Author’s note: This article contains spoilers for the manga and anime Your Name.
Kimi no Na wa. (君の名は。) or Your Name. centers on the lives of two high school students, Miyamizu Mitsuha and Tachibana Taki. Mitsuha lives in rural Japan in the mountains, while Taki lives in bustling Tokyo. The two dream of different lives, especially Mitsuha who wishes she lived in the city. They begin to switch bodies sporadically, at first believing their initial experience was simply a lucid dream, but as the story progresses, they become more and more intertwined in one another’s lives.
Like many manga written after the anime (I’m looking at you, Code Geass), or at least, I’m pretty sure the Your Name manga came out after the film, Your Name the manga suffers from better-in-the-original-format syndrome. If you’ve seen the film, you probably understand what I mean. The movie is visually stunning. I think most admirers of animation would agree that half the fun of watching an animated film or show is to experience the art. Also, the music and voice acting really bring the emotional components of the story to life. Your Name’s story and emotional resonance truly rely on the medium in which it was originally created.
The manga, obviously, lacks these things, which, at least for me, were important reasons why I enjoyed the film so much. While the art isn’t terrible in the manga, it’s too simple, too basic, too blank. Of course, I wasn’t looking for the gorgeous colors and lighting we see in the anime when I read this manga, but I was at least looking for something that catches my eye as I read it.
The art in the Your Name manga is forgettable and easily feels like something quickly put together in order to get more merchandise out on the market. The drawings, particularly the inking, lack the skill and effort that make me want to keep reading, and while I’m not looking for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind level stuff here, when I read manga, I usually look for something that’s going to make me want to linger over a page for a while, admiring the beauty and looking for all the little details in the scenes.
Your Name felt a lot like reading the novelization of a film. If you’ve already seen the movie, the manga is a quick read, nothing too exciting. But if you’re a mega-fan of the movie, you might want to pick these two volumes up. Although the comic books follow the film to the teeth, they do contain little extra tidbits and slightly extended scenes that shine some additional light on the characters and their motivations.
Reading these volumes reminded me of reading the novelization of the movie Ever After or Rouge One. I gobbled up these books, trying to elucidate any new information I could about the stories, because I loved these films so much. The Your Name manga does the same thing. It provides a couple extra lines and interactions, as well as slightly different translations of dialog, but if you’re looking for something profoundly different, you won’t find it here.
Still, I will be the first to admit, in a world which is anything but kind right now, this light and fluffy manga had me smiling as I read it at night, in my pajamas, in bed. It feels like a great read for a quiet, Saturday morning, accompanied by a hot cup of tea and your favorite fuzzy slippers. The story is still heartbreaking, but in all the right ways, and makes you want it to break your heart over and over again.
Story: 5 out of 5 stars
Art: 3 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
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