Themes of exchanging lives and searching for love have combined to make a Japanese animated film a box office gold. They have also prompted talk that the country has found its successor (接班人) to the globally famous director Hayao Miyazaki (宫崎骏).
Your Name, directed by Makoto Shinkai (新海诚) and based on his million-selling novel of the same name, is a time-traveling love story about two Japanese teenagers. Since its premiere (首映) in Japan this August, the film has been watched by over 12 million people. It has earned more than 16 billion yen in domestic box office receipts, an animé milestone previously achieved only by Miyazaki's films.
Animé fans have attributed Your Name's popularity to Shinkai's success in combining exquisite (精致的) animation with a storyline centered on two deeply empathetic (能体会他人感受的) characters. Mitsuha Miyamizu, a teenage girl, lives in a picturesque (风景如画的) but unexciting village. Taki Tachibana is a Tokyo schoolboy whose life zig-zags (依之字形行进) from home to school to a restaurant where he works part-time. The fateful (有重大影响的) events that bring the pair together begin when they appear in each other's dreams—though they have never met. Much of the film's charm comes from their attempts to make sense of their situation and, ultimately, to find each other.
Shinkai's use of digital technology allows him to place the story in "real" locations. The scenes are illustrated in hyper-real (高度写实的) detail, turning commonplace sites into movie settings and fan meccas (众人向往之地).
The 43-year-old Shinkai described Your Name as his attempt to understand, and perhaps relieve, teenage angst (焦虑). "Quite a lot of them feel anxious because their lives revolve around (围绕) school and home," the director said. "That's why they turn to animé, novels and video games. I wanted to create something for the generation of young people who long for stories like this."
"Perhaps I can never stand unrivaled (无与伦比的) like Miyazaki," added Shinkai. "But if I have been given the privilege (特权) of making films ... I am confident of delivering something that others can't make."