This is getting a full UK cinema release which is rare for Japanese animation. We have quite a blinkered view of Japanese animation in the West, which your film doesn't fit into. How have you found international audiences react to it?
I'm actually looking forward to seeing what a British audience thinks of it.I was in Spain at a film festival a couple of weeks ago, and the reaction was really good. People laughed where Japanese people laughed, and cried where they cried. I was relieved more than anything! But I do think some people just wouldn't go to see this film because they think they don't like animation. So I'm quite curious and a little bit worried about how many people will want to see this film.
Your Name is not full of big special effects or anything, and it could conceivably be made in live action — it doesn't need to be a cartoon. What do you get by making a film like this animated that you couldn't do in live action?
I think animation can tell more than live action. For example, we created the characters for this film — they are not actors acting. They are genuinely just characters. Whereas in live action movies actors play characters. So there are other elements, both good and bad, as opposed to the genuine character elements. You look at them as a particular actor playing the character. That make the film deeper maybe, and might appeal to older generations more, but I think animation appeals to younger people because they've got no barrier like that. Also in live action, we cannot control time, we cannot control acting. In live action, we might have 15 seconds of walking, but you can get away with 5 seconds in animation. We can control time, and we can tell more stories in shorter time.
I'd seen people say you might be the new Hayao Miyazaki — how do you respond to something like that?
It's too much! This movie broke box office records. Your Name is the sixth most successful Japanese movie ever, but all the five movies above it are by Miyazaki! He'd done it so many times, and this is just one opportunity for me. I'm nothing compared to him.
Your Name reminds me of the work of the late, great animator Satoshi Kon, who made Paprika and Perfect Blue. In his films there's a lot of jumping between time frames and realities, and that's something that Your Name does a lot. Was he an influence at all?
I love his movies. Whenever I watch his stuff I'm just like, wow. So yes, I'm pretty sure I have been influenced by him, but not directly. He did everything so well, time, space, he was amazing.