Review by Ian Keogh
Your Name 01 introduced us to two high school students. Naki is a guy living in Tokyo, and Mitusha bemoans her dull life in rural Japan. Without explanation, though, they end up switching bodies for a day at a time, gradually becoming accustomed to masquerading as the other, although their different personalities emerge enough to have their friends remark on it. Just when they, and readers, have become used to the swapping it abruptly ends. The weirdness, though, hasn’t.
Naki decides he should visit Mitsuha, only to discover that her entire village was wiped out when a comet hit three years previously, which doesn’t tally at all with his timescales. Mitsuha had made notes about looking forward to seeing the comet just weeks previously. Things nag in Naki’s memory, such as not being able to figure out why he’d know about braided cords.
Ranmaru Kotone is adapting Makoto Shinkai’s anime success, and doing it over three volumes gives the sympathetic and wistful story time to breathe. Shinkai’s films are all about isolation, yearning and power lines, and Kotone’s artistic precision brings the people, locations and details to life, requiring a greater subtlety for this middle section. The introduction featured two people in specific, but different locations, but now time twists around, as Naki makes some painful discoveries.
Revealing too much would be a mistake. Whether watching the film or reading the adaptation, Your Name is a story where the twists should be discovered and savoured rather than casually revealed. What’s impressive is how the emotional buttons are pushed, and fantastic elements are included, but there’s no hint of contrivance or convenience to the plot. Everything rolls out naturally and pleasingly. A crisis ends this volume, a necessity to convince sceptical people of wild information that will save their lives. Your Name. 03 supplies the conclusion.