Weathering With You is director Makoto Shinkai’s follow-up to Your Name, the 2016 smash hit that is soon to get a western live-action adaptation. The Film currently enjoys a 97% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and an 86% from audiences on the same site. The two main characters, Morishima Hodaka and Amano Hina, are voiced by Kotaro Daigo and Nana Mori respectively.
The movie tells the story of a rain-drenched Tokyo, Japan and how Hina can pray to the sky for small bits of blue, rainless sky. It is an absolutely adorable film with a great soundtrack, from the band RADWIMPS, and is a change of pace for the director in some ways.
First off, this film is beautifully animated. The city of Tokyo is brought to life by the animation team and the weather animation is something to behold. The incredible detail of light refraction and movement in raindrops should leave viewers in awe of the work done on this film. The character designs more than match the quality expected from a Shinkai film, and are incredibly crisp and detailed. There is so much to look at in this film that you will need repeat viewings to appreciate the detail in everything.
Music plays a big part in this film and the band RADWIMPS, lead by songwriter and composer Yojiro Noda, does not let us down. The grand theme song, “Is There Still Anything That Love Can Do?” is a powerful ballad filled with a beautiful piano-driven composition and finished with Noda’s great voice. The score is used to heighten our anxiety in certain scenes and play at our hearts in others. It masterfully fits each and every scene. LRM Online was lucky to get an interview with the band, which you can read HERE.
RELATED: Weathering With You: Award-Winning RADWIMPS On Re-Teaming With Anime Auteur Makoto Shinkai For Score
The story begins with Hodaka, a runaway, finding a way to survive in Tokyo. While he searches for jobs he is constantly shut down, mostly for being underage, and resorts to eating fast food to save money. He does eventually get a job with Mr. Suga doing office grunt work while Suga and Natsumi handle the majority of the writing and running of a website.
Hodaka does do some writing and is mentored by Suga. One night, he’s given a free meal at a fast-food restaurant by Hina, who recognizes him from previous nights. While traveling through Tokyo Hodaka sees Hina being led by, shall we say, less than savory characters. Hodaka senses that something isn’t right and intervenes. He ends up drawing a gun on the would-be exploiters and escapes with Hina. This is the start of their friendship and a chain of events that lead to an emotional ending.
When Hodaka learns that Hina is a “sunshine girl” who has the power to stop the rain in an area and give people a break from the gloominess, he decides to help her use this power to make some money for her and her brother Nagi who have no guardians. What follows is a series of “jobs” Hina gets to bring sunshine for all sorts of reasons. Even Suga places an order to give his daughter a day to play outside.
Because Hodaka is a runaway and implicated as having a gun, the cops are after him. Towards the end of the movie Hina, Hodaka, and Nagi go on the run. After a fun night at a hotel, Hina shows Hodaka that her gift comes with a price. I won’t spoil the film for you, but if you’re a crier this film will get the waterworks running.
This movie, much like Your Name, has great emotional stakes. I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but some may find it controversial. The film has something to say about climate change, but the message may not be what you think by the end of the film. The socio-political minefield that is discussing climate change is not the focus though. At least, it doesn’t come across that way.
In the end, Weathering With You is a fun film for all ages. It has heart, laughs, tears, and everything in between. It isn’t perfect though and there are some plot threads that will have you scratching your head. I would say that Your Name is Shinkai’s masterpiece, and this being the follow up suffers a bit from that film’s greatness. In a vacuum, this movie far above average and deserves your patronage.
The movie will be playing in select theaters across America this week on the 15th and 16th in both subtitled and English dubbed versions. You can find showtime and tickets HERE.
Final Score: A-
Watch if you liked: Your Name, 5 Centimeters Per Second, and The Garden of Words
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