres for that one month.


Shaun The Sheep receives a coveted 5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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Archer (2009 – Present)

gif source: r/Archer

Archer: “Senator Stay Puft? Rebuttal?”
7×02: “The Handoff”

FX’s Archer is one of the funniest series on television.
My favourite moment (and there are many, but my #1) comes from Season 1, Episode 7’s “Skytanic” in which Ray attempts to help Archer and Lana defuse a bomb on a helium blimp.


Starring: H. Jon Benjamin as Sterling “Danger Zone” Malory Archer, Aisha Tyler as Lana Man-Hands Kane, Judy Greer as Carol Charlene Cheryl Tunt, Amber Nash as Pam Poovey, Chris Parnell as Cyril helloooo Figgis, Adam Reed as Ray Gillette, Lucky Yates as Dr. Possibly a Clone Kreiger and Jessica Walter as Malory Archer, Created by Adam Reed.

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