Beautiful imagery and unprecedented creativity come together in Makoto Shinkai’s latest film “Weathering With You.” It’s a tough act to follow the hit film “Your Name,” knowing that fans and critics would make stark comparisons between the two films. However, the two animated features could not be more different.
While “Weathering With You” exposes how much of an impact human acts have on nature all while telling a beautiful love story of sacrifice, it brings a new level to beauty in animation. The film moves quickly compared to “Your Name,” even though tragedy yet again stands at its center. There’s much more of a sense of urgency in this film, making it quite difficult to buy into the love story between the two main characters.
When Hodaka Morishima runs away from his hometown, he heads for Tokyo where the busy city is experiencing a record amount of rainy days. Down on his luck and with nowhere to live, he can’t seem to find a job without his ID. The film does a good job of showing how expensive Tokyo is, and how easy it is to become a statistic of poverty. But Morishima preservers and manages to find a job, and also somehow a gun.
He meets a girl named Hina at a McDonald’s and also sees her brother on a bus. With the help of a friend, Morishima is able to find a job where he learns all about “sunshine girls.” He ends up seeing Hina again and thinks he’s saving her. When he pulls a real gun on the guys attacking her, the two run for their lives. Then Morishima learns that Hina can make the rain stop, even if it’s for small amounts of time.
The two, plus Hina’s younger brother, end up traveling across Tokyo to bring sunshine to people for a price. Business is going well, but the police are on the lookout for Morishima because a surveillance camera captured him using the gun.
Overall, the animation and artistry was unworldly. This film will be remembered for painting pictures that only exist in dreams. But for me, it didn’t compare to the concise and strong storytelling in “Your Name.” Overall, the plot was weak. We never found out Morishima’s motivation for leaving behind his hometown. And we never really learned how Hina was able to control the weather. The subplot with the gun seemed unnecessary and dramatic just for the sake of drama.
The two main characters fall for each other unbelievably quickly, and Morishima sacrifices Tokyo’s weather to end up with the girl he loves, only to not end up with the girl he loves.
The film did a magnificent job of a painting a picture of how global warming affects our everyday lives. Surely, those in similar climates to Tokyo have noticed an increase in rainy days, and surely those same people feel completely helpless to stop it. I think the film could have been slowed down just a bit, and there could have been more real examples of human struggle as opposed to just drama for drama’s sake.
“Weathering With You” tells a story that no one knew existed. It paints pictures that no one could imagine, and for that it will remain an animation great.