Your Name. [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - Japan - Toho
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (26th July 2017).
The Film

“Your Name.” 「君の名は。」 (2016)

Mitsuha (played by Mone Kamishiaishi) is a high school girl living in Itamori, a mountainside town by a lake in rural Japan. Living with her younger sister Yotsuha (played by Kanon Tani) and their grandmother (played by Etsuko Ishihara), they are priestesses at the local shrine preparing for the annual festival happening in twenty days time. While trying to balance school life and practicing rituals for the ceremonies, she is also having a difficult relationship with her father (played by Masaki Terasoma) - the incumbent mayor of the town. Strict to his townsfolk, he also has an estranged relationship with his daughters and mother-in-law as he separated from the life of priesthood after Mitsuha’s mother died.

Taki (played by Ryunosuke Kamiki) is a high school boy living in the city of Tokyo. Living with his father in a standard apartment, he is a typical high school city boy balancing his school life with his personal life hanging out with friends and working part time at an Italian restaurant.

But one day Mitsuha and Taki wake up to find themselves mysteriously body swapped. Taki wakes up in Mitsuha’s body to find he has a younger sister and breasts. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki’s body to find she lives in a big city. While the two think it is all a dream, they realize the next day that it may not have been just in their minds. Mitsuha’s friends tell her that she was acting strange yesterday, not remembering where her things were and sometimes not responding to her own name. For Taki he didn’t remember where his school was or his workplace was, and his coworkers became jealous that he was able to have some time to talk with the beautiful waitress Ms. Okudera (played by Masami Nagasawa) including walking home together. Both Mitsuha and Taki have no memory of the events and only have vague memories of their time in each others’ bodies. But once they start piecing things together, the two set to make rules for each other while body swapped. They would write memos into their smartphones on what to do and what not to do and also to keep a diary of what they had done during the day also in their phones. With these rules followed, the two start to influence each other and the people around them in various ways they couldn’t before.

Mitsuha gives a little feminine edge to Taki which eventually leads to a closer relationship with Ms. Okudera. Taki sets up a little makeshift café by the rural bus stop for Mitsuha’s friends Tessie (played by Ryo Narita) and Sayaka (played by Aoi Yuki) as there isn’t a single café in the town. They lead busy double lives under the strange circumstances, but suddenly after twenty days time, Taki wakes up on the usual body swap day to find he is still Taki and remains so. Longing to find the person he was having the experience with to find answers, he sets on a quest to find her, but with only vague memories and no direct messages from her on his smartphone, he must only use sketches he made from memory of the town.

There have been many stories and films based on body swapping in various forms. “Freaky Friday” had a mother and daughter body swapping. “18 Again!” was with a grandfather and grandson. In the manga and anime series “Ranma 1/2” it is one person swapping from male to female from time to time. “Prelude to a Kiss” is with an old man and a young woman. With “Your Name.” the body swap theme is also using the opposite gender but also plays with other themes - differences between rural traditional life and the bustling city life and also family relations. What makes things incredibly fun is how the two main characters find out what is actually happening to them and it actually takes its time in the narrative. It’s a full thirty minutes into the film that they realize that they are actually living each others’ lives in a swapped form. The awkwardness they face, the embarrassments, and the complete confusion that later flows into confidence and hope is wonderfully played through writer and director Shinkai Makoto’s screenplay which was written and refined over a two year period.

What makes “Your Name.” stand apart from the usual wackiness of the body swap genre was the plot twist in the second half. To discuss this there are obviously spoilers to be made from here. First is the comet - passing near Earth the day of the festival in Itamori is the day the comet comes closest to Earth leading to the best viewings of the pass. What happens is a piece of the comet splits off and makes a direct impact on Itamori, killing nearly everyone in the town as it completely vanished in an instant. Mitsuha was one of many people killed in the natural disaster. The events happened three years ago in 2013 while Taki lived his life three years later in 2016. They were body swapping on the same calendar dates but three years apart. Similar in how the characters communicate in “Il Mare” (2000) and the remake “The Lake House” (2006) the two communicate through messages but in a different timeline. While in “Il Mare” and “The Lake House” it was two years apart within the same location, “Your Name.” takes place at a distance. As Mitsuha’s grandmother explains about “musubi”, things are mysteriously connected - time and space are not in a linear or connected form and that is what Mitsuha and Taki are experiencing. It may not be explained but like déjà vu or reincarnation, there are things within memory that cannot be explained. Was Mitsuha’s cry to be reincarnated into a city boy in the next life a call to Taki three years later? Was it because she gave him the ribbon three years ago and that started the connection? To place the logic on the events would be impossible, but there are some points in logic in the story that are a little difficult to grasp and that is especially with the time gap. Taki has no memory of the comet disaster from 2013 even though it was heavily covered by the media as he later sees in the library. How did he not remember such an event? Everyone sounded completely shocked once they heard the town’s name of Itamori, just like if someone were to mention “Fukushima” and memories would return yet Taki was completely baffled. (The 3/11 earthquake was a heavy inspiration for the film.) It seemed unnecessary and if they had left it with Taki immediately realizing “Itamori = destroyed”, the plot would not have changed. In addition, the two had not realized that they were living three years apart. The two were constantly using diary functions on their phones which they must have looked at the calendar year displayed at times. Also the two went to school. It is common in Japanese classrooms to write the date including the year on the blackboard. Did they never notice? These are points that may be disregarded due to their memories being inconsistent and unreliable once they body swap, but it does seem strange that those points are not brought up or passed over. The final third of the story takes leaps in believability but they work because the audience is so connected to the characters. This is one of Shinkai’s strongpoints - the characters.

Distance between characters were a common theme in Shinkai’s previous films. “Voices of a Distant Star” - childhood boy and girl friends who are separated when the girl goes off to space. “The Place Promised in Our Early Days” - a friend disappears for a three year period. “5 Centimeters Per Second” - basically all three segments deal with love and separation. “Children Who Chase Lost Voices” - the loss of family members and a quest to see them again. In an interesting connection, the teacher from "Garden of Words" makes an appearance as the Japanese teacher in "Your Name.", making a connection to the director's previous film. “Your Name.” like his previous films have beautifully detailed characters as well as settings. Not only is it through the voice acting and the script but it is also through the gorgeously detailed animation Makoto has been known for. Frequently using real locations the extreme details seen in buildings, parks, cars, and natural landscapes are incredible to lend an extra hand in detailing reality within an animated world. Many of the locations such as the rural areas in Gifu prefecture and Nagano prefecture that was the base for Itamori became immediate tourist attractions. The Shinto dance was precisely choreographed for the film and animated in precision. And another unforgettable part is the music - an important backbone for Shinkai’s films, but for this film he enlisted the alternative rock band Radwimps to compose for the film. Although they were first commissioned for a few songs, the creative process furthered into composing the music for the entire film, with orchestral compositions and for the vocal rock tracks. The lyrics were specifically tweaked to reflect the emotions of the characters to give an additional perspective rather than for pure background. The attention to all the details of the production and “Your Name.” may be one of the most fully detailed anime films ever made.

Shinkai’s previous films built a solid cult following among film fans with his attention to detail and exquisite style along with fully developed characters. Playing for indie cinemas in long theatrical runs, his films attracted critics but not the mainstream cinema goers. With “Your Name.” major distributor Toho marketed the film to a much wider audience with television ads and theatrical trailers for a long time ahead. The world premiere was in fact not in Japan but in Los Angeles at the Anime Expo on July 3rd 2016 to ecstatic reviews. Theatrically released on August 26th 2016 in Japan, the film was an unexpected runaway hit with both critics and cinema goers. Opening at the top spot at the weekend box office charts, it was the first major commercial hit for Shinkai and the hype did not die down. The second weekend made a 22% increase in box office sales due to word of mouth, and the film stayed in cinemas for an unprecedented 6 months and grossed an unbelievable 25 billion Yen. It became the second highest grossing domestic film in Japan, just under “Spirited Away” (2001), and the fourth highest grossing film in Japan, right behind “Spirited Away”, “Frozen”, and “Titanic”. Not only was it a hit in Japan but sales and screenings in other countries broke more records. It broke records all over Asia - in China, South Korea, Taiwan, and in Thailand. In the United States the film never entered the top ten but made a respectable $5 million in its theatrical run. In total the film grossed $354 million dollars worldwide, making it the highest grossing anime film in the world, surpassing “Spirited Away”.

Critically the film won numerous awards domestically and internationally. It won Best Animated Film at the 49th Sitges Film Festival, the 18th Bucheon International Animation Festival, the 6th Newtype Anime Awards, 2016 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, the 71st Mainichi Film Awards, and the film won many more awards for direction, screenplay, voice acting, and music. When it was snubbed for the 2017 Academy Awards, there was a small outcry but regardless of that, the film found a large following worldwide through 2016 and 2017 as its stature continues to grow. The film led to a cultural phenomenon in Japan and its Asian neighbors with the film being part of popular culture. The band Radwimps had been fairly popular for the past ten years but their 2016 album featuring songs from the film became their first chart topper and their back catalog shot up in sales. Shinkai’s previous films on DVD and Blu-ray hit an all time high with shops everywhere having stock issues with new fans snatching up the filmography. Exactly a very lengthy 11 months after the Japanese theatrical release, it has finally been released on home video in Japan by Toho.

Note this is a Blu-ray 4K and Blu-ray set which the 4K disc can be played back on any UHD player worldwide and the Blu-ray discs are region ALL and can be played back on any Blu-ray or UHD player worldwide

Video

Toho presents the film on the Blu-ray 4K disc in 2160p in the HEVC codec and for the standard Blu-ray in 1080p in the AVC MPEG-4 codec, both framed at the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. As I personally do not have a UHD player I will only be commenting on the standard Blu-ray transfer. The film is basically a flawless digital transfer. Mastered by Q-Tec in the FORS Mastering Process, colors are bright and bold and details are incredibly clear and crisp. There is absolutely nothing to fault with the Blu-ray transfer.

The runtime of the film is 106:35.
There has been mention that Shinkai had done some minor alterations to the home video version of “Your Name.” I saw the film theatrically 11 months ago and watching it on Blu-ray now I could not tell where the differences were if there were any made at all. I could not find any information on any official channels that there were changes made from the theatrical version. The review will be updated is any additional information is found.

Audio

Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Theme Song English Version)
Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo
Japanese Audio Descriptive DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo

There are four audio tracks in the original Japanese language presented. There are two separate 5.1 tracks - the only difference being the lyrics of the Radwimps songs performed in the original Japanese for the first track and the songs performed in English by Radwimps for the US theatrical version. The 5.1 track is excellent with dialogue mostly centered and music and effects using the surround channels effectively. Music sounds loud yet well balanced and minute effects are heard very clearly throughout. Absolutely an excellent transfer of the soundtracks. There are two 2.0 stereo tracks - one being a downmix of the standard 5.1 track and the other being an audio descriptive track. Note that the disc defaults to an audio descriptive menu - if pressing enter the viewer will be taken to the standard disc menu. If nothing is pressed the film automatically starts with the audio descriptive track.

There are optional Chinese (Simplified), English, English (for Theme Song English Version), Japanese subtitles for the main feature in a white font. The standard English subtitles translate the dialogue and the songs while the second set of English subtitles translate the dialogue but do not caption the songs. The subtitles are well timed and there are no issues of grammar or spelling. For the song lyrics translations in the standard English subtitles, they happen to be dubtitles rather than subtitles. But considering that the songs were retranslated closely with a sense of rhyme and melody, the dubtitles may be a better option than having literal subtitles in this case. The Simplified Chinese subtitles are also available for the film for mainland Chinese speakers, as well as full Japanese subtitles for the dialogue and music.

One scene that caused issues with the English subtitling was when Mitsuha was in Taki’s body and saying the word “I” to refer to himself. At first he says “I” in a feminine way, then “I” in a boyish way, then “ore” in an informal masculine way. This was one of the funniest scenes in the film but the translation is slightly lost to an English speaking audience due to the limitation of English and the pronoun of “I”. In the modern English language there is only one word to refer to oneself. In Japanese there are multiple ways to do so - feminine, masculine, formal, informal, and various combinations plus various dialects. The subtitling tries to explain it but it’s a bit of a stretch that generally will pass over the heads of non-Japanese speakers.

Extras

The Collector’s Edition set includes both a Blu-ray 4K UHD disc as well as a standard Blu-ray disc for the film and three bonus Blu-ray discs of special features.


DISC ONE (Blu-ray)

Promotional Videos
- Promotional Video (1:04)
- Trailer (1:32)
- Promotion Video 2 (0:32)
- Trailer 2 (1:32)
- Trailer 2 IMAX (1:32)
- Promotion Video 3 (0:32)
- Promotion Video 4 (0:32)
- Advance Sale Announcement (0:08)

A series of teasers and trailers are offered. There is no “play all” function.
1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

- TV Spots (6:19)
A series of 19 Japanese TV spots are offered continuously.
1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

Special Program feat. Director Makoto Shinkai (22:26)
This is a TV special that was broadcast prior to the theatrical release. Narrated by voice actress Mone Kamishiaishi, the special features actor Ryunosuke Kamiki discussing about director Makoto Shinkai’s films and also takes a tour of some of the real locations where he “randomly” meets some special guests.
1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

Theme Song English Version (plays the film with the English song)
For the US theatrical release of the film, the band Radwimps re-recorded their four songs featured in the film with new English language lyrics. This version was also screened in special engagements in Japan from January 28th 2017. While this can be chosen from the audio menu, it is also featured on the extras menu.

Filmography (10:46)
The original Japanese trailers for “Voices of a Distant Star” (2003), “Place Promised in Our Early Days” (2004), “5 Centimeters Per Second” (2007), “Children Who Chase Lost Voices” (2011), “Garden of Words” (2013) and “Your Name.” (2016) play continuously.
1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1 and 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles


DISC TWO (Blu-ray)

Video Storyboard (100:55)
The full film can be seen in its storyboard version with accompanying audio. The audio is not of the finished film but a temp track featuring director Makoto Shinkai doing many of the voices. It is strange to hear a grown man do the voice of the younger sister, the grandmother, and the arguing couple Tessie and Sayaka, but as the voice actors have said, who better to do the temp track than the director as he created the characters.
1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

"The Making of Your Name." documentary (87:54)
In this lengthy documentary, director Shinkai Makoto navigates the audience through the lengthy process of bring the story to screen. There are behind the scenes at Comix Wave Films, a look at the storyboarding process, assembling the crew, sessions recording with the voice cast, the collaboration with Radwimps on the music, and much more.
1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles


DISC THREE (Blu-ray)

Visual Commentary (110:49)
Featuring voice actors Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiaishi, and Radwimps members Yojiro Noda, Akira Kuwahara, and Yusuke Takeda and moderated by Chiaki Matsuzawa, this video commentary is a laid back effort with laughs and also a few dead spots in between. The actors talk about some of the difficulties they experiences as well as funny anecdotes while Radwimps talk about their music choices that they and the director had made.
1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

Non-telop Opening (1:49)
The opening scene is presented without the overlayed credits.
1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 with no subtitles

Deleted Sound Clips
- Clip 1 (2:52)
- Clip 2 (0:51)

These montage scenes which were sometimes presented with dialogue muted, there was actual dialogue recorded but later removed for the scenes. Presented are the scenes with the deleted audio reinstated but at the same time some of the theatrical audio has been removed. In the first clip the body switching montage is shown with deleted dialogue along with the Radwimps music. In the second clip the montage scene of Taki searching for the town is presented with dialogue.
1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

"Sparkle" (original version) by Radwimps - Your Name. Music Video edition (6:52)
The music video for one of the many songs by Radwimps featured in the film, using clips from the film. The band is not featured at all in the music video.
1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 2.55:1/1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

Suntory Commercials
- Suntory CM 01 (0:17)
- Suntory CM 02 (0:17)
- Suntory CM 03 (0:32)

A series of Suntory spring water commercials are presented. There is no “play all” option.
1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles


DISC FOUR (Blu-ray)

"Behind the Scenes of Your Name." Lecture by Makoto Shinkai (68:35)
Two months prior to the release of “Your Name.” theatrically, Makoto Shinkai released a novelization of the story. Obviously with the runaway success of the film, the sales of the novel skyrocketed. In this lecture that took place at the Saku City Library in Nagano, Japan, the writer/director gives a slideshow lecture to talk about the writing process and a breakdown of the story of “Your Name.”.
1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

Event Videography

- Press Conference (31:14)

In this press conference announcing the film at the end of 2015, director Makoto Shinkai, actors Ryunosuke Kamiki and Mone Kamishiaishi, and producers Genki Kawamura and Noritaka Kawaguchi answer questions about the production to a room full of reporters without any spoilers as the film had not been completed yet.
1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

- Anime Expo 2016 World Premiere (4:21)
Makoto Shinkai appears on stage to introduce the film for the first ever public screening on July 3rd 2016. Also shown are audience reactions and his thank you to the fans in both English and Japanese.
1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with burned-in Japanese subtitles for the English portions

- Premiere Screening (28:32)
The special Japanese premiere was held at Roppongi Hills, Tokyo on Tanabata Day, on July 7th 2016. On stage for the greeting are the director Shinkai and actors Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiaishi, Masami Nagasawa, Kanon Tani, and Etsuko Ishihara. The event was also broadcast to various Toho cinemas locations across the country.
1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

- Stage Greetings (34:42)
Taking place a little over a week since the Japanese theatrical release, the director Shinkai and actors Ryunosuke Kamiki and Mone Kamishiaishi appear in a post screening to give thanks to the success of the film. Mid-way through, surprise guests Radwimps also appear on stage to give their thanks as well as a special live performance.
1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

- Busan International Film Festival (14:55)
The film premiered at the South Korean festival on October 9th 2017 and for the press conference were director Shinkai and actors Ryunosuke Kamiki and Mone Kamishiaishi. They also give some additional thoughts of having to introduce themselves in Korean for the first time in a post-event backstage interview.
1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese and Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with Japanese subtitles for the Korean portions

- Screening Event (22:00)
In this Christmas event, director Makoto Shinkai and cast members Ryunosuke Kamiki and Mone Kamishiraishi join a special screening in which the film was accompanied by subtitles for the songs and audience members were encouraged to say the lines and songs out loud.
1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles


DISC FIVE (Blu-ray 4K)

Promotional Videos
- Promotional Video (1:04)
- Trailer (1:32)
- Promotion Video 2 (0:32)
- Trailer 2 (1:32)
- Trailer 2 IMAX (1:32)
- Promotion Video 3 (0:32)
- Promotion Video 4 (0:32)
- Advance Sale Announcement (0:08)
- TV Spots (6:19)
Theme Song English Version (plays the film with the English song)

The Blu-ray 4K disc also includes the selection of trailers and TV spots as well as the option to play the film with the English songs.


96 Page Book
The book includes text interviews, photos, and conceptual artwork. First there are text interviews with cast members Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryo Narita, Aoi Yuki, Nobunaga Shimazaki, Ishikawa Kaito, Masami Nagasawa, and interviews with each of the members of Radwimps.There are also “cross talk” interviews with members of the animation staff. First is with supervising animator Masashi Ando and animation director Masayoshi Tanaka. The second with the art direction animators Takumi Tanji, Akiko Majima, and Tasuku Watanabe. Last there is a lengthy Q&A with the director. All text is in Japanese.


Script
The full voice recording script is available in a book. The full Japanese dialogue and direction are presented here.


The 5 disc Collector’s Edition includes approximately 9 hours of bonus features. While many of the extras such as the stage greetings and the collection of trailers are repeating much of the same content throughout, there are lot of extras that are incredibly valuable in content. Although note that there are no foreign language subtitle options for the mostly Japanese extras so non-Japanese speakers will be losing out on much of the content in this set.

Packaging

The 5 discs in the Collector’s Edition is held in a 6-panel digipack case, housed in a box along with the script and the book and mini character stickers. The first pressing also includes a strip of film, which comes in a variety of 34 different scenes.

There is also a 3 disc Special Edition which includes the main Blu-ray plus the first two Blu-ray bonus discs as well as a standard edition that only includes the main Blu-ray.

Overall

“Your Name.” was easily my favorite film of 2016 as it lingered in my mind for months on end. A tale of love, loss, regret, hopes and dreams, placed in a quirky comical and emotional story with absolutely stunning animation by master director Makoto Shinkai. Toho gives the film a stellar transfer in audio and video and the Collector’s Edition includes an amazing 9 hours of extras in an excellent package. Absolutely the highest recommendation.

The Film: A Video: A+ Audio: A+ Extras: A Overall: A

 


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