The summer of his high school freshman year, Hokoda runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo, and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. The weather is unusually gloomy and rainy every day, as if to suggest his future. He lives his days in isolation, but finally finds work as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Then one day, Hokoda meets Hina on a busy street corner. This bright and strongwilled girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky...
Weathering With You - is just another Shinkai Makoto-esque movie that recycles the "boy and girl fall for each other" theme, with supernatural occurences as the plot driver, scenary porn and jpop music abound. The story and characters woefully lacked detail and depth, so your enjoyment would depend on how much you can tolerate this lack of detail and depth, and ultimately, how much you can sympathize with the characters. [NOT SPOILER FREE] Story: lacking detail The setting is present day Tokyo, albeit it's constantly raining and people are craving for sunshine. The 16-year-old male MC has just arrived at Tokyo after running away from his home from the countryside of Japan (presumably because he wasn't doing well with his parents). He's lucky enough to find a place to stay at, when one day he encounters the herione in Shinjuku or Shibuya whichever it was. The heroine is being solicited and the MC is foolish enough to shoot at the offender with a gun he so previously happened to pick up on the street. The writing is quite sloppy here, allowing a certain amount of time to pass until the consequence of this incident is properly addressed. Meanwhile, the two escape and become quite close; they start a business, utilizing the herione's supernatural power which lets her temporarily clear the weather. The issue: the herione will "disappear" if she keeps using her power. Fastforward the plot and the herione disappears, the male MC attempts to bring her back only to be prevented by the police who are timely enough to start investigating about the MC's previous offence on the street at this critical moment. Weakpoint: sloppy writing. It's a relief that at least the incident on the street was addressed later on in the story, but there were other incidents that either weren't properly explanied, simply forgotten, or didn't make sense. 1. Masses of water falling from the sky - most likely in exchange for every time the heroine clears the rainy weather. No explicit explanation is given though. 2. The world above the clouds - the cause of all the rain and the basis of the world setting of this story is so poorly described. The story’s logic is that the weather in the world below would be restored at the exchange of the herione’s (or any “sunny” person’s) existence, but the story behind this logic is not too clear. 3. What is that shrine on the rooftop anyway? I can see that it functions as a gateway to the world above, but it’s really nothing more than that. The shrine just doesn’t really connect with the herione’s supernatural power. The explanation given about the existence of “sunny” people, or those whose presence brings about sunshine, makes it seem as if this is an inborn trait, not something bestowed to anyone who passes through the torii of that shrine. 4. The herione apparently has the power to strike thunder in addition to the ability to clear the rainy weather. This additional setting came out of nowhere. 5. The editor who hires the MC - if he so wants to see his daughter, why quit his smoking ban, and why go so far as to get himself arrested for the sake of the MC? Maybe it was out of empathy to the MC’s “what’s wrong with trying to be with the person I love” angry statement, which may be indicative of his relationship with his deceased wife (mentioned to have died of an accident) but even if this were the case, inferences were hard to draw because of the lack of background information given for each character. I’m still baffled as to what made him act in the interest of the MC on the last minute. 6. The herione is saved - how exactly? If she could be saved by the MC safely escorting her back to the world below, all that drama was for naught. Also, did anyone notice?: The reference to Catcher In The Rye - we see that book appear, if I remember correctly, at the beginning of the show as if in the author’s homage to it. There are similarities, like the MCs’ resistance to the adult world, the coming of age theme so on and so forth, so it does seem that Shinkai had the theme from this book in mind. That being said, Tenki no Ko is embarrassing because it lacks the descriptive sensitivity and authenticity I felt in Catcher In The Rye. Characters: lacking depth; the description was off-the-point and lacking I fail to like the characters from Shinkai’s works; they and their situation are hard to relate to. The characters in this show were particularly hard to relate to because every single character lacked depth, and descriptions were obviously off-the-point and lacking. - The MC, I disliked him the most for being so impulsive. Why did he leave his house in the first place? Why didn’t he leave the gun where he found it? What made him think he’d survive life in Tokyo, jobless as he was, or even think he’d live happily ever after with the herione and her little brother, after having shot at someone earlier in the story? None of his decisions made sense to me. - Then there’s the ‘grown up’ herione who has somehow survived thus far with her little brother with what little earning she was receiving from her part time job. The next moment, though, she’s fine with sacrificing herself for humanity. This decision doesn’t make sense either. Is she really okay with leaving her little brother to some guy who is 1. A (sort of) fugitive and 2. Incapable of managing his own life in Tokyo, let alone taking care of Nagi, the herione’s little brother? She could have stopped using her power the instant she had realized what she was sacrificing, but she didn’t because she felt responsible for taking humanity over family. - Then again, was the herione’s sacrifice really worth it? Surely, the people would benefit from this sacrifice as they would no longer have to endure the rain. But I do not think that it makes the herione responsible for ‘fixing’ the weather as *it is not her fault to begin with that it’s raining*. To me, this is reason enough to consider her sacrifice worthless, but Shinkai apparently doesn’t think so. The reason he gives is that the rainy weather is not a problem considering how the whole of Tokyo used to be under water a few hundred years ago (the same reason why we have the ocean which is because it used to be very rainy on earth some billions of years ago), which I do not believe really matters to the characters (nor does it matter to the audience), since the dilemma concerns with the MC and herione choosing between their own happiness and the happiness of the majority. To me, the historical impact of their choice was never the issue to the characters in this show, so Shinkai’s decision to focus on this argument really baffled me. If anything, it made it a lot harder for me to sympathize with the dilemma felt by the herione and the MC. Music & Animation: Good & great. Shinkai's works tend to select the most j-pop sounding j-pop songs as insert and theme songs, which are fine and fitting. Loads of scenary porn. Overall, the show was entertaining, visually but not at all plotwise. The sloppy writing, generally uninteresting characters and off-the-point descriptions reduce the enjoyment to a score of 5/10.
Weathering with You is not your name, but at the same time, it is. Makoto Shinkai’s movies have been nothing but consistent for the better part of two decades. Thematically and artistically, Shinkai directs his movies like a composer writes a symphony in several movements, different in key, tempo, harmony, and melody, but often with a uniting thematic thread, each movement building upon the last. Besides Children Who Chase Lost Voices, all of Shinkai’s movies have nearly identical strengths and weaknesses, in short, superb production value with questionable storytelling and samish character design. As I write this review, I could practically copy/paste sections from my Garden of Words review 5 years ago. For example: “But what was wrong with the characters in [Weathering with You] anyway beyond the subjective “inability to connect with them”? [Hodaka Morishima] was just as determined, hardworking, and kindhearted as any other protagonist. He expressed his emotions in the same flowery language as Takaki, Hiroki, Noboru, [Takao, or Taki].” “Perhaps I'm just tired of Shinkai's continued dwelling on the idea of ill fated love, making each of his movies (besides the one no one seems to like as much as I do) essentially retellings of the same story in different settings.” “Sure it was predictable what would happen between the two characters, but predictability is certainly no crime in of itself. The emotions were genuine and generally well acted. I don't think the performances were earth shattering, but they were authentic and fulfilled their purpose.” Rather than going through everything from Weathering with You that’s the same as Shinkai’s previous movies, I’d like to expand a little bit on what I think makes the movie distinct, and how it builds and improves upon its predecessors (as all of Shinaki’s movies do). Firstly, the animation continues to innovate. Shinkai’s backgrounds and scenic details have always been among his strengths, but if you contrast the animation from even Garden of Words to Weathering with You it’s obvious that Shinkai has put a greater emphasis lately on creating scenes with grand scale, with action and movement that is nearly unprecedented for animation of this caliber. This is something Shinkai has attempted since his attempt to impersonate Miyazaki, but with your name and Weathering with You it seems that he’s realized that you can have Studio Ghibli quality scenes within a different framework, within the lane of Shinkai’s signature magical realism and sci-fi. Scenes like a chase scene on a motorized scooter through downtown Tokyo bring a new sense of liveliness and scale to Shinkai's work. Shinkai could have been content just drawing pretty backgrounds his entire life, but his development as a director has really brought anime and animation into a new era of what is possible. Secondly, for the second straight movie, the story has a generally more optimistic tone. Certainly it doesn’t shy away from showing the harsh realities of the world in which we live, but rather than despairing in how difficult life is like a stubborn adolescent (as in movies like 5 Centimeters Per Second), Shinkai’s new movies showcase the triumph of the human spirit. The primary musical motif of the movie is based around a RADWIMPS song called “Is there anything love can still do?” and after years of making movies that seem to answer that question with “No,” Shinkai has changed his answer to a resounding “Yes.” The cynics of the world would say that Shinkai has sold out, or that he’s changing his writing to fit a more family friendly “happy ending,” but I think that optimism is needed more than ever in a world that has become so dark. Overall, if you’ve enjoyed Shinkai’s movies, if you can tolerate elements of the same melodrama that has endured since Voices of a Distant Star, Weathering with You will be a perfectly enjoyable experience, another movement in Shinkai’s grand symphony of movies. If you’re part of the group that believes your name was an overrated product of an out of control hype machine, then Weathering with You is certainly not going to change your mind.
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