Warning: The following contains major spoilers for Your Name. and 5cm Per Second.
Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name. is without question a hit. It topped the box office in Japan for months, surpassed every Ghibli movie except Spirited Away, was wildly successful outside of Japan and has been discussed in the English-speaking anime community for months even without an official release. This begs the question: why has it been so successful compared to Shinkai’s other films. Shinkai’s hardly an unknown, but none of his other films have attained anything close to mainstream success. The easy answer is that Your Name. is a hit because it’s so good, which, while true, isn’t enough of an answer. Shinkai has made plenty of good movies before, even if none were as good as Your Name. and Your Name. has several aspects in common with his other films. Popularity also doesn’t necessarily mean something is good, and being good doesn’t mean something will be popular. Quality certainly helps, but that’s not the main reason it’s so popular. What I’ll be doing is looking at what differentiates Your Name. from everything else Shinkai’s done and what about that made it such a massive hit
It’s been quite a year. Aside from everything that’s been going in the real world (and there’s a lot) this is also my first year blogging. I’d thought about it occasionally, but never actually done it until May. Now it’s been a solid seven months and I’m still going. I hope to still be doing this when it’s time for my top 10 anime of 2017, but who knows how things will be then. Anyway, now I’ll be listing off my top anime of this year. I just have a few rules for this list. I won’t be ranking these anime at all since (with a couple of exceptions) it would be too hard to decide what goes where. I’m also only including anime that has both started and ended this year (so no March comes in like a lion). Finally, I’ll be including any anime that I think is good enough to make this list, not just TV shows. I’m also only including anime that I’ve seen from start to finish for obvious reasons. There are a couple of shows that I haven’t seen yet that I have a feeling would make this list otherwise, but there’s no point in speculating. Now that that’s out of the way, on to the list!
While he’s not as well known as Hayao Miyazaki or Mamoru Hosoda, Makoto Shinkai is still one of the most famous anime directors currently working. Prior to seeing Your Name, my only experience with Shinkai’s work was the 2002 OVA Voices of a Distant Star, but I already had high expectations when I saw Your Name at Anime Expo last weekend, expectations that it more than lived up to.