China's youth needs an escape from the country's grim realities. With increasing unemployment rates and inflation brought about by an anticipated economic growth slowdown, the youth -- often thinking about the future -- stopped time with Japanese anime. Makoto Shinkai's successful "Your Name" had "struck a chord" with Chinese youth, which explains its runaway box office success in the country.
According to the Japan Times, "Your Name" -- "Kimi No Nawa" in Japan's own language -- has earned about $76.16 million in equivalent in Chinese Yuan. In China's cinema tickets reservation website Maoyan.com, the animated movie holds a 9.3 over 10 rating. The anime itself is lauded for great box office sales worldwide and the LAFCA has awarded it the "Best Animated Film" of 2016 against rivals from Disney and other animation studios.
According to BBC Contributor for Asia Ashleigh Nghiem, it appeals to the Chinese looking for escapism and "missed connections involving young star-crossed lovers." Nghiem collected responses from fans of the animated feature where one said "the film was beautiful beyond words and every shot was like a painting" while another said the film has made him or her "miss the springtime of [his or her] youth."
China film industry analyst Jonathan Papish, interviewed by Nghiemn about the appeal of "Your Name" to the youth, said the film targeted "the so-called 'post-90s' generation that has driven the box office boom." Papish said that the anime, comic, game and novel youth subculture existing and growing in China has contributed immensely to the Japanese anime feature's success.
The proper "timing" may also be attributed to the youth facing immense depressing futures ahead. While China is said to head for a "historical development stage of transition," the worries of the young Chinese student or professional roots from the global economic uncertainty faced by their counterparts in other countries. The movie "Your Name" may have told the youth's story to themselves -- escaping into a past that was once beautiful and relatable for its loss.