“The sky’s a deeper unknown world than the sea.”
Under the heavy Tokyo rain, there’s a story of a boy and a girl. Another love story, for sure, but unlike most you have seen.
Weathering with You is the latest animated film from director Makoto Shinkai. It was released in Japan in 2019, but made its theatrical debut this year in Canada. Though Shinkai was popular for some of his other movies, he became more well-known after releasing Your Name (2016) which became the highest-grossing anime film of all time during its release. He broke many hearts back in 2016 and came back to do it once more as Weathering with You takes the world by storm.
The story takes place in Tokyo under endless rain, where Morishima Hodaka (Kotaro Daigo) runs away to. It’s hard to make a living in Tokyo as a runaway teenager with no identification. By chance, he meets Hina Amano (Nana Mori), a young girl who has a secret—Hina can control the weather. She can make the sun shine down on the dark and gloomy city, bringing smiles to those who await the bright light and warm sun on their skin. This wandering boy and sunshine girl work to bring happiness to the people, even if just for a few moments. But, at what cost?
When it comes to cinema, I feel as though sometimes animated films are overlooked—often called “childish” or “too cartoonish” by some. But there are whole other worlds out there to be seen in animation. Weathering with You captures beauty in story, writing, aesthetic, and music—not just in one, but in all.
Your Name and Weathering with You are both refreshing stories that feel unique—it’s young love in its pure innocence and genuineness with fantastical and mythical twists. The dialogue is funny and charming, yet it also has the power to hit you where it hurts. It’s a movie that brings out tears in both pain and joy. But the animation is what captures everyone’s eyes. Japan puts so much emphasis on its aesthetics in animation and is often very popular for its anime. Not only do the characters excel in that style, but the scenery is where that aesthetic shines. Beautiful colours of the earth, sea, and sky immerse you in their world.
Although the images are not from our reality, it makes you remember the beauty of nature. And in the background, the soundtrack of Weathering with You ties together the whole experience. Songs like “Grand Escape” by RADWIMPS (ft. Toko Miura) and “We’ll Be Alright” (also by RADWIMPS) intensify your emotions and really complete the overall scenes.
Though I mentioned I felt animated films are underappreciated, I still believe that can change, and that it is changing.
According to Forbes, “Weathering with You grossed $129 million, landing it above and beyond the highest earner out of all domestic and foreign releases combined. Second place went to the Disney film Frozen 2, which grossed $117 million.” Not only did it become so popular and loved in Japan, but this foreign film even succeeded in the global market.
In an interview with HeyUGuys, it was mentioned that Weathering with You is the first Japanese animated film to be officially released in India, thanks to a petition started by high school students that gained over 50,000 signatures. When asked “what is it you think makes it connect with such a wide audience?” Shinkai responded, “I think the theme of the weather is a very topical one now for young people…[and] that feeling that you are not part of the majority. I think that a lot of young people may be able to sympathize with that. I hope they have found something to sympathize with.”
It’s clear that Weathering with You has exceeded expectations and there’s a market for Japanese animated films—a market that should be explored further by other Japanese animation studios.
You can catch Weathering with You in Canadian theatres now.