After the success of the mega-hit Your Name in 2016 that raked around USD 361 million globally and made the film became the second highly-grossing anime movie of all time, only behind Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, Makoto Shinkai is back with his latest movie and first since then titled Tenki no Ko or known as Weathering With You.
However the success of Your Name also bring a problem to the discussion, it is impossible to discuss Weathering With You without connecting dots to Your Name. Like the previous anime smash hit, Makoto Shinkai crafts another coming-of-age romance. Weathering With You is an intoxicating mix of sci-fi, teen romance, and comedy with breathtaking visual animation.
Both Your Name and Weathering With You centered on teenage romance with magical and unique narrations that become the main premise and also center of conflict, that is the Japanese spiritual value. Shinkai cleverly crafted Japanese spiritual value as an important element into his movies. In Your Name he showed how the Japanese perceived time, while in Weathering with You Shinkai portrays the mystery of sky, earth and a maiden who connects all of them to create a balance.
Weathering With You tells the story of a Japanese high school student named Hodaka who runs away from home to Tokyo, where it never seems to stop raining. There, he struggles to find a job and ultimately ends up to work at a small magazine through his connection with Mr. Suga. As his first task, he is appointed to track down about the mysterious rumour of a weather-girl or sunshine-maiden who has the power to control weather.
During his life in Tokyo, Hodaka also befriend a girl named Hina where he later finds out to be the rumoured sunshine-maiden. Both they create a weather-controlling business for the people who hopes for the sunshine to come out. But one day he learns the painful fact that the maiden who connects both the earth and the sky should sacrifice herself in exchange for the normal weather.
Weathering With You has a quite straightforward plot, it is more direct than its predecessor. The movie tells the story about two teenagers who fall in love with each other trying to survive in Tokyo by controlling the weather.
Tenki no Ko trailer. Courtesy of GKIDS
Dispite the simplicity, the story has many flaws, the reason why Hodaka runs away from home is unknown till the end of the movie. The later part of the movie is also a little bit hyperbole. The appearance of the gun is actually a little bit out of place, it is still unknown why the gun exist in the first place and whose gun is that actually. Beside those two things, gun and run away from home, the story is well-developed, and a good emotional roller-coaster.
The story is also supported with great scores from RADWIMPS who make all the songs for this movie. The characters are also naturally developed, although Shinkai use the formula of two teenagers with problematic backgrounds but the existence of each character has their own purposes and connection through its magical premises.
In case for visual and artistic aspect, it is undoubtedly a top-notch. Shinkai’s ability to craft a beautiful landscape is perfect. He is one of the best on the industry, you can see how he craft a breathtaking visual from his previous works such as Your Name (2016), The Garden of Words (2013), and 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007).
Not only beautiful, each of Shinkai’s film has its own uniqueness and style that support the theme and emotion of the movie. For example, unlike Your Name in which Tokyo was a chic urban city filled with students and workers, the Tokyo of Weathering With You is filled with shady activities and characters, rusted staircases, adult business, and old hotels.
Weathering with You might look like a romantic coming-of-age movie, but Shinkai carefully bring an important issue with cleverly crafted Japanese spiritual values as a detrimental element in the film. Just like Your Name, this movie also subtly shows that Mother Nature is not a good caring mother but a cruel mistress that revolves around how we are affecting the world around us.
But the subliminal message that Shinkai’s bring to the table is easily spotted on the story. Instead of preached us with corny and lame attitude, he dissect the movie carefully wrapped with mysticism element on top of the film. In the end, Weathering With You is undoubtedly a good movie with breathtaking visual and emotional roller-coaster.
Our Score (9.5/10)
Title : Weathering with You (Tenki no Ko)
Production : CoMix Wave Films, Story Inc.
Director : Makoto Shinkai
Story : Makoto Shinkai
Voice Actors : Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori