The Reason Why the Japanese Film ‘Your Name’ Is a Box Office Hit

  • OTAKU
  • CULTURE
  • By far the biggest anime film hit of 2016!

    In a span of three days after its release in Japanese theater on August 26, 2016, Your Name (君の名は。 – Kimi no Na wa) easily grabbed the top box office hit throne with its stunning 1.2 billion yen earning! Ever since the announcement of Makoto Shinkai’s new science fiction fantasy film, the hype and anticipation of fans around the world has been high. It’s a given considering the blockbuster animation hits that Mr. Shinkai has created in the past such as 5 Centimeters per Second (秒速5センチメートル) and The Place Promised in Our Early Days (雲のむこう、約束の場所).

    Your Name’s Plot

    The story focuses on two main characters – Taki (瀧), a high school guy living in Tokyo (東京) and working a part-time job at an Italian restaurant, and Mitsuha (三葉), a female high school student living in the countryside. Both have different interests and aspirations in life. One day, Mitsuha had a dream of living as a guy while Taki dreamt of being a female. From there, the story tries to unravel the mysteries behind those dreams and what they meant for both characters.

    The build-up of excitement only intensified when popular names from other prominent animation films were also revealed to take part in the making of this 2016 movie. Today, we’ll take a look at three notable personalities in the animation industry that brought this genius masterpiece to life.

    Spotlights on…

    Makoto Shinkai – 新海誠 (Writer and Director)

    He’s the man who started the fire for this hit anime film. However, way before Your Name, Shinkai already has a solid reputation in creating lots of great animation works. By great, we mean those films that really tug on your heartstrings even if they are not necessarily in the slice-of-life genre.

    Shinkai brought stories that tap on our humanity, thus making his characters highly relatable and real.

    Prior to his career as an animator and director, he first started as a graphic web designer at Falcom, a Japanese video game company. It’s during those years when he met the Japanese music composer Tenmon (天門 – Atsushi Shirakawa – 白川篤史) who later on provided the awesome musical score for Shinkai’s movies.

    Below are some of Shinkai’s most notable films:

    • The Garden of Words – 言の葉の庭 (2013)
    • Children Who Chase Lost Voices – 星を追う子ども (2011)
    • 5 Centimeters per Second – 秒速5センチメートル (2007)
    • The Place Promised in Our Early Days – 雲のむこう、約束の場所 (2004)
    • Voices of a Distant Star – ほしのこえ (2002)
    • She and Her Cat – 彼女と彼女の猫 (1999)
    Masashi Ando – 安藤雅司 (Animation Director)

    As someone who’s known for working with prominent names like Hayao Miyazaki – 宮崎駿 (Spirited Away) and Satoshi Kon – 今敏 (Paprika), lots of things can be expected from this animation genius.

    Ando has a well-grounded experience starting off as an animator in Studio Ghibli (スタジオジブリ) where he cemented his reputation by designing the characters of the hit films Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. His popularity is centralized on the field of character design and animation – works that display uniqueness, creativity, and a brilliant touch of a creative hand that brought memorable faces to characters that initially existed on plain text.

    Masashi Ando’s notable character design works include:

    • A Letter to Momo – ももへの手紙 (2012)
    • Paprika – パプリカ (2006)
    • Paranoia Agent – 妄想代理人 (2004)
    • Spirited Away – 千と千尋の神隠し (2001)
    • Princess Mononoke – もののけ姫 (1997)

    Plus few of his animation masterpieces:

    • The Tale of Princess Kaguya – かぐや姫の物語 (2013)
    • Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence – 攻殻機動隊 イノセンス (2004)
    • Tokyo Godfathers – 東京ゴッドファーザーズ (2003)
    Masayoshi Tanaka – 田中将賀 (Character Designer)

    Among the personalities we have on this list, this guy’s the one who is involved in a lot of the most notable anime TV series that fans love. If there’s a man who personifies that person who lives by drawing (and earn a good deal of money from it), this guy’s the one.

    He’s known to work on multiple anime shows, shifting from being a key animator to being the director or character designer. In some cases, he carries all three roles in one project.

    Here are some of his most popular projects:

    • Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day – あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。 (both TV series and movie)
    • Bleach – ブリーチ (select TV episodes)
    • We Were There – 僕等がいた (TV)
    • Chobits – ちょびっツ (TV)
    • Eureka Seven – 交響詩篇エウレカセブン (TV)
    • The Girl Who Leapt Through Space – 宇宙をかける少女 (TV)
    • High School of the Dead – 学園黙示録 (TV)
    • Hunter X Hunter – ハンター×ハンター (TV)
    • Katekyo Hitman Reborn! – 家庭教師ヒットマンリボーン! (TV)
    • Toradora! – とらドラ! (TV)

    …and so much more!

    With the combined experience and talent by these three artists, it is no longer a surprise why the film generated attention and support even before it aired. And true to what fans expected, the show managed to deliver another heartwarming, satisfying animation that surely made it memorable to those who have watched it.

    Moreover, considering the film’s favorable reviews across the web, it’s no wonder why fans who are yet to see the show are crossing their fingers in hopes of seeing the movie in their local theaters. As of this writing, the show’s original novel published on June 18, 2016 has already grabbed the number one spot on Oricon’s weekly bunko (trade paperback) chart.

    Some critics will probably argue that it’s far from being perfect, and true enough, there are certain aspects in the whole film that might leave you asking some questions. But then again, it’s part of the makers’ overall creative freedom.

    More than that of the huge sales turnout generated by the film, what matters more is the message it delivered to the audience – something which will not be possible if not for the time, effort, and talent poured by the three guys we have on this list.

    Huge thanks to Makoto Shinkai, Masashi Ando, Masayoshi Tanaka, and their staff who joined forces to make this wonderful film happen! Of course, let us not forget CoMix Wave Films who animated the novel!

    To those who have seen the film, any thoughts you want to share? To those who are still waiting for the official showing in their country, what are you expecting? Make some noise in the comments!

    Here is the official trailer for Your Name, however, it is only available in Japanese:

    Your Name Official Website *Japanese only

    *Featured Image: jp.fotolia.com/