Weathering With You is a dainty showpiece of the anime industry that covers the untrodden terrain of a crossover between romance and environmental change.
The film is expected to be well-loved, making it Japan’s official submission for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars.
Quite literally all about rain, Weathering With You follows the beautiful bond between a naïve runaway named Hodaka, a “sunshine girl” named Hina, and Hina’s adorable younger brother, Nagi. Hodaka is going through teenage angst and wants anything but to go home, choosing to live on the streets despite it being rough. Subtle literary allusions are dropped here and there such as the sneaky Catcher in the Rye atop his textbooks to make a nice ‘aha!’ moment. Hodaka isn’t as cynical as Holden Caulfield, but he is just as smart and emotionally sensitive so that he ends up moving in with Keisuke, a man with his own life problems who runs a shabby editing company.
There, Hodaka is assigned a task to write about “sunshine girls”. That is, girls who can put an end to the incessantly falling rain that is engulfing Tokyo in the film.
Hina is one such girl and is able to bring sunshine for shorts periods of time. But Hina and Hodaka soon realise that messing with the climate comes at a cost.
As such, director Makoto Shinkai provides a critical message on the effects of tampering with nature. As the global community is becoming increasingly aware of its carbon footprint, it is only fitting that such a film is made.
Every detail on the screen is thought through in true Japanese fashion and the grey skies do little to dampen the background images which are saturated and vibrant. For non-Japanese viewers, this film provides a fairly accurate depiction of a typical Tokyo and its easily understandable script ensures it is not a heavy watch. Cultural references are made throughout, the most prominent being the motif of the “teru teru bozu”, a traditional white doll often hung to invoke clear skies.
Director Shinkai is best known for his last work Your Name and many have expressed doubt whether this film would match the attention and praise Your Name got. Although most definitely a worthy watch, the romance could have been deepened and the plotline strengthened.
Although the film is not a showcase of Shinkai reaching the height of his success, it is nevertheless still a memorable movie that bids you farewell with beautiful ending music to ensure you’re left in a mesmerised state of reflection on not only yourself, but the future trajectory of our world.
Weathering With You is currently in cinemas nationwide.