Your Name: A Study of Imagery and Post-Postmodernity in Cinema

GLOBALCULTURZ ISSN:2582-6808 Vol.I No.3 September-December2020 


Article-ID 2020100019/I  Pages221-228 Language:English Domain of StudyHumanities & Social Sciences  Sub-DomainCinema Studies Title:Your Name: A Study of Imagery and Post-Postmodernity in Cinema

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Ram Prakash Dwivedi (Dr.) 

Associate Professor, DBA College, University of Delhi, Delhi (India

[ Email:][M +91-9868068787 ]                                                         


AbstractCinematic images have emerged as a potential tool capable of creating and shaping the culture of a nation. They are able to design the real and replace the so-called physical-real, effectively.  In post-postmodern era, digitally coded-third order of simulation is dominant over the other forms of communication. Virtually constructed reality (VCR) defines and controls the social relationships, individual behavior and economic dynamics of a country. Japanese anime, a popular term for animation cinema, is quite vast and has a rich history of production, distribution and viewing. These anime represent the complex codes of Japanese culture. In doing so, they have reshaped the present cultural perception. These computer-generated elements, in Japanese anime, have attained an entity of cultural phenomenon in itself. These elements-imagery, music, storyline, movements, dialogues and designs-are carefully choosen and incorporated by the film makers for powerful representation and dissemination of existing socio-cultural ethos. Paramountcy of digi-culture is an important characteristic of post-postmodernism. These are the key issues raised and addressed in this study. A qualitative socio-psychological research methodology has been adopted to elucidate these questions.

KeywordsCinema studies, imagery, Japanese animation, post-postmodernism.

  1. Introduction

YOUR Name (2016) is a popular animation film of director/animator Makoto Shinkai. Makoto has several blockbuster films to his credit. His most acclaimed films are, 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007), Garden of Words (2013) and Voices of a Distant Star (2002). Advanced digital techniques have brought multifold change in creative art, particularly in animation cinema. Animations, unlike India, are more popular among all age groups of Japanese society and despite their super-natural, hyper-real themes carry ‘serious’ messages and depict social issues and individual desires. The master craftsman in the area is, surely, Hayao Miyazaki, an Academy Award winner of 2003 for his film Spirited Away. Makoto Shinkai is regarded as a successor of Miyazaki and has gained respect among film-critiques all over the world, particularly after the release of Your Name. Makoto himself likes Miyazaki’s film, Castle in the Sky (1986), the most. This film is his source of inspiration. 

Symbols and images are powerful tools to represent a culture. Cinema being a visual medium uses these tools very effectively. In animation films, director/creator has an arbitrary control over the images in comparison to non-animation cinema; where image manipulation is limited. Cultural representation through animation films becomes easier but needs a cautious and continuous observation of society, ambience and activities of its individuals. 

Camera is a key tool for film production. Actual visuals, naturally, carry many cultural elements and by analyzing them cultures can be decoded, perfectly, to a large extent. Visuals are created artificially and mechanically. They, too, represent the culture of a nation. This paper hypothesizes that artificially generated images are more competent to represent a culture in cinema. This phenomenon is known as the third order of simulations, highlighting post-postmodernism. Further, there is difference between visuals and imagery. Visuals are common work of any camera whereas imagery is artistic treatment of a visual with some special motive and conveys deeper meaning than what is just seen on the screen.

  1. II.Scope of Study

Post-Postmodernism has a chronological and historical perspective. In cine-studies these perpectives are commonly used to understand socio-cultural change. Your Name (Makoto Shinkai, 2016); is in the center of discussion of this paper. Two other films Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001) and Grave of Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988) are merely chosen as a chronological context. These three films have some commonalities and many differences and thus provide a good sample for study. However, other films have also been taken as a reference to elaborate the research problem and project the conclusion more prominently. Animation by virtue of its production techniques is an event and happening of post-postmodernism. The imagery of Your Name depicts the rich culture and tragic mass psyche of Japanese society. Grave of Fireflies portrays the decaying social values in the time of war. It reflects the social reality, a usual practice of modernism. Spirited Away carries a postmodern mood by mixing the real and surreal worlds. Your Name goes far ahead where body swapping becomes a regular phenomenon and has been accepted by the viewers.  This acceptance by the audience and critics alike proves this film as an example of post-postmodern creation.

  1. III.Filmography of Makoto Shinkai

Makoto Shinkai (b. Feb 9, 1973; Nagano, Japan) felt his fascination for manga and anime while he was in middle school. He studied Japanese literature at Chuo University and as a member of juvenile literature club he used to draw picture books. He was fond of reading literary books, particularly, novels. His literary and pictorial hobbies shaped his initial orientation towards anime. He has three areas of interest viz. Manga, Anime and Literary Writing. Now he has gained fame as anime director-producer. Though he started his carrier in 1997 in anime, his full-length film ‘The Place Promised in Our Early Days’ (2004) established him as an acclaimed director in international community. 

In one of his interviews, he said, “my motivation is different from one movie to another. With Your Name, I’ve changed and society has changed, so my motivation is different with this film. The reason for the change is the earthquake in 2011. That really changed my perception of the world. There’s a line in the film – ‘you never know, Tokyo might go tomorrow’ – and I think everyone in Japan is aware of that. That can happen, and it has happened. You can lose that everyday, normal life [1].” Makoto always tries to do something new. For this, he deeply penetrates in the society and takes out the common experiences. Your Name depicts the mass psyche of destruction existing in Japanese people. This is a film about love amidst the fear of destruction. Love negates the impact of disaster and provides the meaning and aim to life. Philosophical culture is also interwoven in this film.  

There are several scientific researches and predictions that a severe earthquake followed by volcanic eruptions will hit Tokyo one day [2][3][4]. Natural disasters are portrayed in several Japanese movies and seem a usual practice adopted by the filmmakers. Makoto also followed the tradition and connects love and disaster together. Vast landscapes in Your Name create fascination for the nature but natural forces engulf everything. The making of cinema depends upon the viewers’ psyche and good blend of issues related to dream, love, fear etc. Shinkai has done this in this movie like his predecessors, particularly Hayao Miyazaki. Acknowledging his influence Shinkai said, “in the Japanese animation industry there’s a big ideal, and that’s Hayao Miyazaki. He’s someone you look up to and are influenced by. He’s got his own, totally original style. He’s a genius. But… you can’t be Miyazaki, you can only be the second Miyazaki, and that isn’t something to aim for [5].” 


Filmography of Makoto Shinkai



Role & Year of Release


Weathering with You (Tenki no Ko)

Director/Writer/Editor, 2019


Your name. (Kimi no na wa.)

Director/Writer/Color design, 2016


The Garden of Words  (Kotonoha no Niwa)

Director/Writer/Photography/Color design/Editing, 2013


Someone's Gaze (Dareka no Manazashi )

Director, 2013 (short film)


Children Who Chase Lost Voices (Hoshi o Ou Kodomo)

Director/Writer/Producer, 2011


A Gathering of Cats (Neko no Shūkai)

Director/Storyboards/Background art/ Color design/Photography, 2007 (TV short film featured on Ani*Kuri15)


5 Centimeters Per Second (Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru)

Director/Writer/Producer/Storyboard/Art Director/Color design, 2007


The Place Promised in Our Early Days (Kumo no Mukō, Yakusoku no Basho)

Director/Writer/Producer/Storyboards/ Background art/Design/Modeler/Theme Song Lyrics, 2004


Egao (Minna no Uta "Egao")

Director, 2003 (Music Video for Hiromi Iwasaki)


Voices of a Distant Star (Hoshi no Koe)

Director/Writer/Producer/voice of Noboru Terao (original voice), 2002


She and Her Cat  (Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko)

Director/Writer/Animator/voice of Her Cat, 1999 (short film)


Other Worlds (Tooi Sekai)

Director/Animator, 1997 (short film)

Miyazaki in his films depicts vast landscapes of nature and fills them with ghostly ambience. Shinkai has replaced this ambience with the disastrous state of mind, clearly an impact derived from the severe earthquake that hit Japan 2011.

  1. Cinema and Visual Language

Computers script the language of animation films. It is altogether different from that of other genres like feature films or documentaries. In feature films, human actions, gestures, body language and dialogues create the primary impact on the viewers. In documentaries, it is voice-over and the script, which do this job. Animation is solely dependent on technique, though human-voice is equally important. It can be easily inferred that animations, in order to create effective message, highly rely on digital technology or the usage of computers. Production of animations is older than the invention of Cinematograph (1895). There is mention of several instruments, which contributed in animation of images. The noteworthy cine tools of them are; Magic Lantern, Thraumscope, Flipbook etc. Most of them were physically designed equipment and have their own limitations. Norman McClaren suggests that ‘animation is not the art of drawings that move, but rather the art of movements that are drawn noting ‘what happens between each frame is more important than what happens on each frame [6].’ Zagreb School animators went further to philosophize this definition and suggested that, ‘to animate is to give life and soul to a design [7].’ With the arrival of digital technology, animation directors and producers gained a lot of liberty and freedom to create ‘dreamy’ imagery. The sound design and music, portrayal of characters and incorporation of supernatural events became quite comfortable. Your Name is also such a film, which moves around a dream which is not possible in real, physical world. The dream is about ‘Body-Swapping’ and ‘Location-Swapping’, i.e.breaking the barriers of gender and geographical boundaries. This would have not been possible without the help of digital technology. 

Czech surrealist animator Jan Swankmajer said, “animation enables me to give magical powers to things. In my films, I move many objects, real objects. Suddenly everyday contacts which people are used to acquire a new dimension and in this way casts doubt over reality. In other words I use animation as a means of subversion [8].” Makoto Shinkai’s film Your Name is a representation of subversion, deeply rooted in Japanese mass psyche. 

Images in films are incorporated through real locations, activities and happenings. They can be created artistically in a studio and give us a feel of reality. In studios, as it is quite known fact, oceans, rivers, palaces, deserts, mountains or any such formations can be created and shootings can be done accordingly. To make these scenes realistic, role of a movie editor is important and obviously the editor is wholly responsible for providing the feeling of genuinity of the studio shot scenes. Studios are capable of ‘fantasy’, non-realistic scenes as well and these types of images, though illogical, many a time has given meaning to cinema. Broadly, in mainstream cinema realistic and fantastic images have palyed meaningful roles. In animation it is a computer which creates and edits every move, event and activity of the film. The realistic and fantasy images, both, are to be created by the animator. For realistic images, deep observation of the real world by the animator becomes decisive. Whereas, conceptive power of the animator makes sense in creating a non-realistic, chaotic and fantastic images. It is all easy to do by sitting by the computer and working with the softwares. Alan Kirby, who coined the term ‘Digimodernism’ for the Post-postmodern period, justifies this simplicity not only in the field of cinema but in all walks of human life. Animations, by this way and due to their digital freedom, are truly a Post-postmodern genre of cinema..

  1. VI.CGI Animation: A Post-postmodern Genre

Experiments to control Persistence of Vision (PoV), by computers, began in 1973 and reached to a milestone in 1995 with the production of Toy Story, a full-length CGI animation film [9]. These experiments pressed upon the animators across the globe to rethink about their production techniques. Japanese animators tried to achieve the good balance between digital and analog methodologies which still continue. This practice of Japanese animators gave wonderful results in terms of imagery-composition, narration and voice-casting. Hayao Miyazaki and Makoto Shinkai are now considered master craftmen. The technique of animation dates back to pre-cinematogrphy in the form of shadow play [10], therefore only CGI based animations are post-postmodernist in nature and reflect a true sense of the same.

Walt Disney is pioneer in animation film making. Warner Brothers and others posed a big competition to Disney. Gradually Disney shifted to other areas of entertainment like building theme parks and manufacturing Disney products. These products, over a period of time, received an emotional attachment and part of daily life, particularly among kids and adolescents. Images on the screen and physical products in common homes creates a post-postmodern situation, where images behave like humans as source of inspiration, motivation and characters start playing the role of family members. This association with imaginative characters becomes very deep and gives a feel real life. Many kids begin to sleep along with these products and feel relaxed. If you detach them, they start crying. This is a very common phenomenon observed across the world. Post-postmodernity has diminished the boundary lines between real objects and images and also between real human relationships and hyper real relations.       

In Japan, animation is a popular genre because it has a rich background and artistic tradition. Reading of manga (cartoon book) is a common habit among all age groups. In trains, parks, cafeteria and any such place one can see people reading manga. The variety of manga is vast and varies in content from children, romantic, social issues to erotic. There are many animation movies based on these manga books. It is a common practice, among anime (a Japanese term for animation) makers to produce a film on a popular manga theme.

In this paper three films-The Grave of Fireflies, Spirited Away and Your Name have been taken into consideration to understand the nature of Post-postmodernity reflected through the animation movies in context of Japanese culture. The Grave of Fireflies was setup in the backdrop of WWII. The breaking of family values, loneliness and helplessness of the protagonist, miseries brought by the war, destruction of modern ethos are primarily portrayed in the movie. There are sufficient details of postmodern indicators. The Grave of Fireflies can be studied and analyzed on the basis of several theories propounded by the postmodern thinkers. There is no hope or positivity. Failure of democratic institutions and weakening human relationships bring despair and lassitude in individuals’ life. As Brian Duignan, reference 6, suggests,  that ‘humans are changing themselves and their societies for the better by using the tools provided by the science and technology [11].’ He argued that ‘Postmodernists deny this reason and do not believe in that future societies will be more kind, more democratic, more caring and more economically prosperous, Rather, Postmodernists blame that all scientific and technological advancements have brought huge destruction like World War II. Even reason and logic are not acceptable to them. Postmodernists find science, technology, reason and logic, inherently,  oppressive, destructive and a tool of exploitation used by evil forces especially during 20th century, This has brought misery and pain to others[9].’ Destruction by the A-bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki resonates in viewers’ mind while watching The Grave of Fireflies. This film can be analyzed as a postmodern anime where the situations, ideas and ethos described above are very explicit. As propounded earlier, animation is a post-postmodern phenomenon, but an anime movie also carries a narration and a story that might not be so advanced. The Grave of Fireflies, though technically knitted in the genre of animation yet it didn’t move forward with Post-postmodern socio-political and economic complexities. Therefore, this film cannot be categorized as a Post-postmodern movie.

In case of Post-postmodernity, the relation of reality and hyper reality also matters. Almost all modern movies were interwoven around real world experiences. The Grave of Fireflies in that sense depicts the man made disaster and its impacts on our social life and family relations. The theme and craft of the movie was not able to go beyond the physical and clumsy reality, which is an essential condition for a post-postmodern genre. As Jean Baudrillard suggests, in his treatise, Simulacra and Simulations,  “An effective simulation will not merely deceive one into believing in a false entity, but in fact signifies the destruction of an original reality that it has replaced.” He writes: "To simulate is not simply to feign...feigning or dissimulation leaves the reality intact...whereas simulation threatens the difference between 'true' and 'false,' between 'real' and 'imaginary [12].’ The Grave of Fireflies hardly raises this relation between reality and imagery. However, Hayao Miyazaki’s film Spirited Away is more advanced in simulacra where super-naturality comes at the center of the craft.

  Spirited Away moves beyond the reality and incorporates several hyper real scenes. The beyond-real situations put into the movie makes it a post-modern genre. In this film, while Chihiro, the heroine of the movie and her family are changing their residence, they are trapped in a magical world. The series of events are happening there and storyline develops. The reality and truth are hidden and finally Chihiro was able to free her parents, who became pigs, from this mystic and mysterious place. Magic realism is a part of this film, which has been discussed by many postmodernist thinkers. Film critic Peter Bradshaw observed, ‘Spirited Away is the result of organic, non-GM animation: everything is hand-drawn before being digitalized. Yet it has a dazzling quality that I have come to associate solely with the new generation of animators and FX stylists, a fleetness and lightness in the way it switches from the close-up on a deft little sight gag or a sweet character observation, sweeping out for a breathtaking panorama of an extraterrestrial landscape imagined with passionate detail and specificity. I can't think of a film that is so readily able to astonish and wears that ability so lightly and insouciantly[13].’ The technique of production is a good mix of paperwork and digital media. Spirited Away treats reality and hyper reality in a parallel fashion.

In modern cinema one can easily distinguish between reality and screen-reality. In Post-modern films were able to push back the reality or truth behind and reel-truth became dominant. Viewers started believing the screen truth more than the physical or mundane truth. There was a great paradigm shift towards truth; it does not exist but it is always a creation. In modern movies, truth existed in the physical world and the same was mere portrayed in the films. Post-modern films reel truth became more trusted and there was hardly any difference between the physical truth and the reel truth. In post-postmodern age, screen truth completely wiped out the physical and mundane reality. This phenomenon is also termed as ‘Post-truth era’ in which, created reality is more dominant over the physical or so-called ‘actual truth’. In Your Name the audience have trusted the created truth or reality more than anything else.

  1. VII.The Imagery In Your Name: A Post-postmodern View

Various sources of imagery are used in art forms like painting, photograph, literature and cinema. Many a time imagery can be purely imaginative but in cinema imagery based on real, physical world are more commonly used to provide authenticity to the spectacle. Animators in Japan are fond of using real locales. Itomori town of Gifu prefecture is countryside in Japan. Mitsuha Miyamizu, a young girl, daughter of the local mayor lives there unsatisfactorily. She has a dream to reside in a big city like Tokyo and also to enjoy life of a young boy, like Taki. There are swaps of body, time and space. Mitsuha swaps body with Taki, the past becomes present and the story moves between Itomori and Tokyo. Noted film critics have praised its artwork and imagery. Reference [14] shows that, ‘the artwork, the design and the color combinations are stunning. Shinkai enjoys the latest advancements of CGI technology and rotoscoping. He combines the traditional hand-drawn method with this new one. Anime models are popular among pop-geeks in Japan. They are common affair in Tokyo. Akihabara, the world-famous market for cultural products, with sizable turnover, presents a range of various items for sale. The socio-cultural landscape of Japan is full of such realities. Shinkai pays a ‘rigorous attention to detail’ in fine tuning the appearance, ‘particularly the eyes’, of their characters (also notice the fan blades turning in one scene). Natural and swift character movements, ‘based on actual photographs’, are also maintained throughout the film [14].’ The major types of imagery are considered seven in number. A sense, action, feeling or reaction has been associated with each other. These are-(i) Auditory pertains to sounds, noises, music, or the sense of hearing; (ii) Visual relates to graphics, visual scenes, pictures, or the sense of sight; (iii) Olfactory relates to odor, scents, or the sense of smell; (iv) Gustatory relates to flavors or the sense of taste; (v) Tactile pertains to physical texture or the sense of touch; (vi) Kinesthetic imagery pertains to movements; and (vii) Organic imagery. Organic imagery is also known as subjective imagery. Experiences of a character's body, like emotions of affection, fear, joy, disgust, trust, anticipation, anger and senses of pleasure, pain, thirst and hunger, at personal level, belong to subjective imagery. Some other categories may be-nature imagery, sound imagery, textual imagery, music imagery, imagery of urban landscapes. 

Alan Kirby coined a new term for Post-postmodernism as digimodernism or pseudomodernism. Cultural processes are now controlled by digital technologies. The landscape of culture has completely changed and new products are circulated and distributed in consumer market. Kirby has rightly asserted, ‘the intense similarity between cinema and the computer games. He terms it a phenomenon of pseudo-modern age. Earlier cine-images were taken from the ‘real’ world – composed, processed, lit, arranged, sound tracked, voice over-read and edited together by ingenious directors to direct the viewer’s insights or emotions – are now essentially created through a computer [15].’ Definitely Your Name has two such effects, which cannot be portrayed without the help of digital technologies. These are body swapping and location swapping. In fact, the overall production of the movie is highly dependent on computer and software based techniques. Reference [16] indicates that present day anime is deeply influenced by global culture but scholars agree that ‘it remains an original product of the concatenation of circumstances that have created the culture of modern Japan [16].’ In Western point of view, ‘Japan stands alone as a country that can accurately be described as modern-or indeed postmodern despite the other nations in the region made many successes [16].’ The representational studies show that images are deeply interwoven in a film to convey the messages. An example of Yakuza movies can be taken wherein ruins of Hiroshima are depicted in backdrop. Though Yakuza or mafia is different genre than Hibakusa, it clearly reflects that Yakuzas are fallout of WWII. In Your Name natural catastrophe is not just a depiction of disasters, it also portrays the idea of apocalypse, densely rooted in Japanese society.  Reality comes as an impression in movies. It tries to express a total experience. To outline the reality, cine-teams work very hard as the complex-realities are not observable easily. Many a time it goes in the sub-conscious or remains in our racial memory. Film linguist Christian Metz rightly quoted, ‘One of the most important of the many problems in film theory is that of the impression of reality experienced by the spectator. Films give us the feeling that we are witnessing an almost real spectacle—to a much greater extent, as Albert Laffay has noted, than does a novel, a play, or a figurative painting [17].’ All this is done through an artistic compilation of live-images, which include visuals, sounds and human voices. The challenge is bigger for animation films to create an impression authentically. In documentaries, this act is the easiest one and in anime it is just reverse. Synchronization of the animated images with the impression of reality comes only after a sharp, deep and close observation by the director. Makoto Shinkai is an expert in this area. He creates the images with such perfection that they seem truthful.    

Your Name carries four basic visual imageries of Japan. The first prominent imagery is of countryside, which is serene, clear, traditionally rich, slow paced and full of nature dominated landscapes. Second, is that of magapolis- skyscrapers, densely populated, buzzing, fast moving trains, buses and cars, noisy, big shopping complexes etc. The third imagery is of disaster reflecting the subconscious psyche of the Japanese society. In anime, human characters are also digitally groomed. Mitsuha and Taki have attained a symbolic value of high school goers, their emotions, dreams, fears, hesitations and dilemma. Makoto has focused on these four imageries and incorporated various others to set the plot of the film.   

      Countryside Japan is low populated and many villages are having only akiyas, the abandoned houses. Though it is scenic and pollution free but many young people migrate to bigger cities in search of better life style and employment. There is less international exposure in the country areas, and this is what the youth in the countryside aspires the most. Mitsuha, the countryside girl, dreams to live in a megacity like Tokyo. By body swapping and location switching, the director gets a liberty to expose the imagery of the village, Itomori and Tokyo. Imageries of Mitsuha’s reality and dream run parallel in the film.  A number of locations projected in Your Name have been identified by the researchers [18], particularly of Tokyo. A few of them very obviously depict post-postmodern architectural styles. Tom Turner [19] has categorically differentiated the post-postmodern urban landscape with that of modern and postmodern one. In Your Name, Salon de the Rond and Tokyo City View; these two sites truly represent Post-posmodernist architecture. The glass walls, interiors, tables, crockries, shape of chairs and overall ambience of cafe, Salon de the Rond in Roppongi Hills reflects a completely new style of dinning. Tokyo City View is an observatory and the structures like this building have been never seen earlier in human civilization. The view of the city from the observatory is mesmerizing Taller buildings look dwarf. Roads, transports and pedestrians seem like creeping creatures. A 360 degree visibility of surroundings enhance our feelings. Shinakai has carefully chosen these two locations of Roppongi. The city landscape of Roppongi Hills and its urban planning denotes Pos-postmodern era. Sitting almost in the sky and sipping a cup of coffee is post-posmodernist phenomenon. This imagery is used in a very creative and kawaii (cute) fashion in Your Name. Interweaving the imageries of countryside (Itomori) and megapolis (Tokyo), parallelly, Shinkai has provided a powerful clue to understand Post-postmodernism. 

Change in social psyche is a continuous process. Some psycho-scientists have propounded the theory of racial memory or collective unconscious [20]. Carl Jung is one of the pioneers in the area. Disasters and idea of apocalypse is quite prevalent in Japanese society. Eric Gans, suggested, ‘that we are leaving the victimary postmodern era and entering a “post-millennial” era of non-victimary dialogue. What seems more likely is that we are leaving the acute form of the victimary for the chronic, the heroic for the banal [21].’ His assertions suggest that, in ‘post-millennial’ society the memories of Hiroshima are diminishing. He opines that an era of non-victimary dialogue is coming up. Judging the ideas of Carl Jung and Eric Gans, which contradict to each other, it can be elucidated that victimary feelings may remain in unconcious minds. Creative forms of expression using them and begin to revive and start flowing strongly among the audiences, during the process of catharsis. Shinkai, has used the imagery of the comet hitting the Itomory town and the vast  destruction caused by it, as a  catharsis process, which finally relieves the audiences from that victimary thinking, hidden in human psyche. This is another aspect of Post-postmodernity.

The imagery of body switching, between Mitsuha and Taki, dominates the whole narrative of Your Name. Jung stated, ‘Another archetype is the anima/animus. The “anima/animus” is the mirror image of our biological sex, that is, the unconscious feminine side in males and the masculine tendencies in women. Each sex manifests attitudes and behavior of the other by virtue of centuries of living together. The psyche of a woman contains masculine aspects (the animus archetype), and the psyche of a man contains feminine aspects (the anima archetype) [22].’ This archetype is physically represented in the film. There are several examples of efforts at sex changing in the real world. Shinaki blends dream and reality in most of his films including his recent release, Tenki no Ko [23]. Post-postmodernity is highly controlled and governed by technology. Efforts to change the sex or creating-manufacturing human-like robots, filled with feelings using artificial intelligence is a new phenomenon possible in Post-postmodern age. Your Name projects such possibilities through images.

Human characteristics are portrayed in cinema through acting and animations. Japan is one of the fastest aging society. Younger people are moving towards cities and countrysides are almost inhabited by the older generation. Mitsuha carries that dream to migrate to a big city like Tokyo. Taki is already in Tokyo. Both are quite young and have very common feelings of adolescence. Both are traveling or existing in different timelines. There is a a very tricky imagery of Red Ribbon in Your Name. ‘The Red Thread of Fate, also referred to as the Red Thread of Marriage, and other variants, is an East Asian belief originating from Chinese legend. According to this myth, the gods tie an invisible red cord around the Finger of those that are destined to meet one another in a certain situation as they are "their true love[24].” The red string comes in the movie to depict its climax. “The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break. This myth is similar to the Western concept of soulmate or a destined partner [25].’ The role of Cosplay in costuming images of this film can be read as symbols of Post-postmodernity. The term ‘cosplay’, a mix of ‘costume’ and ‘playing’, was coined by Nobuyuki Takahashi in the year 1984 and gradually became popular across Japan and a few other Western countries [26]. Costumes completely hide body-realities and many a time gender too. Post-posmdernity always tries to mask the reality. In character sketching Shinkai has used this element of Post-postmodernism. Cosplay has penetrated deep in Japanese culture and became highly popular in young generation in the last two decades. Animators have incorporated this phenomenon in their film making. It can be observed in daily activities of Japanese youth, particulary in the areas of Harazuku, Akihabara, Roppongi and Shinzuku, etc. This real life reflection is very much part of Shinkai’s cinema. 

Your Name, the highest grossing anime film of the world [Fig.1][27] is a movie of destiny with disaster. Mitsuha and Taki, seem to exchange their notes, swap their bodies, solve each other’s problems but when the switching stops, suddenly, it is revealed Mitsuha died three years ago. They were destined to be partners, very close in their feelings but very far in their fate. References [28] and [29] shows that there is gradual adoption of technology, in Japan, from Kurosawa to Miyazaki in film-making; despite easy availability of the same. Shinkai follows this tradition and Your Name came out as a masterpiece. Cinematic representation of a country and its culture in context of imagery is well established and common area of study as reference [30] underlines, post-postmodernity is just new.

  1. IX. Conclusion

Genres of film emerges due to change of sensibility and innovations in techniques of film production and projection. Inventions of cinematograph, editing tools, studio constructions and later CGI animations have played a significant role in shaping new genres of cinema. Toy Story (1995, Pr. Pixar Animation Studio; Rel. Walt Disney Pictures) was the first feature-length film created by CGI technique and gradually 3D animations became commonplace. Though CGI techniques began to use in animations in seventh decade of the last century. Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa were classical and landmark film makers of their times but dominance of digital productions paved the path of new genres like Japanese anime. CGI and post-postmodernity are closely related and need separate analysis. CGI based animation can be called a Post-postmodern genre. The production of anime is not directly the depiction of human actions. Though depending upon themes and socio-cultural background of a film, cinematic images can be categorized as modern, post-modern or post-postmodern. The Grave of Fireflies, Spirited Away and most of the animation cinema prior to nineties are not truly Post-postmodernist in nature as they are confined to mundane world and portray physical realities only. Magical tactics, as depicted in Spirited Away, were present as early as pre-medieval period. Your Name on the other hand with usage of body and gender transformation reflects a postmodern technological advances. The dream of a girl to  live like a boy and in the city of Tokyo instead of countryside, is quite a new theme and no other director thought about such things before. There are various active timelines running parallel.  Makoto Shinkai not only thought about it, but also successfully interwove the idea on the screen. Frame by frame, the viewers are told about the events which they take with surprise and astonishment. Social and physical realities, like natural disasters, are not completely missing, but they are vividly present in the backdrop of the film. The idea of apocalypse is quite prevalent in Japanese movies. In either Hibakusha or Yakuza movies, many a time it is used as imagery. The dominance of imagery, in Your Name, undoubtedly makes it a cinema of digital images, which is an exclusive feature of Post-postmodernism.  


The author is thankful to Prof. R.B. Solanki, Vice Chancellor, CRS University, Haryana (India) for giving the opportunities to interact with Mass Communication scholars and students which inspired to write this paper. This work would have not been possible without the guidance of  Prof. Tomio Mizokami, Emeritus, Osaka University (Japan). My wife, Promila was the co-watcher of the movies and her discussions gave me the view-point to understand the movies. Dr. G.K.Arora, Principal, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar College, University of Delhi (India) also deserves sincere thanks for his kind cooperation and support. Ms Seema Sharma and Yuka Sato prepared the final copy of this research. Finally, Prof. Maria Sebastian Sebastian of Univeristy of the Balearic Islands (Spain) provided her constructive inputs to imrove the genre clarity. I am grateful to all of them.


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