It can be hard for original anime movies to get mainstream attention in America. If you're not an Academy Award winner (like Spirited Away) or you don't have an already-big name like Dragon Ball Z, the chances of escaping the niche anime section of Best Buy aren't great.
Your Name hasn't won an Oscar and it isn't part of a big franchise, but it's one of the biggest movies (animated or not) to come out of Asia, and it's worth taking a look at.
Known as Kimi no Na wa in Japan, Your Name has been brought over to America by Flower Mound-based company Funimation. It's available in both subbed (subtitled, with the original Japanese audio) and dubbed (with new English audio) versions, and it's in select Dallas-Fort Worth theaters through the end of April.
The movie has a very impressive 98 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and even before its U.S. release (save the couple of showings it had for Oscar eligibility) it earned the title of highest-grossing anime film of all time.
Your Name has earned that success not only for its gorgeous animation (which is excellent), but for its wonderful story. It's a romantic drama about two teenagers in Japan -- one who lives in Tokyo, one who's more out in the country -- who find themselves swapping bodies every time they go to sleep. There are plenty of fun Freaky Friday-esque antics to be had with the situation (even moreso due to the gender reversal), but there's a serious mystery to the situation as well.
The protagonists, Taki and Mitsuha, are forced to deal with the already-complicated circumstances of being teenagers with the added wrinkle of having a stranger live in their body every other day.
But there are higher stakes than it initially seems, and there's a greater and more emotional story to be had than the first 20 minutes might have you believe.
There's a lot of magic at play in Your Name, but it stands out as being more grounded than many people would expect from popular anime. There are no giant robots, no huge fight scenes with people who can fly. When it all comes down to it, Your Name is a love story, and it's a very good one at that.
Your Name is better than your typical young adult romance movie, and it's well worth checking out if you can make it to a theater by the end of April. If not, cross your fingers that a home release comes out soon.