Weathering with You
Written and Directed by Makoto Shinkai
Synopsis: Young runaway Hodoka travels to Tokyo during one of its rainiest Summers on record and befriends Hina, a “sunshine girl” who has the power to manipulate the weather.
Review: Makoto Shinkai is a masterful storyteller and director whose 2016 film Your Name. was a revelation. While Weathering with You is not at the same level as Your Name., this is still an incredible film that is equal parts fun and emotional. At the start of the film you are introduced to Hina at her mother’s bedside and through the rain she sees a beam of light passing through the clouds, shining on a rooftop temple. She follows the light to the temple and prays for sun, which is where the story turns to Hodoka. After running into a restaurant for refuge from the rain, he meets Hina for the first time and becomes closer to her after rescuing her from a club leader who is trying to get Hina to work him. As the story progresses, Hodoka meets Mr. Suga, a widower who runs an online magazine, Natsumi, and Hina’s younger brother Kana. Mr. Suga gives Hodoka a place to live and a job, interviewing and doing odds and ends. These interviews lead Hodoka to discover that Hina is a “sunshine girl”, someone who can stop the rain by prayer in order to give whoever wants to pay for it moments of time. This becomes Hodoka and Hina’s side-hustle.
The animation is beautiful, the voice acting is on point, and the score by Radwimps (who also did the score for Your Name.) is top-notch. The overall story could have been tighter and some of the non-fantastical elements left some questions. Hodoka on numerous occasions somehow evades the cops, a lot, to the point where you have to question how they became police officers in the first place. There are also a lot of questions about a character’s past that are left unanswered that could have given their overall story more depth.
The Verdict: The film had a near-impossible bar to jump over as the follow-up to such a revolutionary film, but in its own merits Weathering with You is a success that’s well worth seeing. My grade for Weathering with You is an A and will be released in the United States on a yet-to-be-determined date in 2020.