A lot of anime these days fall into the slice-of-life genre, with slow, meandering, almost nonexistent storylines that exist solely to give their likable characters a reason to appear on-screen. Makoto Shinkai’s mega-hit Your Name, however, is not one of them.
In addition to the movie’s romance and comedy, mystery and suspense are major reasons for Your Name’s success. The body-swapping aspect of the story may be something that the audience already knows about going in to the film, since it’s heavily featured in the anime’s marketing, but there’s another big plot twist waiting in the second-half of Your Name, which is that…
…the movie is also a time-travel story. Every time male lead Taki hops into female lead Mitsuha’s body, he’s also leaping three years into the past. But while this development raises the dramatic stakes considerably, it’s also a pretty blatant cheat. By the time Taki catches on to the time difference, he and Mitsuha have been swapping bodies for weeks, and it’s pretty unbelievable that neither of them notices anything that tipped them off until someone basically spells it all out for Taki.
So what would Your Name look like without that cheat? Probably something like this manga from comic artist and Twitter user @yokoyama_bancho (who previously recast the film with American characters), which reimagines Taki and Mitsuha as geekier but also more perceptive versions of their in-anime selves.
▼ Mitusha:“What? Did we…”
Taki: “Switch bodies?”
▼ “Huh…it’s suddenly a different day of the week [according to the newspaper]. I bet this is going to turn out to be some really important foreshadowing.”
▼ “Wait, I’ve never seen this version of iPhone before. Well, looking at this, now even I can guess what the twist is going to be!”
▼ “The story is totally boring.”
横山了一 (@yokoyama_bancho) January 03, 2018
As the last panel explains, there’s a pretty good reason, in an ends-justify-the-means storytelling philosophy, for Taki and Mitsuha’s lack of perception. The time difference is related to another big twist that presents them with a crisis that requires immediate attention, but before that the film needs time for their interpersonal relationship to develop. If the two characters noticed the time slip from the very beginning, Your Name would be a very different film, and one that’s less about the connection between Taki and Mitsuha and more of a straight-up natural disaster story.
But hey, even if Your Name’s protagonists are kind of dense, at least there’re some clever secrets for sharp-eyed viewers to find.
Source, images: Twitter/@yokoyama_bancho
[ Read in Japanese ]