‘your name,’ the extremely popular anime film about body-swapping teens, gets u.s. release date

In just six months following its theatrical release, ‘Your Name’ has overtaken every ‘Harry Potter’ installment to become Japan’s fourth highest grossing film of all time. This April, you can see it for yourself.

by Emily Manning
17 January 2017, 11:10pm

The good news just keeps on rolling in for Stateside anime fans. Studio Ghibli classics Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke (Japan's first and fifth most popular films, respectively) were treated to recent re-releases in North American theaters, to celebrate each film's anniversary. And now, we'll have a chance to see the new animated film that's causing a massive splash in Japan: Your Name. The film will be released in North American theaters on April 7, 2017. The original Japanese version will screen with English subtitles, and an English language dubbed version will premiere, too.

Your Name's premise is that of a more extreme Freaky Friday. Rather than Lindsay Lohan swapping bodies with scream queen turned probiotic yogurt goddess Jamie Lee Curtis, it features two teens of the opposite sex switching bodies. A boy from Tokyo inexplicably swaps with a girl from a small mountainside town overnight, waking up to find himself very intimately acquainted with the female anatomy. Except these strangers' switch doesn't have all that much to do with a fortune cookie (or a punky LiLo wanting to ditch her mom's lame wedding rehearsal dinner to rock out at the House of Blues). It's motivated by an impending environmental disaster, one inspired by the 2011 earthquake that ravaged Japan.

Related: Makoto Shinkai on what's driving Your Name's success

The story is based on a novel that the film's director, Makoto Shinkai, released in June, just two months before Your Name opened in Japanese theaters. Since then, the film has exploded in popularity. It's brought in over $330 million at the box office, and is quickly gaining ground on Frozen and Titanic to crack the the top three highest grossing films in Japanese history. The top spot belongs to Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki's 2001 opus.

Shinkai has been netting comparisons to the Studio Ghibli co-founder since Your Name's success. As he told i-D in November: "I feel really honored, but that's too much! Miyazaki is way, way above. Yes, I broke the box-office record, but this is just once; Miyazaki has done it so many times and yes, I want to make more of an effort to get closer to where he is now." But based on Your Name's intricate hand-rendered animation, its dignified treatment of teen issues and emotions, and its sensitivity to environmental issues, the comparison to Ghibli's greatest films isn't all that left field.


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