Your Name (Makoto Shinkai, 2016): Japan

Reviewed by T. Luke Madenwald. Viewed during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2017.

Somehow the cinematographer and director of this film made you feel like you were really watching a live action film rather than an animated one. The attention to detail in the simple gnats flying around in the air, to the up close action sequences that incorporated “shaky Cam”.

Your Name is a wondrous masterpiece of beautiful cinematic storytelling       that will leave you in awe from the first frame to the last. The number of reasons to watch this film are countless but If you could only choose eight of them, this would be why:


Your Name is a triumph in animation, cinematography, and writing that can contend head to head with even live action films.

Outstanding and wondrous masterpiece of cinematic storytelling.

Unbelievable sensation of setting and location. When a scene cuts to a new location it will usually show an establishing shot to let the audience know where the scene is taking place. Makoto did such a good job of making everything so uniquely different that if he chose to take out the establishing shots the audience would be able to keep up and not get confused.

Right from the beginning Makoto makes you feel like your watching a beautiful live action fantasy love story and he somehow applied an “animation filter” over it.


No other animated movie can contend with the level of detail and sense of realism Makoto soaked into every scene.

Attention to detail in every single frame. Even the detail of small gnats flying around in some of the scenes give you a sense of realism in the setting. Even how the birds chip and fly around seems oddly more real than what Ive experienced in other films.

Masterful cinematography. During action sequences the frame shakes and moves in close just like in live action sequences but because its animation there is less blur and “shake” than their normally would be. It’s as if he is showing that animation is more “real” than live action in a way.

Editing and pacing continuously pulls you in causing you to become helplessly attached to the characters and fear for their wellbeing. After an action sequence the pacing slows down to give you a rest but not too much to lose your interest.

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