Time will unbind our memory glue
and I’ll be as nobody-ish as all of you. — Marceline
The most beautiful aspect of Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) is how it weaves its various themes to form a coherent labyrinthine story, waiting to be untangled by the unsuspecting viewer. Its take on the body swap plot allows for much more complexity and poignancy. The film also integrates seamlessly two main threads—the struggle against a terrific fate and the love between the two leads.
A major theme is the impermanence of memory. Mitsuha and Taki both describe recollections of their body-swapping escapades as dreamlike. Details are progressively blurred until memories fade entirely. In the first two acts, this transience gives a sense of levity and wonder. However, by the third act, the disappearing memories and records have given rise to impending loss, especially in the context of the film’s non-linear timeline. Mitsuha thus has to mobilize an evacuation plan before the comet breaks, and Taki has to get his message to Mitsuha before he forgets everything. The suspense is palpable in their race against time.
Although Mitsuha and Taki successfully avert disaster, in their last ephemeral moment in each other’s body, they left no trace of the events ever happening. No record, no name, no memory. All that is left is a lingering vague feeling that something good is now lost.
The two would eventually meet again, but it feels regretful that none remembers the incredible series of phenomenons that once brought them together. At the end of the film, they are—despite all that happened—mere strangers. However, Your Name finds comfort in the idea that there is a cosmic knot between things: Musubi. Indeed, it is possible that our love persists even without memories of events. There are accounts of people without autobiographical memory.1 Though unable to recall any past experiences, most of these individuals have healthy relationships and passionate lives.2 Likewise, Mitsuha and Taki are able to recognize each other without knowing whence.
My initial thoughts after the movie was that it is fifteen minutes too long—the resolution of Mitsuha and Taki’s seemingly irretrievable romance dragged. Still, the final scene is that much more powerful for it. The slow monotony built in that quarter of an hour is contrasted with a sudden meeting, frantic search, hesitation, near-miss, and finally, love.