Your Name – DeaconsDen Review

Mitshua and Taki are two students who live in different areas of Japan. They have never met. One day, the two begin switching bodies as a comet begins to pass by. Now these two strangers have to find a way to work together to solve the mystery of their body swaps.

This is the basic premise of Your Name, Japanese anime film written and directed by Makoto Shinkai. Shinkai also wrote the novel of the same name that this film is based upon. 

This film was quite the surprise. I had no idea it even existed.  It was only once my brother-in-law mentioned it to my wife and I that we’d even heard of it. Needless to say, I’m glad becuase I love when I see a film that totally catches me by surprise.

On the technical side, Your Name boasts some beautiful animation. It has vibrant colors and some really well designed landscapes of both countrysides and major cities. I was also impressed with the voice acting. I am not an anime purist. I will always take the option of dubbed over subtitles if it’s available. Yet the voice actors for the 2 main characters do perform really well. They captured the many emotions that Taki and Mitshua deal with while going through this ordeal. The film is under 2 hours in runtime at 107 minutes and it really doesn’t waste much of it. Every scene felt important, regardless of it was story/plot related or taking a moment to give our characters some shine. The story was really well told. The larger picture is revealed about halfway through and thankfully this revelation doesn’t derail what came before. In fact it elevates what is already a very touching story and leaves you thinking about it after the credits have rolled and you get out your seat.

I really enjoyed my time with Your Name. Beautiful animation, interesting characters and a heartfelt and dynamic story makes this my sleeper film of 2017 so far.

Final Rating (3.5/4) A touching story that has a pretty great twist. Your Name is quite the surprise as we head into the summer movie season.

Rebirth Recaps – Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham (Spoilers Discussed)

After a missile is shot at a plane over Gotham City, Batman comes face to face with two new superpowered heroes in Gotham and Gotham Girl. Can these two be trusted? What’s the mystery of the Monster Men that appear to be coming to the city?

These questions arise in Volume One of Batman titled I Am Gotham. It collects Batman: Rebirth #1 and Batman #1-6. The book is written by Tom King with artwork by David Finch.

The story opens with the Rebirth one-shot which has Bruce training Duke Thomas for a role in the Bat family. It’s a mostly self-contained story that gets you in the mindset of Batman’s setting up a new team that we will see in Detective Comics.

The main narrative kicks off when a plane begins to go down over Gotham City. Batman rushes to save it, but encounters a moment when he realizes that saving the plane will result in his death. Here we have a really touching moment between Bruce and Alfred as Bruce asks his longtime friend “is this a good death?” Even though we know he’s going to survive, it was nice to see this classic character actually faced with a scenario that he does not have a contingency for. 

Suddenly both Bruce and the plane are saved. His saviors? A brother and sister team who call themselves Gotham and Gotham Girl.

The book spends the majority of its time devoted the new heroes and Batman’s reaction to their arrival. Unlike his recent cinematic portrayal in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Dark Knight counsels and is patient with the newcomers. Always reminding them to “be better.” At the same time we discover the background of these 2 characters and how they came to be. 

I found this to be a very good book. I was honestly surprised with how much more of a mentor Bruce was to these newcomers with amazing power. Particularly as the story reaches its climax as the characters slowly loses their grip on reality.

The artwork by David Finch is also impressive. Giving the reader that classic, pulpy detective feel that Batman and Gotham City are best known for.

Batman Vol 1. I Am Gotham doesn’t kick off Rebirth for Batman the same way Scott Snyder’s amazing Court of Owls did, but it is still a solid adventure with Batman having to deal with young and inexperienced super powered individuals.

Final Rating (4.5/5) I Am Gotham, despite its introduction of 2 new superhumans, is actually a more character focused story for Batman’s Rebirth era debut. There’s plent of action, but the mystery of Gotham and Gotham Girl make this a really good read.