December 10, 2018, 09:09:08 AM
November 09, 2018, 04:05:48 PM by Acans | Views: 524 | Comments: 0

Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name., 2016) is a Japanese anime film written and directed by Makoto Shinkai. It currently holds the record of highest grossing anime film of all time (Boxofficemojo.com, 2018). Kimi no Na wa. tells the story of Mitsuha and Taki, two high school students whose minds begin switching bodies during their sleep. However, we are taken on a much deeper emotional story with Makoto Shinkai using film form, specifically mise-en-scène, cinematography, and sound, to create its rich subtext. In Kimi no Na wa. the subtext refers to how we are all connected, people, places and times.

In Kimi no Na wa., the most obvious form of connections is through the use of lines, and once you start looking for them you begin to see them everywhere through the use of mise-en-scene and cinematography. The first line of the movie is created by a falling meteor heading towards Itomori, a connection between the meteor and the comet Tiamat that it broke apart from. However we soon learn this isn't the only connection, and that the comet possesses an orbital period of 1,200 years past earth and that meteors have broken away and has at least hit the area twice. Once during the formation of Lake Itomori and another creating Goshintai, the crater where the body of the Miyamizu family shine's god lies. So from the opening seconds, we are exposed to the subtext of connections through the mise-en-scene of the sky above Itomori and the cinematography capturing the meteor and the tail creating the line in the whole shot. Immediately following this first opening shot, we are introduced to Taki and Mitsuha. Awaking from a dream crying, unable to remember what the dream is, feeling that they are connected to something but unable to remember what it is. So they are left with a sensation that they have somehow lost something. As a result, they are always searching for someone, something, ever since that day five years ago, they both stared at the sky seeing that great celestial line cross the sky. We later learn that not only are Taki and Mitsuha connected to his great line, but all of Japan is through various shots of different mise-en-scenes used to show people all over Japan either looking at this line in the sky or watching it from their televisions. So if we later find this line connects all of Japan and not just the protagonists, how are they connected? The answer, they are connected by the most important line of the movie which is depicted by Mitsuha's hair braid, which I believe represents the red string of fate. For those unaware of this legend, the following is a quote from The legend of the red string of Japan by (MONASTERIO, 2015). "According to this myth, everyone's pinky finger is tied to an invisible red string that will lead him or her to another person with whom they will make history." We first see this during the films opening sequence, the characters back to back against a white background in a mid shot surrounded by Mitsuha's red hair braid. Also, the last shot of the opening sequence as they step away from each other, being connected by this line on the hands, the red string of fate. Outside of the opening sequence while dreaming, just before Taki wakes up in Mitsuha's body of the first time, we are shown the first time they also 'meet' in Tokyo. During this exchange, Mitsuha unties her hair braid and extends it towards Taki to grab and take it. During this shot, the mise-en-scene changes from Mitsuha departing the train onto the station surrounded by people, to the people surrounding the two protagonists fading and disappearing from the shot as they form their connection when Taki reaches out and grabs the hair braid. The Kanji that we see written onto themselves to communicate, even at one point using a line to separate the two mise-en-scenes through the middle of the frame. However, it is with the Kanji we see the limitations of the lines, as although they are connections, they are imperfect and incomplete. An example is that during Kataware-doki atop Goshintai, as Mitsuha begins to write the Kanji of her name onto Taki, Kataware-doki ends. The camera angle looking down on Mitsuha beginning to write her name, before it jumps to unexpectedly to just Taki on the mountain, with a partial and imperfect line on his hand. This line, unable to allow him to permanently retain the memories of Mitsuha. Another example of these lines not creating perfect connections is the braided cords they create at the shrine. They don't know why they create the cords, but they do it anyway, as The Great Fire of Mayugorou destroyed the shrine and documents. So the braided cords that they create at the shrine are a connection to a past lost, far from a perfect connection.

So if these connections created through lines are not perfect connections, then what is? The answer I believe are circles, defined as "a plane figure bounded by one line" (Carroll, 1883) and Musubi, the old way of calling the local guardian god through the tying of threads, which the movie also shows through its use of mise-en-scene, cinematography, and sound. My first example is when Taki (in Mitsuha's body) visits the shrine of the Mizamizu family. He is explained by Hitoha that the braided cords they make are the god's art, and represent the flow of time itself and quote "They converge and take shape. They twist, tangle, sometimes unravel, break, then connect again." While hearing this explanation, they reach the summit. This is where the sound of the movie picks up as the cinematography changes from a close up to a wide than extreme wide shot of the crater. This extreme wide shot shows the 3 circles, Lake Itomri, The crater of Goshintai and the river that separates the gods from the people. The song is also called Goshintai after the crater itself. ("‎Your Name. by RADWIMPS", 2016). Later on in the movie, when Taki makes the climb up the mountain to prove that it all wasn't just a dream, he finally makes it to the summit during the rain. The camera angle we are given is a medium shot, which Taki in focus and the background blurred. Once he knows it wasn't a dream and moves forward, the camera lingers and the background comes into focus. These two circles joined together in the shape of the infinity symbol. This cinematography use of pulling the shot into focus after Taki walks forward I believe gives the subtext of Taki being sure of himself, and of his connection to Mitsuha. I mentioned earlier that the Kanji lines weren't a strong enough connection to allow Mitsuha and Taki to remember each other, but I believe that during the scene when Taki returns the hair braid that Mitsuha had given him 3 years ago, we see her tie it into a bow, two joined circles, is what allows them to be drawn to each other 5 years later through the divine power of musubi. Finally, the circle that appears in the logo for the movie after the title, this circle is the Japanese full stop. Now if the En Dash (in my example, refers to the line) is used to connect or "to link spans, such as numbers in addresses, distances or times" and you "end with a full stop" (Anderson, Woods & Ward, 2013). It means that like Okudera-sempai, who found her perfect connection as depicted by her wedding ring shortly before Mitsuha and Taki meet again 5 years later, that their story has now come full circle through the power of musubi and the circles created by it from the tying of threads that bought together two people, across places and times.



Bibliography:

Boxofficemojo.com. (2018). Your Name. (2017) - Box Office Mojo. [online] Available at: https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=main&id=yourname.htm [Accessed 6 Nov. 2018].

MONASTERIO, L. (2015). The legend of the red string of Japan. Retrieved from http://www.faena.com/aleph/articles/the-legend-of-the-red-string-of-japan/

Anderson, W., Woods, G., & Ward, L. (2013). English Grammar Essentials For Dummies. Milton, QLD: Wiley.

Carroll, L. (1883). Euclid books I, II (p. 4). London: Macmillan.

Your Name. by RADWIMPS. (2018). Retrieved from https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/your-name/1434005560
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