Set during a period of exceptionally rainy weather, high-school boy Hodaka Morishima runs away from his troubled rural home to Tokyo and befriends an orphan girl who can manipulate the weather.
When it came to catching up on 2020 movies, I heard of Weathering With You being particularly good, which is an anime film. What immediately got my attention and interest however was the fact that it was made by Makoto Shinkai, the director of Your Name. That was one of my all time favourite anime films, with its story, characters and visuals, it was spectacular and I highly recommend checking it out (and it works as an entry into anime if you haven’t watched any of it yet). So I went into this movie only knowing that, I hadn’t looked at the images or the plot beforehand, and Weathering With You didn’t disappoint.
A lot of people are going into Weathering With You with the mindset of people who previously watched Your Name. To get it out of the way, there are some similarities between the two. It’s another highly ambitious and original film combining multiple elements including coming of age drama, romance, and fantasy. Both of them also has similar plot elements and the over-arching theme of love, with it being a personal story focusing on two youths, while feeling quite large in scope. There are also some differences. However, I do judge them as their own things, and I don’t take issues with how they are similar or different. They did a good job at setting you in this location, and the characters are well established. You are along for the ride with the main characters from beginning to end. Much of the plot and writing on paper looks like it should be melodramatic, cheesy and cliché, but these characters are actually developed, and these emotional stakes and conflicts are established so well and contains a lot of empathy that it works. Like with Your Name it has some emotional moments especially towards the second half, and while it’s not quite as strong as that movie, it was effective enough here that you actually cared about what happens by the end. This film is also a metaphor for climate change underneath the fantastical myths in the plot. In terms of flaws, I guess there are small sections where I wasn’t quite invested compared to some other parts, but those are minor and don’t border on being boring.
Makoto Shinkai directs this, and you can immediately tell that this was directed by the person who made Your Name, with the visual style, the way the camera pans around, the hyper realistic approach to the worlds that makes you feel like you could live among the characters. etc. If you haven’t seen Your Name or any of his other movies, it’s pretty hard to put into words to explain how extraordinary they look. The visuals are in a league of their own, and the animation is breathtaking. The overall look of this movie overall isn’t as fantastical as Your Name, focusing on being more realistic, especially with all the locations and settings. At the same time, the fantastical elements in this movie looks great. I do think the music for the most part is great, however I do think that there’s a bit of an overuse of pop songs. Some of it was fine (indeed a lot of that was in Your Name) but by the last third of the movie it became a bit much. That’s really my only criticism with the movie on a technical level at least.
Weathering With You is a fantastic film. The story is empathetic and emotional, the characters are great and well established, and its directed beautifully, with enthralling and spectacular animation. Treating them as their own separate movies, I do like Your Name more than Weathering With You, though the latter of them is still great. I definitely recommend checking it out as soon as you can, especially if you like anime.