Kimi No Na Wa:
“They converge and take shape. They twist, tangle, sometimes unravel, break, then connect again”Hitoha, grandmother of Mitsuha Miyamizu, Kimi No Na Wa
Makoto Shinkai’s movie Kimi no Na Wa is a beautiful and captivating piece of art. It is a case study of how simple stories can make one ponder over different concepts in life. Unfulfilled connections twist and tangle in a nonlinear way to come around in a circle at the end. It reminds us of the importance of tradition and how humans have forgotten them in the post-modern world. This movie is a visual representation of symbolism. The animation, background music and pace of the story is what keeps the audience glued to their screens.
Brief Summary of Kimi No Na Wa
The story begins some time after a comet has fallen for the first time in a thousand years in Japan. Mitsuha Miyamizu is a 17-year old girl, who lives with her sister and her grandmother in the small town of Itomori. The Miyamizus firmly adhere to the traditions of their Shinto Shrine and to worshipping the God of Musubi. Taki Tachibana is a 17-year old boy, who lives in Tokyo with his father. He goes to school, works at an Italian restaurant and wears a cord on his wrist.
Mitsuha and Taki experience the switching of their bodies on consecutive school days. They eventually become aware of the switch but they are not able to remember who they are switching their bodies with. For this, they start writing notes on their bodies and cellphones. There is a three-year difference in when they switch but they cannot remember the dream. One odd day, their switching stops, and Taki becomes curious to know why. So he tries to find the town of Itomori. In his search, he finds out that a comet struck the town three years ago which killed several residents including Mitsuha.
Taki travels to the altar of Musubi, where he remembers the Kuchikamizake offered by Hitoha to Misuba. Determined to change the past, he drinks the Kuchikamizake. He experiences the visions of the past and Mitsuha’s life and death in a flash.
Taki wakes up in Mitsuha’s body on the day when the comet is about to strike the town of Itomori. He creates an evacuation plan with Mitsuha’s friends. But it is unlikely to work as they do not get any help from the mayor( Mitsuha’s Father) of the town and without Mitsuha herself. Taki and Mitsuha enter Katawaredoki, which is a special realm where space and time can interact with each other. This moment lasts only for a short span of time.
Taki returns the cord to Mitsuha and tells her about the comet. They decide to write each other’s names so that they do not forget each other. Instead, Taki writes I love you. The moment Mitsuha goes on to write, they enter their respective time and bodies. Both of them lose their memories of each other. They are lost and are always in search of something. On one odd day, they cross each other in different trains.
The Japanese culture in Kimi No Na Wa
To understand Kimi No Na Wa in a much deeper sense and to comprehend the various symbolic representations, one needs to understand various key concepts in Japanese culture. In the movie, the audience can witness Hitoha, the grandmother of Mitsuha, telling about the importance of braiding cords, hosting the autumn festival, preparing Kumihimo, Kaguro and Kuchikamizake. She tells about how the tradition is fading away since the fire occurred two hundred years ago. Musubi warned about a second comet meant to strike after 1200 years. But due to the loss of tradition, people forget about it.
The family of Mitsuha practices the religion of Shinto. Shinto is being in touch with the concept of spirits and viewing nature as God. They worship a Kami (Spiritual energy). Mitsuha’s family worships the Kami which is Musubi. Musubis were two deties that created heaven and earth. Kuchikamizake, mouth chewed alcohol, is offered at the altar of Musubi. It contains half of Mitsuha’s soul which helps her and Taki to meet in the story.
The cord which is seen in the movie is known as the ‘red string of fate’. It symbolizes the literal flow of time, connecting two things with each other and people sharing different relationships. It contains a dragon which symbolizes the occurrence of the comet. Tsukuyomi (the moon), the God of matchmaking, is watching over the fate of two people destined to be together.
Theme of Romance in Kimi No Na Wa
The movie has an underlying theme of love which it portrays through comets, time and space. It shows the power of love and how it is something that one does not possess but instead is a feeling. Every connection is unfulfilled at first in one way or another. It will act in twisted ways, which is difficult for a human to comprehend, but eventually find a way to make a sense out of it. The connection of two simple characters who have never met and do not know anything about each other is bound to occur. It transcends over time and space.
The connection is portrayed through a simple thread that symbolizes a plethora of ideas. A red string of fate makes the concepts of time and space look meager. It symbolizes love and destiny. Taki and Mitsuha are the only people who are able to remember each other vaguely because of the cord. This cord cuts through different timelines. But these threads are not perfect and in fact, they are flawed and incomplete.
Establishing the romance
Taki and Mitusha are not able to meet directly and do not remember each other properly. It’s just the fuzzy memories that they have after switching their bodies. This is what makes them poetic and beautiful. Their story completes an entire cycle and makes the connection that was bound to happen. Taki and Mitsuha do not have a typical love story. It is set across different timelines where a natural disaster can give birth to such an endearing story. We witness them crying after having a dream and also when they meet for the very first time.
Taki and Mitsuha cannot remember each other names, where they live and do not know how seperate their timelines are. Still, there is an unnamed connection between the two which is so strong that it altered their past. Love persists above all. The comet helps them reconnect after 1200 years from its first appearance.
Theme Of Science Fiction in Kimi No Na Wa
This narration begins with a comet approaching the surface of the earth. This scene only makes sense in the later part of the movie where we see how the story revolves around the comet and the concept of relative time. In this scene, Taki just views the beautiful spectacle without realizing the impact that it will make on his life later. When Mitusha goes to meet Taki in her timeline, she is not recognized by Taki as he switches his body from the future.
Mitsuha gives him a thread that becomes the folklore of how they meet each other in different timelines. The movie blurs the concept of time over love, symbolizing love prevails above all. The comet, in narration, gets the attention of the media and creates a visual spectacle for the people of Japan. Symbolically, the comet represents a common thread that connects Taki and Mitsuha together. Comet connects space and time together.
The comet reference is made from an actual disaster that happened in 2013 which led to the creation of Lake Itomori. Unfortunately, people forgot about its actual meaning and importance because of a fire that occurred 200 years ago. With this reference, the writer also takes a dig at the depleting value of tradition in this fast-paced world.
A Perfect Blend
There are a lot of movies that have tried amalgamating science fiction and romance together. Kimi no nawa does it in a near-perfect and unique manner. It beautifully encapsulates the concept of space and time with the tradition of Musubi. The writer intertwines the comet with the love story of Mitsuha and Taki aesthetically.
Different timelines come together in the form of comets portraying the power of love through scientific bodies. Different interpretations can be made about the symbolic representations in the film. The concept of time has been used in a profound manner, where the protagonists cannot remember anything. But they are still able to cut through time and meet each other. Taki meets Mitsuha at the altar where he gives away the thread back to Mitsuha and tells her about the comet that they are about to face. This eventually saves her life and aligns their present timelines. The concept of the comet has been used in such a unique way, symbolizing how a comet for two different spectrums of people indirectly connects them.
The lake on which they meet is in the shape of infinity which shows the infinite aspect of life and soul. When their timelines get in sync, there is still something they are looking for. Obstructions are a part and parcel of life. In this case, time and space are the obstructs. The power of love paves a way to connect them.