What makes the movie 2016? Your name What’s great is how it subverts the classic body-swapping trope that’s so popular not just in anime but in other media as well. The body-swap plot has become so common in fiction that it has become a trope in countless films and television series such as Freaky Friday, Gravity Falls, and The Owl House. Traditionally, this story is used as a way to give two or more opposing characters a situation where they understand the other’s point of view. This eventually leads to the two reconciling their differences and improving their relationship with each other. This type of story is hard to pull off these days because of its common tropes and clichés, but the movie Your Name really expands on this idea and subverts it in the best way.
Your Name is a 2016 film directed by Makoto Shinkai, about a city boy named Taki and a country girl named Mitsuha as they begin to experience a bizarre situation. On some days, the two switch bodies without warning. This leads them both to find a way to communicate with each other about how the other lives their lives to avoid suspicion while they figure out what’s going on. In the first act of the film, there are uses of traditional clichés in the body-swap story as the comedy occurs as the two get used to their new bodies and surroundings. However, a sudden twist at the beginning of the second act reinforces what makes Your Name such a special film.
Your name gives the body swap a time travel twist
When Taki realizes that he’s not swapping bodies with Mitsuha anymore, he tries to find out which village she’s in to make sure she’s okay. What he discovered completely changed the context of Your Name’s coming-of-age story. It turns out that Mitsuha and her entire village were killed many years ago by falling space debris from a comet that destroyed the town. This shocking revelation quickly shows that this is more than a simple body swap story. With that simple change, Your Name becomes a timeless sci-fi romance. The premise alone sets it apart from any story that uses this story because of the way it explores the life of someone who’s been around longer through the eyes of such a person.
What’s even more amazing about this indie film’s body-swap story is how heartbreaking Mitsuha’s character is. She is portrayed as a girl who wants to leave her rural village and experience the outside world with her dream of moving to Tokyo. When the body swap happened, her dream came true even though she was in a body that made her uncomfortable. However, once viewers learn about this plot twist, the reality of what will happen to her makes the story even sadder. She only glimpses a life she will never live because her death is near. Meanwhile, Taki is left to witness Mitsuha’s doomed world, not realizing that he is actually time traveling until it is too late. It’s a cruel twist that only spurs Taki to find a way to save her and the town, so she can realize her dream.
Mitsuha’s story is even sadder because your name was overthrown
Of course, in the end, everything worked out well. Taki manages to swap again with Mitsuha and help get the town to safety before the comet strikes. This leads to a heartwarming ending where, in the future, Taki finally meets Mitsuha in person and not through her eyes. However, even with the happier ending, Your nameThe ultimate subversion of the body-swap trope is what makes it such a great anime because it takes a familiar premise and expands it in favor of the characters.