kimi no na wa

Makoto Shinkai’s movie Your Name is Japan’s biggest hit of 2016.

Anime News Network reports that as of October 8, the film has earned $134 million in the local box office. South China Morning Post adds that the film has won distribution deals all over the world. More than 80 countries, including Hong Kong, will soon be able to watch the animated masterpiece.

Inspired by the novel of the same title, Your Name or “Kimi no na wa” tells the story of country girl Mitsuha and city body Taki. They have never met. But at night…they swap bodies through their dreams. Your Name follows these two high school students as they try to change the course of Japanese history.

“It is a unique film and has been a unique sensation,” said Shinkai during an interview at the 21st Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in South Korea.

Audiences praised the animation of the film, but even more so for its poignant story. The journey of Your Name’s characters during a comet disaster mirrors the real life heartbreaks caused by the 2011 earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan.

“They took away the lives of so many people and they changed everyone in Japan,” said Shinkai at BIFF. “The wish afterwards was that we could all live longer, and so this film’s biggest motivation was to reflect these dreams of the Japanese nation. Life means so much more to us now.”

Your Name is the first animated film outside Studio Ghibli to gross 10 billion yen at the box office. With its success, many have said that Makoto Shinkai is the next Hayao Miyazaki. Since the master animator Miyazaki retired last 2013, Shinkai is poised to rule Japanese animation and conquer the international stage.

Your Name opens in Hong Kong on November 11.

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