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Analysis of the Anime Film "Your Name"

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A view of Earth taken by the astronaut Jack Schmitt from Apollo 17 in 1972, “Blue Marble” was Earth’s original selfie. Believed to be the most reproduced photograph ever, the picture made an enormous impact in its time. Rather than the abstract image of whole, round, and beautiful, the actual image inspired utopian thoughts of a united world and global connections.

“Your Name” begins with showing Taki and Mitsuha living their life in Tokyo, a finally connected place for them. This is actually 8 years after since Mitsuha has met Taki. Over all the years, although they cannot remember any of their switchings, they feel the connection and Taki and Mitsuha are left with a feeling that they are looking for something or someone. The film starts by showing their “connected world” – as the “Blue Marble” in Mirzoeff’s book – and explains how their long and complex relationship could finally be connected throughout the film. Mirzoeff makes the point that seeing is not just a simple process of sensory input. It is combined with complex neurological, psychological and even social phenomenon. If how we see the world is dramatically different from how we saw it a few years ago, he reminds us there have been many previous revolutions in visual perception, giving the examples of photography and train travel.

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In Mirzoeff’s words, it’s confusing, anarchic, liberating and worrying all at once. In the film “Your name”, there is a very important and central crux of the film that Mitsuha is switching with Taki from 3 years in the future. In fact when she switches, she is in Tokyo and 3 years in the future, yet she does not realize. Over the many switches Mitsuha falls in love with Taki and goes to Tokyo to see him, who lives in 3 years past and has not experienced body switching, thus has no clue who she is. When they finally meet each other in a train, Mitsuha hands him her red thread and this now binds the two of them no matter which time period they live in. The thread keeps two people from forgetting each other in dramatically different world and helps them see the world without confuse and anarchy, as mentioned in Mirzoeff’s book. During an interview, Makoto Shinkai, the director of the film mentioned the main motivation he decided to make “Your Name”. He questioned himself why people forget things so frequently and easily, watching over people not talking about the catastrophic earthquake hit Japan in 2011 anymore.

A question about memories getting faded away from people’s minds was the starting point of the film. Not surprisingly, the film focuses on the importance of relationships we have throughout our lives and human struggle to not forget valuable beings. This is shown when Mitsuha trying to hand Taki the thread and Taki giving it back to Mitsuha, and when Taki suggesting they should write each other’s names on their hands so they don’t forget one another. An answer to the question of the director possibly lies in the book. These days, various types of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr give everyone the opportunity to represent themselves and to make that representation into performance. According to the book, one trillion photos were taken in 2014. 700 million SnapChat photos are posted every day. Three hundred hours of YouTube video are uploaded every minute. To put this in perspective, in 2012, there were only 250 billion photos taken, so the number has quadrupled in three years. Every two minutes, US residents alone take more photographs than were taken throughout the 19th century. This is part of the process where visual culture is giving way to visual activism. The ironic use of image, distorted information, and information overload confuse people and eventually make their memory faded away. As mentioned above, mobile technology and social media in today’s networked world enable us to exercise visual activism, the practice of producing and circulating images to drive social change.

Throughout the book, Mirzoeff wants us to find the meaning in what we see whether we are looking at pictures, news, landscapes, or MRI scan. In the film, twilight functions as today’s networked world, in which Mitsuha and Taki encounter each other and take their connection to the next level. Twilight is the time when the world blurs and people might encounter something supernatural. In the film twilight is described as Taki and Mitsuha’s last moment together. In their last moment, Taki expresses his feelings for Mitsuha by saying that he likes her and Mitsuha puts on the thread that Taki has kept for 3 years. When Mitsuha begins to write her name, the twilight ends and Taki goes back in his time. Yet, this was not the end of their connection. The thread and their mutual feeling for each other left them in the state of searching for each other.

At the end of the film, Taki and Mitsuha finally see each other, run around looking for each other and finally find one another on the stairs. Taki starts a conversation by asking Mitsuha if they have met before, and she replies by saying she thinks so too. At that moment their connection is reestablished. And the film ends by Taki and Mitsuha shedding a tear and asking for each other’s names.

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