Alright, so I had the pleasure of going to go see Weathering With You last night, with a couple of my DMV anime peeps, and I’m literally still in awe. And partially tempted to go see it today as well. Weathering With You is airing a fan preview at the AMC theaters here in America, from the 15th-16th. If anyone is interested in seeing it on a big screen. Also random, but AMC theaters are nice as hell oh my gosh? I worked at a Regal two summers ago, but they couldn’t compete with AMC. Like their drink machines are A1, and its self serve stations to order food (which I did not buy because fuck concession prices) But wow. Anyways lets get into this movie. Also there’s spoilers so read at your own risk.
Genre: Drama Fantasy, Romance, Slice of Life
Story: Weathering With You was written and directed by the glorious Makoto Shinkai. It tells the story of a runaway teen boy named Hodaka. Who arrives alone and broke, in a very rainy Tokyo. One day, he meets a girl named Hina, who is a “sunshine girl” or weather maiden in old Japanese legends. Hodaka and Hina become friends fairly quickly, despite both their circumstances and things are great…until things get bad. Hodaka has some bad experiences when he first arrives in Tokyo, and the police began looking for him because of it. Hina herself, is not truthful about some things regarding her age and her ability to control the weather, which causes some issues as well. We learn more about weather maidens, and how Hina ties into the tale.
Things start to get terribly hectic, and somewhere along the way, Hodaka professes his love to Hina. And things go back to how they were, with the two parting ways. Three years later, an older Hodaka meets Hina again, and they embrace. That pretty much sums up the movie without me completely spoiling it for you guys. I am not a fan of drama movies at all, but I knew I would still love this movie, because of how much I loved Your Name. There was also a short interview with Makoto Shinkai at the end.
Tone: Young and innocent love is just blossoming in this film! While the main story followed Hina and Hodaka, we see brief expressions of sibling love, as well as father/daughter love throughout the movie too. And I liked that. I like that Hodaka’s feelings towards Hina weren’t forced upon us or direct. That it was gradual, but also that it wasn’t the only thing that was focused on in the movie. It’s such a delicate balance, but Shinkai was very pragmatic in his approach with showcasing their interactions with each other. They are only kids after all. While there is some brief emphasis on the severity of the downpours in Tokyo, the story does have its light hearted moments, and boy does it just tug at your heart strings!
Art: Disclaimer: I never really care about art work when it comes to anime. But it was quite interesting to hear Shinkai talk, of the process with animating rain, and the scenes in the movie in general. Rain is quite hard to animate apparently. But the way it’s shown bouncing off Hodaka’s face, or falling down a window. To the little rain fish, and whales we even see in the film, is quite alluring. Like wow maybe rain isn’t that bad (I mean despite it pretty much sinking Tokyo.) The attention to detail on the smallest of things, to the sharpness in colors, in specific shots and scenes. The transition from dark and dull rain, to vibrant sunlight shining down. Although the setting is in the city of Tokyo, I still enjoyed the scenery. In terms of realism, the art in this movie was simply phenomenal.
Music: RADWIMPS was brought back, to help out with the soundtrack for the movie. They of course, did not disappoint. Oh man, how they manage to make the right songs, for each scene is beyond me. Shinkai did admit that he sent the script to Yojiro Noda. Upon receiving two songs back from him, he did his best to build his story around them. Loved the music, it was heartfelt at times, especially watching certain scenes like Hodaka, Hina and Nagi in the hotel room. I love a good piano number, and the vocals were great too! I hope Shinkai continues working with RADWIMPS in the future.
Characters: I really admired Hina for doing what she had to do, to support her brother by any means. For a girl so young, she’s quite mature. Even towards the end, when she knew that making others happy came at a cost to herself, she still pushed through. That’s some pretty heavy stuff to put on young teen. Hodaka is quite admirable as well. I’m assuming he came from an abusive household, which led him to run away.
It takes guts to branch out on your own. From personal experience, it’s not only hard, but scary as well. I’m very glad that Shinkai portrayed a realistic experience when it came to Hodaka’s situation. I’ve never been to Japan, but I have heard that as a foreigner, it’s quite hard to live there long term, especially without enough funds. So I can only imagine, what it could have been like, for a teen on the run.
It was also quite interesting to take a look at Japanese social services. If Hina been in America, CPS would have been had her and Nagi in the system, the moment her mother passed. It’s interesting she got that far along at first, without getting caught. Also I want to talk about her decision towards the end, and how Hodaka influenced it. Stop reading now because it is a spoiler. She does choose to sacrifice herself, so that there may be sunlight. Hodaka finds her, and tells her he loves her more than any blue sky, and that he wants her to come back. This really surprised me. Usually in these types of story tropes, the MC understands that their mythical lover must do whats best for the greater good.
Hina offing herself meant Tokyo would no longer be on the verge of sinking under water. Instead Hodaka is like fuck the greater good, you my girl, let’s go. Which I loved! Your Name ended with a cliffhanger which I was so upset about. So I was very happy that it didn’t happen again in Weathering With You. And that Hina didn’t sacrifice herself, and leave us with a very sad Hodaka, possibly never meeting her again. Also another spoiler alert, Mitsuha and Taki do make appearances in the movie, However Shinkai mentions that their cameos were actually before they met each other on the stairs, in the ending scene of Your Name. I just knew my babies were married (wishful thinking), but they hadn’t even met each other in Weathering With You. Crazy.
Watchability: Best $19 bucks I ever spent. Not to mention the two expensive Ubers I had to take, because my dumbass isn’t from Baltimore and didn’t realize how far the AMC was from my apartment. Worth it though! Obvisouly anyone who’s seen Your Name, you will not be disappointed by Weathering With You. It’s heartfelt, and sad, but has it’s comedic relief as well. I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t cry like I did in Your Name, but that’s not to say it isn’t a movie that wouldn’t make someone else cry. The storyline is riveting , and the mumbo jumbo about weather maidens was quite fascinating to learn about too. Shinkai sure knows how to write a good romance story, and I enjoy the fantasy aspects that are thrown in along the way.
Overall Impression: I would give this story a 9/10 only because I really wanted to learn more about Hodaka’s background. It’s not necessarily central to the story, I’m just nosy. Also there was an explanation about the weather maiden’s but I wanted to know more about why Hina was specifically chosen. It was interesting to see the Japanese legends tie into local myths and stories about the sunshine girls and rain boys, which Shinkai did talk about in his interview towards the end.
I wouldn’t call Shinkai the next Miyazaki, because he’s his own person with his own style, but I enjoy his work. Which is a little reminiscent of Miyazaki. Shinkai also mentioned having some animators from Ghibli come on to help with Weathering With You, which you can definitely tell. I would for sure watch this movie again. Even though I am a cynical romantic, I am just a sucker for young love. Even set in the very realistic city of Tokyo, Shinkai still manages to weave this magical place in which two kids find happiness through each other, and through helping others. And it’s absolutely great. What did you guys think about Weathering With You? (If you’ve seen it) If not, literally go see it tonight, while AMC is still airing it! I can’t wait to see what Shinkai gives us next!