Last year, one of the greatest films in anime history came to us from CoMix Wave Films. It was a story following the ancient Japanese legend of the red string of fate, which tells of how two people are bound together by an invisible red string, binding them together by fate. They are destined to cross paths and be together, whether they are in the same country, different worlds, or even different timelines (to a certain extent).
Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name alludes to this theory with tastefully placed symbolism while creating a beautiful story, three-dimensional characters, and an amazing score. The film was the first to surpass Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away as the highest grossing anime film of all time, worldwide. People from all over the globe have been raving about it ever since.
Perhaps because of this immense popularity, Star Wars director J.J. Abrams decided he would make a live-action adaptation of the anime blockbuster. This news has gotten a wide range of mixed reviews, but many fans of anime are saying basically the same thing: don’t fix what isn’t broken. Why Hollywood film directors continually insist on adapting anime films to the big screen and via live-action storytelling, I will never know. They want to make a buck off of the anime’s popularity I guess, but I have yet to see a successful adaptation of one.
My personal opinion: Leave Your Name the amazing, born-to-be classic film that it is. The reason it was such a hit and received acclaim all around the world was because of all the elements that surrounded the film itself: the art style, the story interwoven with the portrayal of Japanese culture (both traditional and current), and the fantastic music.
It needed to be an anime to properly say what it wanted to say and do what it wanted to do. If a live-action adaptation from Japan were to come about with the same music and story, then maybe it would be good (but it certainly wouldn’t replace the original).
There has been a theme behind why these hit anime films have been greedily sucked up into the clutches of popular Hollywood directors, and that is because many filmmakers outside of Japan don’t seem to value anime as a valid art form capable of fully telling a story the way it needs to be told. Whether or not that’s what J.J. Abrams has been thinking upon his decision to recreate this masterpiece, he is doing it and feeding the myth that anime isn’t as effective or as good as live-action Hollywood blockbusters. The movie was a hit for a reason, and those reasons were not because it had the potential to be a live-action flick. If it were up to me, Your Name would go beside Studio Ghibli films on the shelf reserved for anime masterpieces that should never get live-action film adaptations, especially ones attempting to tailor to mainstream audiences.