‘Your Name’ Is An Anime Classic In The Making




Anime Film: Your Name

Released By: Funimation

Release Date: April 7, 2017

Japan has contributed several compelling anime films over the years that have become an overwhelming commercial success, but nothing quite lives up to the widespread achievements of the 2016 drama/fantasy film titled Your Name. The animated film (by Makoto Shinkai) initially was released in Japan last July, having earned more than any other animated film in Japan’s box office history. With such prominent bragging rights from box office alone, the film eventually found it’s way to the US – set to provide a theatrical run starting on April 7. In Japan alone, the film has raked in over $300 million (USD) that surely deserves to grow for essential storytelling, but more on that soon enough.

To provide you with some back story to the film, Your Name follows two high schoolers by the name of Mitsuha and Taki who lead very different lives. Taki is a young man who lives in the flourishing city of Tokyo and he stars opposite Mitsuha, a girl living in the rural small town of Itomori. While it sounds like a simple enough premise, their lives are unexpectedly forever intertwined. Out of the blue, with absolutely no connection to each other, Taki and Mitsuha exchange bodies and wake up to find themselves living in a new identity. Sure, it goes back to regular shortly – but the swap continues to take place and forces the two to work cohesively to operate two lives as one. To do so, they leave notes and messages through paper, phone and more importantly on themselves to keep each other in the loop about developments that bonds the pair unlike other films, anime and television. As one would expect, the two decide they want to meet in person for the first time sparked by a shimmering meteor that completely alters their lives.

Because of the fact that the film focuses on two key roles, the time to solidify both personalities is perfected by Shinkai. Your Name beautifully introduces us to their world (and individual lives) by throwing us into it just like the initial body swap that kicks off the film. It’s a masterful approach to hook viewers that carries over for nearly two hours, feeling like a lifetime in the best way possible. What carries such a strong message is the bond between both of them that shows an unprecedented love. Being forced into the other’s life makes it feel sturdier than most for the fact that they are forced to discover as much as they can. It creates an opportunity for typical humor on traditional gender roles, but more importantly shows one of anime’s greatest and most respected narratives honing in on the timeless story of love.

Towards the midway point of the film (no spoilers coming from me, I promise) the conflict of the film becomes one that feels as if true tragedy is looming. The transition encompasses the perfect way to raise the bar and push the film into a movie that adds intensity to the already important emotional makeup. Your Name later goes on to make the final act bring the last pieces together by using all of it’s genre strengths. Giving viewers the balance of love, drama and occasional comedy together brilliantly cements Your Name as a theatrical masterpiece that will make anime film directors work harder and aspiring creators push themselves for the shot at gifting the world with a unique depiction of love and how impactful it can be on your life – and that’s something that is honest storytelling at its finest.

The animation provided in Your Name is that of excellence. From the design of characters, settings, and fantasy driven scenes, there isn’t a single moment that will disappoint. This truth is best seen when Taki takes a trip through something otherworldly as if viewers are being guided on a artistic quest that helps the plot blossom into its final act. Every animated scene makes a perfect picture, essentially molding Your Name into a film with uniquely stunning cinematography. Though the original Japanese voice cast still stands with excellence, the English dub by Funimation creates a powerful production that is sure to be considered timeless.

In its entirety, Your Name is an anime cinematic experience that strays from traditions to forge its own path. The story is one that can be appreciated by people from various walks of life to different ages because family, love and dreams of your own destiny are relatable to us all in one way or another. The anime film rightfully stakes its title has the highest grossing animated feature in Japan because the storytelling goes above and beyond while supplying stunning visuals to guide us through the tale. If you get the chance to see Your Name in theatres you won’t want to miss an opportunity such as this – it is another piece of evidence that anime is still offering solid productions with individuality.

Overall Grade: 9/10

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

– The differences between our two protagonists gave them depth and likability that was imperative to the growing investment in Taki and Mitsuha

– The framing that took focus on landscape and the paranormal aspects gave viewers exemplary art to gaze at for the entire film.

– The ending was somewhat bittersweet, offering hope while leaving me wanting to know more about the primary characters


Samurai Jack Creator Drops Hints About Season 5 At SDCC (Exclusive)

samurai jack

Samurai Jack is closer to being back!

After four seasons of pure entertainment and spectacular storytelling in animated form, Samurai Jack will be returning to Toonami/Adult Swim for a fifth season to conclude the unfinished story of the time leaping warrior. At San Diego Comic Con, series creator Genndy Tartakovsky graced the press room with his presence to discuss a few of everyone’s burning questions about the series return after 12 years.

When asked why he wanted to return to the series, Tartakovsky admitted he had hoped to create a film for years but the idea came to him while in the bathroom of all places, which led him to send a few emails about the new tales. “I got the email right back” adding, “and after two weeks we started.” Of course one thing everyone can’t help but ponder is if we will be seeing the last of Samurai Jack after the upcoming fifth season, and Tartakovsky proved he already has something final in mind. “It’s the final journey – whatever happens at the end is the end.”

We additionally learned that the season will be compacted into 10 episodes to tell the story he intended on with the same duration of the proposed films from years prior. When asked about the budget for Samurai Jack season 5 Tartakovsky made it known that they stepped up their game. “I think it’s better!” Tartakovsky continues, “They’ve [Cartoon Network] been really great, they gave us everything we could really want.” Of course, knowing that the series is now coming to an end after years of ambiguity, the ultimate conclusion is something fans of the franchise can’t help but question – and according to the creator himself, it’s going to be a rough one that he knew about awhile back. “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do in animation for a long time and it’s super challenging but if we get it right it’s going to leave people in tears.”

Tartakovsky made it known that he isn’t sure of a certain release date but suggested we could be seeing our favorite time traveling samurai in early 2017. After learning the end is coming and it may be a tearjerker, I’m going to be anxiously awaiting the final bow next year. If you haven’t seen the series in awhile or just never got around to it, now’s the perfect time to binge watch the first four seasons before Samurai Jack returns for his final battles!

SDCC Debuts “The Killing Joke” And Here’s Why It Disappoints

killing joke

Over the course of the years, DC has presented a plethora of successful animated feature films that illicit a generally favorable reaction from fans – so when DC announced The Killing Joke would be included next, fans went crazy. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the “celebrated” graphic novel, it includes the character of Batgirl being shot and paralyzed by the Joker and pushed into the background until eventually becoming Birds of Prey leader, Oracle. The films creators stated beforehand that they really wanted to give Barbara Gordon a storyline as opposed to the lack of plot for her in the comic, but the film left me with a bad taste in my mouth and here’s a few reasons why:

Batgirl is merely used as a plot device.

In Batman The Killing Joke, they try to add character depth to Batgirl, but as it progresses you realize her main purpose is to fuel the feud between the Joker and Batman. After the major event of the plot occurs involving Barbara, she becomes a ghost in the film and her inclusion quickly dwindles which further proves her trauma wasn’t going to truly take her down a different path other than making Batman more gritty and angry, which we’ve all seen plenty of times before.

The film feels overtly sexist.

During the film’s duration, they add an extremely forced sex scene between Batgirl and Batman, completely tainting the mentor-like relationship they’ve always had. The sex scene didn’t act alone, but it’s the doe eyed Barbara Gordon and the rather cavalier Batman that fulfills cliches of media depicted relationships. Batgirl can’t just be a badass, she has to be distracted with her adoration for Batman (that shouldn’t even exist) and all of her scenes are focused on that unlike methods used for male comic book characters. It’s okay to care, it’s not okay for female heroes to only be portrayed as lovesick damsels who can’t function to the capabilities of their male counterparts.

Fascination with sexual violence.

Fans of the film and graphic novel are die-hard fans of The Killing Joke in a world with thousands of comics and truly moving tales, but what plot earns itself a film? Well that would be the one that deliberately suggests rape after a gruesome shooting and paralysis to a character who already fits the unfortunate tragedy stricken female. Having an audience become privy to the unbuttoning of a blouse after being shot in the spinal column serves no purpose other than twisted shock value.

Aside from my obvious major complaints, the character of Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) is one that deserves to be told, but there is no doubt in my mind that she deserves better. As I tried to find the positives out of Batman: The Killing Joke, I was often reminded of why I can never find a justified reason to back the original (or even new) creative material – and when a few audience members around me applauded after the most unsettling moments of the movie, I couldn’t fathom what was viewed as acceptable by those who enjoyed the film.