SORRY IN ADVANCE ABOUT THE CRAP QUALITY PICTURES! m(_ _;)m That's the ONLY file I could find...
The story is about two high schoolers, Miyamizu Mitsuha (宮水 三葉) and Tachibana Taki (立花 瀧) who are living completely different lives in separate places, Mitsuha in a town called Itomori (guarding thread?) and Taki in Tokyo.
One day, a comet falls, and that day onward, Taki and Mitsuha's lives change completely.
Taki is a carefree, short tempered but kind boy who lives in Tokyo,
spends time with his friends and...
works in an Italian restaurant.
Mitsuha lives in a small rural town with her Grandmother and little sister Yotsuha
and is a miko of the Miyamizu shrine that does kumihimo (from wiki: "Kumihimo is a Japanese form of braid-making. Cords and ribbons are made by interlacing strands. Kumi himo is Japanese for "gathered threads").
Her mother has passed away and her father is the mayor of the city and a control freak who doesn't shy away from showing it in public and embarrassing her.
Although, her best friends Sayaka and Tessie are supportive of her,
she gets picked on by the other kids at school for being the Miko that's doing the kuchikamizake (sake that's made of chewing rice and then spitting it and letting it ferment) ritual at the Miyamizu shrine.
Mitsuha is sick and tired of her rural town life and wants to graduate and leave the town and live in Tokyo
Little does she know, the wish had already been granted in a weird way. Taki and Mitsuha one day wake up in the other's body. At first they think it's a dream, but the reaction of people around them and the changes happening in their lives, make them realize that they have indeed started swapping place with the other.
The whole reasoning behind the switch, the plot and story line, and the insert music is perfectly timed and compliments the movie overall. We also get to see Yukari Yukino sensei once again from The Garden of Words ( 言の葉の庭 - Kotonoha no Niwa), another marvelous movie (I'll review later) by Makoto Shinkai san, we find out that the town she supposedly went to in the last movie, was actually Mitsuha's town and she's now teaching as a classic Japanese literature teacher at Mitshua's school.
The Music :
I heard the main track of this movie, Zen Zen Zensei ( Past Past Past Life) by Radwimps, when I was obsessed with the Servamp opening track (Sunlight Avenue by Terashima Takuma) and the only video I found on YouTube that had the full song, had a little bit part of this song stuck at the end and no name or information about the track. Imagine my surprise when I found the song in the movie.
The next that totally struck me was Sparkle by the same band. I took the time to find the original video by the band, this includes clips from the movie in crystal clear quality and makes me want to cry at how beautifully put together it is.
The movie ending song however, was the one that made me want to cover it even if I'm not great at covering songs yet. Mind you, this isn't the movie version, there isn't a movie version on YouTube for me to link that has subtitles in English, I could only find this one which is an Acoustic version.
I did find the original song in an AMV version that has a beautiful combination of all Makoto Shinkai movies, which obviously means spoilers, so watch at your own risk.
And finally~ The Opening/Title Song! (yeah I totally went in the reverse order here huhu) And yet again, we get to see the beautiful brilliance that is Makoto Shinaki...
I LOVE the opening song concept. It's amazing how the Japanese people have the red thread of fate belief, which we can plainly see during the opening song. Mitsuha's hair tie that stays with Taki that in the end... oops no spoilers o.o... But it's definitely a very strong reference ^^
Makoto Shinkai: I have watched, a lot of movies, and anime, but up till now, I haven't been moved this much by anyone else's work. Makoto Shinkai san for sure has a unique style, a certain beauty that is not found in anyone else's work. If I was ever given a chance to learn from and work under anyone in my life, I'd want to work with Makoto Shinkai for sure. I honestly, truly, and with all my heart believe that this sort of a movie that can move people's heart, is a treasure in itself and should be spread more and more across all people that don't know the beauty of Japanese animation.
You have all my respect.
Thoughts and Reflections:
Even though I was really taken by Garden of Words, this movie quite easily became my number one anime movie of all time. Be it the unrealistic reality factor, the heartfelt romance, the rush of feelings I got from watching Taki try his very best and pushing himself to the limit for Mitsuha, or simply, the overall heartwarming feeling you get from the entire movie, I can't really see any other movie till date being able to move me to this point. Even if I go completely critical with this, I can't seem to find anything at all wrong with this movie. The placement of the soundtracks, the character development, the subtle light humor, the abrupt story change when Taki realizes what is happening, every single thing was so well placed.
The empty feeling of not being able to get the one thing you desire the most, even if you don't know what exactly that thing is, all the emotions in the whole movie really do move you. I felt the despair, I felt the rush, I cried and I laughed. I got reminded of when I used to believe in a lot of things that now I even though believe in, don't think exist in this world anymore.
I really wonder if someone could get that desperate for another person to be able to push everything in their lives aside and focus on that one person? The only sort of love I see in the world now is, calculative, judgmental and something that one is able to move on from and forget eventually. I felt happy seeing something that matches my teenage time ideals, and the fact that this movie was so well received, makes me hope that there is still some hope left for people, maybe some people, even if a handful of them, can still love this selflessly.