Review: Your Name by Makoto Shinkai

I went into reading Your Name. thinking that it was going to be a stupid bodyswapping movie. Unfortunately, from American media, the whole “Freaky Friday” thing is so overdone in every television show – and done so poorly, that the concept jars me and makes me not want to pay any attention in the least. It’s a romance, but with some supernatural elements that unfold into something bigger over the course of the story.

So I was hostile to this light novel and skeptical on read, but was looking as it was highly recommended as an anime (movie is in theatres now). The first pages were a bit odd. It’s written in first person present from two perspectives and it’s been translated, so it’s a little difficult to get into the flow of the prose. The perspectives sometimes would have breaks, but sometimes it’d switch between paragraphs and get a bit confusing. It took me about 30-40 pages of reading to get settled into it.

The opening actually has us thrown immedialy into that body swapping, as the characters discover each other, their lives, and everything. It’s pretty intriguing as both have very relatable backstories and interesting aspects to them. Each has friends they rely on, both noticing that there’s something odd and different about them when they switch, which plays an important part later in the story.

About halfway through the book, the story opens up and changes direction dramatically in a way that I wouldn’t have predicted. It becomes a very intense emotional ride from that point forward. This is where I won’t spoil, but it’s what hooked me and made me interested in writing a review of the book. The intensity and the pacing are beyond much fiction I’ve read at all, even though this is at its heart a high school romance story.

The supernatural aspects really ramp up as well, and have some really cool components to it that I appreciate.

What I will say is that Your Name. doesn’t care at all about logical aspects of the supernatural, it just goes and tells the story and pushes you in the feeling and connecting with the characters. It’s pretty refreshing to read something like that, and by the end of it, I didn’t want it to end at all. Beautiful stuff and I look forward to seeing the film version. 10/10

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