It turns out a specific demographic of the audience is the driving force behind the animated hit’s domestic success.
Regular visitors to this site, or Japan-watchers in general, can’t help but have noticed the phenomenal domestic and global success of the animated film Your Name.
While it may be quite difficult to dispel the popular myth that the biggest demographic watching animated school girls is men, quite possibly of the anorak-wearing variety, it turns out the biggest audience watching the body-swapping high school student protagonists Mitsuha and Taki of hit-film Your Name are actually… fellow high school students.
In a survey by the Shibuya-based Fields Research Institute, 11,646 Japanese people aged 6-69 were asked if they had seen the movie and whether they liked it or not.
Despite the near-crippling pressure of exams and homework that every high school student feels, they turned out in their droves at cinemas across Japan to see Makoto Shinkai’s masterpiece. A whopping 36 percent of male and 31 percent of female high school students responded that they had been to see it. The group least likely to have seen it were the over-65s, of whom only four percent had made their way to cinemas.
But what is equally impressive is that a full 11 percent of people of all ages went to see the film. To put that into perspective, that has made Your Name the second-highest grossing domestically produced film in Japan of all-time (second only to Ghibli’s Spirited Away) and fourth-place if you also count international movies Titanic and Frozen in second and third places respectively.
Hype and advertising can get bums in seats, but what did the respondents think of the movie? The chart above shows the answers given, ranging from those who really liked it (shown in dark blue), to those who really disliked it (dark grey). Those who really liked or quite liked it made up a full 75 percent of respondents while only six percent disliked it a bit or really disliked it. In short, thumbs up.
So, if you can trust the recommendation of nearly a third of Japanese high school students for your entertainment choices, it must be well worth watching. I might even get around to it myself…