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  • Writer's pictureEzzah Mahmud

Your Name – I feel Again!

Updated: Jan 23, 2020


First and foremost, I am not that familiar with Japanese Anime films, but after watching Your Name (2016) by Makato Shinkai, I wondered why I did not watch those masterpiece sooner. This genre is somewhat new to me and this is the second one that I’ve watched after Spirited Away (2002) by the great Studio Ghibli. Nurul, my best friend, my housemate, who did her BA in Animation at Cardiff with me has been forever insisted me to watch these anime films, and now I know the reason why.

Yesterday, after the class ended at 5pm here in USM, I took public transportation to Gurney Plaza.

1) I was a little bit bummed out because they only do the screening at Gurney Plaza. I prefer Queensbay Mall because it is closer to me and logistically easier. Nevertheless, I like traveling and using public transports, so all was well for me, haha.

2) The trip was totally worth it! WORTH IT! Your Name gives me too much to feel and think and relate and cayaq and fangirled all over. (Oh, and I cried multiple times) – like the title, I feel again!

It’s not that I don’t feel anything at all. I feel so immensely these days, due to… too many things.. (ugh, stay focus Ezzah, talk about the film!). This film gives me too much to think and feel about. Even until the very end of the film, usually, from my previous experiences, I would be the last one to exit the cinema hall (Yes, I DO watch and read the credit roll til’ the very end all the time) but yesterday, almost half of the hall was still full of people til’ the credit ended and I didn’t even understand the Japanese wordings (am not sure about everyone else tho, but the songs were beautifully arranged and I fell in love more and more and more with it).

Your Name started with the shimmering blue background and the producing company logo. This opening immediately teleported me to my 7-year old self that used to wait in front of the TV every weekend morning to watch Ultraman and other Japanese anime! The nostalgic essence during the first few seconds had already charmed my mind to pinpoint my attention towards the film. The inner me screaming “yasssssssssssss, this is what am talking about!”

This film tells a story of two young persons, a girl (Mitsuha Miyamizu) who lives in a rural town called Itomori (a fictional one, but inspired by real places) and a boy (Taki Tachibana) who lives in Tokyo, with both of ’em are in high schools. One day, a ‘freaky-friday’ incident happens and they switch bodies. Long story short (am not gonna spoil the viewing experience for you so yeah, please, please, please go and watch it in the cinema!) I can assure you that it’s one of a kind, beautifully drawn, well-thought plot points film with inciting incidents and plot twists beautifully elaborated and culturally celebrated.

I have to admit, I am crazily in love with the visuals of the film. This kind of things makes me cayaq (melt). It’s so pretty, so stunning, and through out the film, I was totally hooked with the illustration. I was teleported to the world of the film and fully immerse in its beauty and realistic manifestation. Nonetheless, as an artistic person myself, one of the things that I really admire in a person is the ability to draw beautifully, like, instant crush weyh! Truly, people who can draw are gifted, talented and a blessing from the Above! MashaAllah, if you ever ask me to draw, I’ll end up stickfigur-ing stuff. I thought when I watched How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) and was blown away by its visual, the truth is, I was way behind and these Japanese films have long thrived in this aspect.

This film in particular uphold a deeply rooted cultural and religious values. And these are the things that made this film powerful as well as showing similarities between Malay and Japanese cultures in a way. Talking to Adib, who recommended this film to me in the  first place, we shared the thought about a particular scene where the two main characters kinda meet in a dimension, only in a short time during twilight, in between the transition period of day and night, even the time of this particular scene are fractured and not even parallel between their two worlds, but they managed to ‘visit’ each other. And Adib pointed out the fact that we, Malays grew up with, the notion of, like,  why our parents, mak toks advise us to not go out during late evening/early night time (twilight), as it’s a transition time for beings from another world/dimension (Luaq Alam), other than our alam (dimension). The transition period is deemed as the ‘gate’ to a different, unseen realm. When I saw this scene yesterday, what I have in mind was the significant scene in Puteri Gunung Ledang (2004) when Hang Tuah and Gusti Puteri meet each other but can’t seem to ‘see’ each other, but only feel the presence of each other. And in PGL, it’s inferred as an effect from Daulat curse that the Sultan sentenced. I can’t help but to connect these scenes and said to myself, we are different and very similar in regards to this.

In regards to the cinematic time of the film, it’s not linear and throughout the film, you’ll be guided through a flow of emotions, ups and downs, and coming close to the final arc of the film, you’ll understand why and where things happens. This gives you chance to connect the dots as the film progresses. You’ll be on your seat, fidgeting and actively & emotionally involved. Quoting Sis Aizan, who posted the OST/trailer on her FB, “One of the most beautiful film I’ve seen in a long time.” She adds, “(One of the dialogue in the film) Musubi is the old way of calling the guardian – God. This word has profound meaning. Typing thread is Musubi. Connecting people is Musubi. The flow of time is Musubi. These are all the God’s power. So the braided cords that we make are the God’s art and represent the flow of time itself. They converge and take shape. They twist, tangle, sometimes unravel, break, and then connect again. Musubi – knotting. That’s time.” This has inspired me to elaborate more on the fact that time is something so real, but has always been forgotten, in a way. In this time frame, we cross each other path. And we live our lives within each others’ time. Sometimes, just a second spent with a person got you feeling like you’re home, so familiar, so comfortable. In the projection of time in the film, the characters are very much aware of their intertwining time, and at the end of the film, they are so involved in each others’ live even though they never truly  meet. 

The title of the film, ‘Your Name’ actually represents the question being asked throughout the film. And if you know me personally, I always call people by their name. I mean, yeah, an appreciation to their parents that gave them their name, which always has undergone a thought process, like “Lets name this chubby baby E’zzah, Pride, our Pride”, and ‘E’zzah’ will always be me. It’s my identity, it’ll forever be rooted, wherever we are, we bring our name with us, and and reminder that “Hey, my parents gave me that”. In regards to the film, there will be time where the time is a bit undefinable, thus lead to a fuzzy memory of each other’s name. Imagine how thorn you will be if a person, that you feel and believe that you know so dearly, can’t remember you. Like it’s not like she didn’t try at all, but she just can’t. This is the part that I cried. Like it’s a privilege to be remembered and to be someone meaningful in a person’s life. You’ve taken a part of each’s brain space, you’ve meant something to someone to some extent, and then just gone?! Name, coming back to that, your name is what I will remember first of you and how you’ve made me feel of course.

As a Muslim and a proud Malay, I relate dearly to the cultural and religious aspects of the film. Different people have different connection with their culture and religion. Every people have different ways to connect with God, it’s a unique and one-on-one. I embrace, as Allah created us differently for us to understand and know each other. While watching the film, when part where they feature their ritual scenes and celebrations, I know a lil bit more about their culture. Their customs, their traditional garments and their beliefs. I also feel probably this is a Nusantara thing, or the Eastern people thing. The finest, the ‘seni‘, the ‘angin‘, the ‘mambang‘ the ‘halus‘ and the ‘santun‘. (Ugh, I wanted to write the words in English, but it’ll be different, feels not the same.

On the other than, the family values that this film portrays really hit home, hard! I grew up with my grandmother, and Mitsuha has a strong bond with her grandmother. And somehow, we relate more because I always feel that my atok always understands me. I don’t have to say a word, she’d just give me RM 10 (semangat poket katanya) or buy me the kaya butter bun from mamak roti, made kaw-kaw coffee and she didn’t even go to school to know that this, the bond is a non-spoken one but deeply felt. Atok will always be the one that ‘senonohkan’ or even pointed out when I was a bit loqlaq, and that’s why, I always feel I’m an old soul, cause Atok is. Anyway, the point is, the film keeps me thinking of how grateful I am having Atok in my life.  And I hope it’ll make you think about your atok as well.

If I were to write more, I will probably spurt the spoiler out and I don’t want to do that. It’s unfair because truly, you should have that first hand experience of watching it, the unthreaded flow of feeling that you can only achieve by watching it. Go watch it! And let share this kembang mekar bahagia feeling together.

Take care ❤

Ezzah Mahmud

#anime #film #Yourname

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