JJ Abrams’ “your name.” Destined To Fail

J.J. Abrams your name
(Source: Hollywood Reporter)

A few weeks ago, we reported on the live action your name. rework helmed by JJ Abrams. I think the initial response was tepid. It is your name. after all, and JJ Abrams is famous for his supernatural mysteries. However, if you analyze your name. for long enough, you’ll notice a trend. This remake isn’t going to have a couple minor changes. The entire storyline, plot, and resolution are going to have to change. This American remake has a glaring flaw—it’s not Japan.

JJ Abrams' "your name." Destined To Fail
(Source: FunimationFilms.com)

Now what I mean by “it’s not Japan” has nothing to do with a rural girl and an urban boy changing settings. That’s easily replicable. But your name. is so Japanese that the story is impossible to tell in America. Even the tiny moments in the movie are going to need updates. And honestly, that’s a nightmare scenario.

(Minor Spoilers ahead)

I want you to think of two of the major plot devices in this story and how they come together: the kuchikamizake (aka the spit sake) and the Miyamizu Shrine. First, kuchikamizake has no American counterpart. There is no American tradition that involves fermenting anything with your spit. Secondly, the Miyamizu shrine is the family’s shrine where they make offers to their god. The shrine itself is thought of as “the body of their god.” This isn’t a church or a mausoleum. This too has no American counterpart. But what’s really important is how these two concepts come together, and this is where it gets somewhat complicated.

It’s important to note that this shrine is in the kakuriyo, the underworld. Which is why the kuchikamizake is so important. The kuchikamizaki in the shrine isn’t just an offering, it’s thought of as half of Mitsuha’s soul. In the movie, Mitsuha’s grandmother says: “In exchange for returning to this world, you must leave behind what is most important to you.” So in exchange for leaving the underworld, Mitsuha is leaving behind half of herself. It’s why, along with Musibi (time and people connected by the red string of fate), Taki is able to drink the kuchikamizaki and become Mitsuha again. JJ Abrams' "your name." Destined To Fail

Now tell me, how is that adaptable?

There is no American equivalent to the last two paragraphs. This will not be easy to replicate. So what does that mean for the movie? They’ll have to invent something that doesn’t exist, and quite often, it comes off as forced and contrived (think horror movies). I am interested to see how Abrams adapts this film, but I don’t foresee him succeeding.

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