Movies and I never really clicked. Granted most live-action shows didn’t appeal to me either. But for the most part, anime has been the only medium I have continuously watched. This industry has been rocked by a sudden cinema wave that has spurred highly praised films such as. Your Name, A Whisker Away, I Want to Eat Your Pancreases, A Silent Voice, and the one I just watched. Weathering With You.
So anyone who has been keeping tabs in this world knows of the name Makoto Shinkai. Director of several acclaimed films such as, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, 5 Centimeters per Second, and the one that swept through the world like fire, Your Name. Coming out in 2019 he added Weathering With You to that lineup. A romantic fantasy taking place in a world where the rain never stops, weather becomes unpredictably chaotic.
The story follows Hodaka Morishima, a freshman who ran from home and moved to Tokyo. Woefully unprepared he finds himself getting Ls after every corner. Always being stuck out in rain and without a decent meal he ends up with Keisuke Suga, an interesting older man that helped Hodaka on the boat trip to Tokyo.
As it turns out Keisuke runs a publication with his niece Natsumi and their whole bit is finding the weird stories. Alright they pretty much run a satire paper but it is dressed up as if it isn’t. Using the chance Hodaka decides to help them out where he can, mostly doing daily chores and helping Natsumi with interviews.
One lead they end up following on is the story of the Sunshine Girl, a mystical maiden who can control the weather. Going through sources they learn more about who they are and what their purpose is in life. Hodaka heading home one day notices a girl getting harassed by some guys who run a club. Noticing her as the girl who gave him a burger back when he had nothing he intervein grabbing her hand and sprinting, this sadly ends in the two of them getting caught and one of the club owners throwing a few hands in Hodaka way.
This was a real cringe/ anxiety-filled moment as Hodaka pulls out a gun he had found early telling the man to get off of him. Thinking it’s a toy he disregards but is almost shot as Hodaka unable to hold his bearings squeezes the trigger. It is at this moment Hina swoops in grabbing him as they both runoff. Naturally, some things are going through my head at the moment, this runaway child just brandishes a gun on an adult and pulled the trigger, in Japan, this is a BIG DEAL.
Running towards a nearby building Hina scolds him for not only having but threatening to use the weapon, frustrated and scared he throws it across the room (never fucking do this Jesus) For some reason Hina comes back and isn’t mad anymore? I don’t know they do just gloss over the fact he pulled a gun on someone. Once again in her good grace, he finds out she is almost 18 and a bonafide Sunshine Girl as she shows him the temple where she obtained the power.
This starts an adorable ride as they decide to start making money using her power, they start to hang out and Hodaka meets Nagi, Hina’s younger brother, and players extraordinaire. Like no shit this was the most bro character ever, having both of their backs and helping Hodaka navigate to Hina’s heart.
But as these things go, ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone. Actually, wait there is, that was a poor choice of reference.
Hina’s body starts to change as they learn the final stage of a Sun Shine girl is to be sacrificed once again balancing the weather to where it is supposed to be. On the run from the cops and running out of options they find themselves in a nice hotel in which the three hang out and chill until at the very end, Hodaka gives Hina a ring for her birthday.
What follows is a heartfelt confession from Hina about her power and what it means at the very end, brought to the point of tears Hodaka doesn’t know how to take the information that the girl he loves might disappear. But as he finally drifted off, he woke to the pounding at the door and Hina’s robe, her nowhere to be found.
Kicking in the door police rush the room arresting the two boys inside. Being escorted downstairs the summer heat and lack of rain it is painfully obvious to Hodaka what had occurred. Hina was gone so the weather calmed. Unable to take this ending he becomes erratic, breaking many more laws and getting all the people that had helped him up to this point abetting him. It’s this bat shit insane love drunk chaos that this medium is great at conveying. None of this shit makes sense, honestly, in the real world if you went to his extremes for someone I’m not so sure that is healthy, and being able to be so clear in your emotions one thinks this is the right answer is utterly insane.
But as I sat there watching it I was cheering him on, having my jaw clenched as the world of beauty and wonder played out around him. This comes to a screeching halt, in the now heavily damaged building that the shrine topped he is confronted by his friend and savior Keisuke. Trying to speak reason he offers to take Hodaka back to the police, trying to get him to see what he is doing what not only reckless but could hurt him for years to come. Not having it and finding the gun he threw away days early he pulls it on him, demanding that no one will stop him from bringing Hina back. Of course, the cops storm in at this point and our boy is now desperate and radicle in the worst situation he could be in. Staying true to form he attempts to make a dash only getting bodied and halfway cuffed. Screaming about how he has to save Hina, Keisuke thinks about the wife he lost, and in a last-ditch effort knocks the officer off of him giving him the window he needed.
Dashing towards the roof he passes the holy arc being sent into the sky, in some of the most fantastically shot cinemaphotography we watch as he hunts for Hina through the cloud, finding her they hold on tight as he does everything in his power to bring her back to earth leaving them both under the shrines arc.
Having Hina back Hodaka takes full responsibility, standing trial, and being forced back to an island where his parents live. Three years pass the weather out of control sinks major parts of Japan, sending it once again to the ocean. Having graduated and serviced his time (some fucking how, this might just be the American in me, you don’t even have to have a gun within 50 feet to get dropped) He returns to the city that he had such an adventure at.
Unsure how to go about it he stops by Keisuke, who pretty much tells him the world is always been jacked up my dude, you love her? Fuck the rest of us. Taking that he goes to her and they reunite, fated lovers in a world where their choices affect everyone around them. Lovers whose love is quite literally measured by the events that happen around them, but at that moment, they are happy.
Weathering With You is a good ass film, period. It isn’t a masterpiece or anything of the sorts but It blew me away from scene one to close. The visual is top tier, Makoto Shinkai once again defines what this medium is capable of in an event that can rival anything Hollywood has come out with. The story is interesting enough, as someone who suffers from seasonal depression fuck both of them but that’s fine. What turned me off from this film was actually the sound.
Sound is a weird thing in any series and or movie. It can define, like the works of Zimmerman, it can be forgotten, as is many, but rarely does it stand out as a negative. I will never sit here and say it was bad, at this level we are talking about master storytellers, this isn’t some half baked rookies. What I will say however is it was weird to me. Time and time again there were plugs of songs that I felt didn’t fit the setting. One time this weird heavy electric sound with a folk style vocal over. It just didn’t feel right for the moment.
This by no means sinks or float this film, nor should my 6-10 discourage people from seeing it. It is a wonderful film, truly, it should be placed as one of the best to come from Makoto Shinkai. But sadly, in it’s a me not you moment. I hate movies, every second I am looking for something that a medium will do in 6 hours, in 2. I feel I am harsh on anime but movies are a whole other animal. The whole time I am thinking this guy doesn’t know Hina, he doesn’t even know she is 15 until she is gone. I get why it happens that way, it has to, and it doesn’t make me hate it but I am yet to the point I can appreciate it fully. I plan on attuning myself more with this, for the sake of my reviews.
Side note I will be watching his hit Your Name soon, and my thoughts will follow.
I am glad to be back.