“Make me a handsome Tokyo boy in my next life!” In this metaphysical love story with a time-traveling twist, Mitsuha’s wish to escape her traditional village existence is granted, but in her current life. Not only does she wake up one morning as Taki—a handsome city-dwelling Tokyo teenager—they continue to switch bodies back and forth through time and space, growing closer and affecting one another’s destinies through this unusual arrangement. Surpassing even the success of Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning Spirited Away (2001) at the box office, this cinematic sensation generated inevitable comparisons to that director’s work. While they may be similar in their beautiful, hand-drawn technique, Shinkai’s recent stories take place primarily in the real world—not a fantastical one. As critic David Sims notes, “even cellphone conversations look great” in Shinkai’s miraculous, cosmic depiction of the minutiae of teenage reality, or in this case, realities.
Age recommendation: 12+