In Tokyo, Hodaka (Kotaro Daigo / Brandon Engman) meets Hina (Nana Mori / Ashley Boettcher), who has the ability to make the constant Tokyo rain stop for a short time. The two soon learn that Hina’s power does not come without a cost.
I, like many people I’m sure, was introduced to Makoto Shinkai with Your Name, his body-swapping romance. Your Name has become one of my favorite animated films so of course I was not going to miss Shinkai’s next film and my expectations were high. Weathering With You has a lot to live up to and will, for better or worse, be compared to Your Name. I tried to stray away from comparing the two too much but I couldn’t break from that myself, so you will find much of it here, for better or worse. With Weathering With You, Shinkai cements that he knows how to create a deep world and compelling characters.
Once again, Weathering With You shows that traditional cel animation is still alive and well. Today, many animated film studios, including Disney, have moved to computer animation. I don’t have an issue with this but there’s something about hand-drawn animations that make them special. A lot of care gets put into every frame; in every detail. There’s something there that you don’t feel with films animated with CGI. 2D animation isn’t common anymore but I’m glad there are still studios that make use of the style because I enjoy seeing the format still flourishing.
With that said, this film has a similar art style to Your Name. One major difference is the presence of rain throughout the majority of the film. This causes the film to have a more muted color palette. However, this movie is still amazingly colorful. Even with the constant gloom of the rain, or maybe because of it, nearly every frame is bursting to life with color, rivaling Your Name‘s vibrant feel. And never have I seen rain feature so prominently in an animated film and Weathering With You‘s rain effects are easily some of the best looking in animation, period. Shinkai and his team have created yet another downright gorgeous animated film.
As of writing this review, I haven’t seen any of Shinkai’s work prior to Your Name. But from what I’ve read about them, star-crossed lovers seems to be his shtick. As a result of his comfort zone, the story of Weathering With You might feel similar to Your Name. And in a way they are similar. Thematically, and even at times structurally, this film borrows from its predecessor. However, they approach the love story from different angles. Your Name tells a story about how love overcomes distance and time. Weathering With You, on the other hand, tells a story about the lengths someone is willing to go for the ones they love, regardless of the consequences. It’s a story that has been told time and time again but the consequences are much more far reaching and permanent than I think I’ve seen before in any film, animated or otherwise. In the end, it maintains a feeling of uniqueness, despite its similarities to Shinkai’s previous works.
I’m sorry but the comparisons to Your Name are not finished yet. Despite my love for Your Name, there is one aspect I think this movie did better than Shinkai’s last: the humor. Your Name used its body-swapping premise for some pretty good laughs. However, the humor in Weathering With You feels more natural. Throughout the film, there are more laugh-out-loud moments. While Your Name tells an overall better story, Weathering With You tells a funnier one.
I thought Weathering With You was GOOD 🙂 Shinkai has yet again created compelling characters within a detailed world, telling a beautiful story about love and the lengths one is willing to go for it. I still lean towards Your Name as my favorite between these two films but as a follow-up to the massive success that was Your Name, Weathering With You is a worthy successor.
Be on the look out for Your Name‘s Taki and Mitsuha, who both make appearances in the film. According to director Makoto Shinkai, Weathering With You takes place shortly before Taki and Mitsuha’s reunion at the end of Your Name.
Cast & Crew
Makoto Shinkai – Director / Writer
Radwimps – Composer
Kotaro Daigo / Brandon Engman – Hodaka Morishima (voice)
Nana Mori / Ashley Boettcher – Hina Amano (voice)
Shun Oguri / Lee Pace – Keisuke Suga (voice)
Tsubasa Honda / Alison Brie – Natsumi Suga (voice)
Sakura Kiryu / Emeka Guindo – Nagisa Amano (voice)
Swi Hiraizumi / Mike Pollock – Yasui (voice)
Yuki Kaji / Riz Ahmed – Takai (voice)
The submission period for the Ultimate 2010s Blogathon is going on now and is open until February 9th, 2020. If you would like to participate in the blogathon, all the details can be found in this announcement post.