the superb reality of Shinkai stumbles upon the predecessor Your Name
Weathering With You was one of the most expected films of 2019 anime-season. The audience, after the success of Your Name, was longing for the new creature of Makoto Shinkai. The release in Japan was 19 July 2019, with the anime film projection scheduled in other countries in late 2019-early 2020. We’re talking about a high quality work, maybe not at the same level of Your Name. The soundtracks of the film are, again, the result of the collaboration with the group RADWIMPS. Memorable are the musical tracks Grand Escape and Is there Still Anything That Love Can Do; I assure the lyric of the two songs will remain impressed when you’ll leave the cinema.
Hodaka and Hina: the protagonists of Weathering With You
The setting: the contemporary Tokyo represented by the realism of Shinkai.
The story is centered in the relation establishes between Hodaka and Hina. The guy has left his native island to find a work in Tokyo while Hina is referred to be the 100% sun-girl. The plot is quite simple this time if compared to the one of Your Name and in this article we’re not explaining the sequence of events because they happen quite straighforward.
M. Shinkai has been longing to represent one of his favourite scenarios: a rainy day in the city of Tokyo. The adverse atmospheric condition is the perfect way to celebrate the visive skills of the film director. The water drops focus, their impact with the soil, how the rains warps the images through reflections are all features captured by Makoto Shinkai. In that aspect, Weathering with You confirms to be at the level of a masterpiece.
The realism of Makoto Shinkai
Keisuke and Natsumi: imperfect characters to perfect protagonists’ growth.
Keisuke Suga in Weathering With You
Keisuke Suga may be an underestimated character in the development of Weathering With You: in fact, he reveals to be the most defined character of the cast. As often seen in Shinaki’s films, adults take the side of the flawed parts: their lacks are highlighted in the storyplot to help the growing-up process of the protagonists. Keisuke is unable to recover from an intimate loss and his involvement with Hodaka allows him to face the past he escapes from.
Natsumi is depicted with less precision: the frames in which she acts are sufficient to catch her personality. Here, we advance the analogy with Misato Katsuragi (Neon Genesis Evangelion): the good-looking girl, devoted to her duty but limited in her relationships due to her internal conflicts. This section perfectly introduces the next discussion, the story flaws present in the film.
Natsumi (left) and Misato (from Neon Genesis Evangelion, at right)
The traditional Shinto elements to investigate human-nature relationship.
In Weathering With You, the film director experiments a new structure in the story-telling. We don’t know if it was a conscious choice or the result of new artistic paths but the plot seems to be deeply splitted in two portions. The first part of the plot is setted to flow away fluently, in an enjoyable manner: few kind gags are woven to snatch a smile without degrading to too easy-laugh moments. In the second half, the rythm suddenly changes: the atmosphere becomes graver. The acceleration resolves in a plot that is not self-consistent, in which the two main protagonists are not completely characterized. In other words, the mystical component (the “wheathering”) does not support the weave as well as in Your Name. In fact, the deep bond that perfectly suits between Taki ans Mitsuha appears stretched in Weathering With You.
Weathering With You and Your Name.
Even though the amazing soundtracks mantain the audience involvement, the Hodaka-Hina story remains with a sense of incompleteness.
On the visual level, the sound and graphics can be treated as equal of the ones of Your Name. The main difference emerges in the lack of organic subplots in Weathering With You.
The red thread of Ariadna (alias “Mitsuha”) holds together the whole plot in Your Name. In Weathering With You, the final outcome comes when the preparatory conditions are not sufficiently mature, yet.
However, the quick appearance of Taki and Mitsuha in two different frames will be appreciated by Shinkai’s fans.
The atmospheric weather as reflection of the internal emotions: We’ll Be Alright
The message Shinkai tries to send is, for another time, very significative. The weather condition can be regarded as the emotional state of the characters. The sun rising represents the turn a new important person makes in our own life. Keeping in mind this consideration, the ending can be decrypted in many ways.
Shallow (physical) level: the one who comes to the mind it’s the environmental theme. The selfishness of people, that at the end are the selfish choices of our everyday life. But to my mind, it’s only a cunning trick to enroll also the climate change issues. Keeping this way, Shinkai gives an implicit message: the necessity to study the climate further back. As a professor once said to me, “today there are too many meteorologists and too few climatologists”. In my opinion, it’s not fair to attribute political values (or at least consider as main) to an emotional-centered anime.
Deep (inner) level: when you are reasoning about your intimate relation you have to take your own decision. Very often, others’ interests (“the sunny day”) does not coincide with the personal feelings. In that case, you’re allowed to make your selfish try and the impact can be astonishing.
Who cares if we don’t see the sun shine ever again? I want you more than any blue sky. The weather can go crazy.
The weathering skills of Hino have healing powers on Hodaka’s feelings as stated by the precious soundtrack We’ll Be Alright (Daijoubu). In any case, even not reaching the peak of Your Name, the 2019 Makoto Shinkai is a high rate anime film, I assure that the vision of Weathering With You will leave a memory in your heart. Shinkai’s films require to be enjoyed leaving the rational approach in order to achieve the full engagement.
And you? What do you think of Weathering With You? Write your opinion in the comment!