Last year, there was quite the kerfuffle over this anime motion picture which bust open viewing records in Japan and gained a lot of popularity worldwide. Of course, I'm talking about "Kimi no Na wa"（君の名は。....Your Name）by Makoto Shinkai（新海誠）.
To be honest, I hadn't wanted to watch it. I was never all that big a fan of Hayao Miyazaki（宮崎駿）flicks with the exception of "Majo no Takkyubin"（魔女の宅急便...Kiki's Delivery Service）and when I heard about "Kimi no Na wa", I automatically assumed it was going to be too heavy with supremely long and languid scenes and over-the-top acting. Plus, the fact that it involved high school kids with all of the hormones and emotions racing at warp speed didn't help matters. Finally, watching the rock band RADWIMPS perform a song from "Kimi no Na wa" on the Kohaku Utagassen last year, "Zenzenzense"（前前前世...Past Past Past Lives）, as if it were the last time they were going to be allowed to play anywhere had me deciding "Uh....nope, I'll pass".
Well, cue ahead several months later into 2017. My anime buddy told me that he purchased "Kimi no Na wa" on Blu-Ray so he played it for the afternoon feature at his place. And for the first five to ten minutes, I kinda felt like one of the judges on those reality show contests having to go through the not-so-great participants in the preliminaries. But then the story of the comet came in along with Taki and Mitsuha coming to grips with their situations, and I then went "Oh...OK, not too bad at all".
By the ending credits, I was surprisingly pleased with the overall result although I didn't think it was any timeless classic. Of course, seeing those scenes of Shinjuku and Roppongi lovingly rendered onto the screen had me getting that urge to get back to my old stomping grounds. The particular elements of the plot with the time travel, body-swapping and hating growing up in a hick town are things that I've seen a number of times, but in "Kimi no Na wa", they were brought together pretty well. Plus, I have learned to ask my waiter/waitress at any izakaya in Tokyo where my sake really comes from.
As I said, "Zenzenzense" wasn't my cup of tea but there were a couple of songs at the end by RADWIMPS that I enjoyed. One of them, "Sparkle", I thought was especially fitting for the climax of the movie. Considering the suspense and drama involved in the scenes at that point, it seems like "Sparkle" was the reassuring presence that said the protagonists were doing the right thing after all and that things would be OK...despite Shinkai's predilection for unhappy endings. Vocalist and guitarist Yojiro Noda（野田洋次郎）wrote and composed the song.
The song was part of the soundtrack album for "Kimi no Na wa" which came out in August 2016. Not surprisingly, it went all the way up to No. 1 on the Oricon weeklies and ended up becoming the 6th-ranked album of the year as it went Double Platinum.