From: Silver Screen

Scenes that Stick: Exploring the complexities of love and memory in ‘Your Name’

Scenes that Stick: Exploring the complexities of love and memory in ‘Your Name’
Graphic by Carly Johnson

Throughout all of human history, there’s been nothing more universally agreed upon than the experience of love, longing and memory being innate to the human experience.

Often these experiences are complex and difficult to navigate, bringing us to a head with difficult questions. Namely, what do you do with the feeling of love when memory is gone? The Japanese animated film “Your Name” (“君の名は”) seeks to answer this question.

Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi) and Taki (Ryūnosuke Kamiki) share a unique connection with the ability to switch bodies with each other. The two live different lives — Mitsuha is a girl living in a small rural town, while Taki is a boy living in Tokyo. Taki is launched into Mitsuha’s life after they suddenly switch bodies one night. They keep in touch by writing detailed journal entries about what they did each day in each other’s bodies, though they never meet. What they don’t know but soon discover is that they’re living in two different time frames, three years apart.

Toward the end of the film, Taki and Mitsuha end up atop a mountain at a shrine, while in their different time frames. Because of the contrasting time frames, Taki and Mitsuha cannot see each other, but they can sense each other’s presence. Twilight settles, allowing for Taki and Mitsuha to see each other for just a moment. After twilight ends, they both disappear from sight, almost instantly forgetting the other person but still remembering that there’s someone out there who is precious to them.

This scene struck me as the most memorable in the film. Their brief encounter shows that humans don’t need a face or a name to care for someone; it’s the ability to extend love to the idea of a person or people that counts.

Mitsuha and Taki never knew each other before switching bodies, but just the experience of living one another’s lives and walking in the other’s shoes was enough to build an intimate connection. This truly came to fruition in the scene above, where just the love felt for someone was enough to sense their presence within the space.

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The moon plays a key role in this scene, showing both Mitsuha and Taki looking toward it as night falls. Both characters stare at the moon when they lose the memory of the other person, forgetting everything that happened. It glows as a beacon of remembrance of the love that they shared for each other. It’s a visual reminder that you’re not alone, that there’s someone else always looking up. Loss, as Mitsuha and Taki show us in this scene, doesn’t always have to be bittersweet; rather it can be a comfort by just knowing that there’s someone out there who you once loved.

This film was made five years ago, but the story contains a message that never ages. In life, there are always going to be people that you meet and love, and there are always going to be people that don’t stay with you forever. But regardless of one’s absence, the love for someone can transcend beyond memory and time.

Finding the perfect answer to the question posed above — what do you do with the feeling of love when memory is gone? — may be impossible. But “Your Name” and its characters, Mitsuha and Taki, give us a beautiful example to hold onto as we go about our lives, reassuring us that just because someone is gone doesn’t mean that the love is gone too.

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