Lovely love story about climate change.
Many filmmakers use CGI today. As a result, hand animation is no longer very common. With Japanese anime, fortunately, this is not always the case. Makoto Shinkai, for example, is a highly praised exception that preserves this traditional form of work. Although the Japanese director and screenwriter has been working for some time now, he made his worldwide breakthrough only a few years ago with his film Your Name (2016).
Weathering With You (2019) is his latest creation at CoMix Wave Films. The anime has been shining on the screen in Dutch cinemas since the end of January and of course I had to go there!
The legend of the sunshine girl
Weathering With You tells about teenagers Hodaka (Kotaro Daigo) and Hina (Nana Mori). They meet in Tokyo's Kabukichou district where Hodaka writes for an obscure magazine and Hina works as a waitress at a well-known fast food chain.
Right now the Japanese metropolis is suffering from heavy rains. Hodaka soon discovers that Hina has the gift of cleaning the air. The teenagers decide to set up a business that, for a price, provides sunny weather.
Things are going extremely well; who wouldn't want to appeal to the gift of a "sunshine girl" in such rainy weather? But then Hina stumbles upon an ancient Shinto legend that says nature will eventually demand a sacrifice. How long will she be able to continue her work?
Unparalleled animation in Weathering With You
That teenagers in love are deeply concerned, the viewer can already see by then. With the help of interlocking obstacles, Shinkai manages to create a delightful tension curve for the audience. The course of the plot is really all Shinkai has to worry about.
It won't be his incomparable animation anyway. Weathering With You treats the viewer with photo-realistic cityscapes of Tokyo and alternates them with short but detailed scenes of everyday life. Emotions, no matter how small, spill over to the characters.
Think of the scene where Hodaka is smarter than his attacker. The rain falls in Tokyo as beautifully as in Shinkai's previous play, Garden of Words (2013). However, these moments are now interrupted by dazzling explanations that (literally) lift the viewer to great heights.
In Weathering With You, the sun not only brings color to this mostly lead-grey animated film, but also reflects the characters' moods. After all, everything is lighter with a little sunshine.
Weathering With You is a reasonable love story about climate change.
For the soundtrack Shinkai calls again the band RADWIMPS. In Your Name their music often sounded a bit overwhelming. In Weathering With You, RADWIMPS knows how to restrain itself, which makes the songs sound more subtle and dreamy and therefore fits well with the story.
In Weathering With You, Shinkai focuses in particular on the prevailing climate change. He uses the moving love story as a backdrop and this is nothing new in his work. In Voices of a Distant Star (2002), for example, love overcame time and space, defied age in Garden of Words and tried to prevent a fatal natural disaster in Your Name.
However, this time it is not as devastating as Your Name. Maybe that's why "Weathering With You" can be better handled. Because if man takes nature for granted, sooner or later he will demand something in return. After all, just as in love, in nature it's a matter of give and take. Rain or no rain.