I’m sure there have been times where you just sat by your window looking at the raindrops crawl down the glass and when it finally stops and the sky clears up you just can’t resist giving out even a small grin. The weather can have a direct impact on our lives and mood and different people have different preferences. Some like the rain while others search for the warmth of the sun. Even though we enjoy how the weather changes do we really know why? Do we, as the ones who stand below the clouds know what does it mean to have a clear sky?
Makoto Shinkai released another Japanese anime movie named Weathering With You in July 2019 and it made headlines all around the world due to the recent success of Your Name. In the first three days in more than 350 theaters, Weathering with You sold more than 1.1 million tickets, grossing 1.6 billion yen (about US$15.22 million). On its opening weekend, the film ranked #1 and is currently Japan’s #7 highest-earning domestic film of all time and Japan’s highest-grossing film in 2019. It was renowned for its beautiful animation and thrilling story that created a new point of view towards the weather and what’s hidden in our sky.
Anime fans all over the globe had high expectations for Weathering With You and they were not disappointed. Weathering With You focused on the concept of the weather and reaches out to the viewers through the astounding scenery the film offered and step by step opened its doors to send everyone a message that in making a masterpiece, the sky’s the limit.
The plot follows a runaway high schooler named Hodaka Morishima who travels to Tokyo to escape from the strangling life that he lived in his island home. He then meets Hina Amano, a 15-year-old girl living along with her little brother Nagi who recently lost her mother and is struggling from job to job. As they discover that Hina’s prayer is always answered whenever she asks to stop the rain that has been plaguing Tokyo, Hodaka, Hina, and Nagi create the Sunshine Girl service to gain money and live their lives happily. But they will soon know that every time the sky clears there is a price to pay.
Weathering With You’s plot has Makoto Shinkai written all over it. It definitely took inspiration from Your Name but instead of the protagonists fighting against time, this time they fight against the heavens itself. It had a simple concept and then paired it with natural story progression to make the flow of the plot not feel forced. When Hodaka found the gun it did not have any significance until later in the story. The pacing was good and the subplots did not overwhelm the main plot and vice-versa. There were no times that it made it confusing for us to follow the protagonists’ journey and it applied a simple line with no twists. Considering that it’s in the same universe as Your Name as Taki and Mitsuha had cameos in the film, it’s safe to say that Weathering With You showed some individuality. The introduction of the characters, climax, and ending proved to have significance and had an impact on the overall plot. The ending was satisfying and there were no plot holes or questions left unanswered.
Character writing was very good. Even the guy who owned the bar proved to be significant for the story to reach its climax. Although some might think that Hodaka was immature and annoying was that because his writing was realistic. He is a 16-year-old boy who ran away and is finding a livelihood in the bustling streets of Tokyo. In terms of character development throughout the film, the best one we saw was from Hodaka and Kei who had a radical change in how they view their lives and the other people around them. There were no anime tropes and it felt a bit refreshing to watch characters interact In a realistic manner. There was consistency found in both the main and supporting characters and all of them proved to be likable and viewers can be emotionally invested in any of them. This is proven true as even Kei who seemed like a punk in the beginning had an interesting backstory. Another thing that you can notice in the characters is when Taki and Mitsuha appeared which was shocking and enjoyable. All the characters added depth to the story and served a purpose.
In terms of animation, there’s no debate about this. It’s a Makoto Shinkai film and he always delivers one of the best-animated anime of all time. The environment was very detailed. The use of contrasting colors such as the cool rain and the warm sun. The detail and fluidity of the water were also amazing. And of course, we have the beautiful sky. I don’t know what they do but they always use real-life locations and make them more beautiful. They also used different camera angles to enhance scenes and make them more dramatic or thrilling.
With the voice acting it did its job. It had great quality and the dialogues of the characters did not feel bland or boring. The emotions of the characters were clearly voiced out and there some amazing lines in the show. One line that I couldn’t get enough of was from Hodaka. “I want you more than any blue sky!” It had such an impact and the voice actor, Kotarou Daigo did an amazing job giving the line more significance than it should have had.
RADWIMPS again made a masterpiece with the official soundtrack. Every beat was in sync with the scenes in the film that it made it more exciting and dramatic. You can even just listen to the OST and it can give you goosebumps. The 5 songs, Voice of Wind, Celebration, Daijoubu, Is there still anything love can do, and Grand Escape were all phenomenal. The rhythm, the instrumentals, the vocals just seemed fantastic.
Weathering With You is no Your Name. It has a personality of its own. It used a concept that has been used in other films but made it into something unique. The romance and chemistry of the main characters were no cliche. It had a simple yet captivating plot, great animation, exceptional voice acting, and an awe-inspiring OST. Sometimes we enjoy the weather not because of how it makes us feel, but we enjoy it because we’re with the ones we love the most. The world has always been crazy and so is the weather. Watch the film and you’ll instantly get the answer to the question, “What does it mean to have a clear sky?”