The Literature of the Anime Film “Your Name”

By Angelica Spencer

One day while summarizing the plot of an anime series to a classmate I caught the attention of my film literature professor. He was interested in watching it because of the fantasy plot it had and asked where he could find it and what type of show it was. But, when I told him it was anime he backed away and dismissed it as something he would not like because of what type of media it was. I tried to persuade him it was be good to broaden his horizons, that anime could be high quality, and had something to offer for everyone but I doubt he took my advice. Perhaps it is because anime is typically categorized as a low art form not deserving of being called literature or fine art.

But literature is not just poetry or written fiction. Literature is anything which has lasting merit, is thought provoking, and evokes strong emotions in its audience. Though it is often dismissed, anime has many titles to offer which fit this description. Makoto Shinkai’s latest masterpiece “Your Name” is one such title.

The plot of “Your Name” starts off as a light hearted and fun. The main characters Taki and Mitsuha begin switching bodies regularly which leads to some comedic moments. They find ways to communicate with out meeting face to face, help each other with their problems, and grow closer as they learn more. However, one day the switching stops just as suddenly as it began and this is the part of the film that truly shines full of symbolism and emotion it leaves many viewers to tears.

The second part of the movie revolves around the red string of fate and other related aspects of Japanese philosophy frequently seen in Japanese written literature such as poetry and folklore. Basically, it states that two souls can be linked together by a red thread that cannot be broken.When the mind forgets a person who was important to you the string binding you to the person will ensure the body and soul remember.

There is a scene toward the end of the movie where the characters finally meet each other despite the overwhelming odds against them. They forgot who the other person was but remembered when they saw each other again. In the limited time they have together Taki suggests they write each other’s names so they won’t forget again once they part. But they are interrupted and only Taki gets the chance to write something. Yet, instead of his name he chooses to write “I love you”. This is because he knows writing his name is futile as circumstances will ensure its erased since it has happened before. However, emotions are left alone and are the only chance they have of finding each other again.

This scene and the movie in general is full of intense fluctuating emotion which is enhanced by beautiful music and some of the most stunningly gorgeous animation ever created. For this reason “Your Name” deserves to be considered a work of literature even though it is anime.