“If you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes.”
All the Texas kids are familiar with this adage. They might be shocked to know that, all the way over to Tokyo, things are not as simple. “If you want to change the forecast, you might need a human sacrifice to set things right” – that’s the premise of ‘Weathering With You’ (Japanese: 天気の子, Hepburn: Tenki no Ko), Shinkai Makoto’s romantic fantasy released on July 19, 2019.
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A Brief Look At Shinkai Makoto’s Latest Work
Japanese writer-director Shinkai Makoto really has a thing for young love birds. This can be seen in his international breakthrough ‘Your Name’, as well as ‘Weathering With You’. Just like the former, ‘Weathering With You’ centers around an adolescent boy and girl whose lives miraculously cross and mirror each other.
Official Trailer – Weathering With You English Sub
The story of ‘Weathering With You’ unfolds when a rainstorm hits Hodaka’s ferry, causing him to almost drowns. Soon after, we learn that this teenage boy is running away from his troubled home life to Tokyo. Once in the city, though, the vagabond realizes it’s not the Eden he imagines: Hodaka strives to stay dry, find something to eat, a place to live, and a way to survive.
His adventure takes a sharp turn when he meets Hina, a sweet, friendly orphan living alone with her little brother. To Hodaka’s surprise, Hina possesses the ability to change the weather through her prayers. Seeing how the siblings are struggling financially, the boy proposes a plan to start a business with Hina’s enigmatic gifts, called “the sunshine girl’s service”. The two set up a website and receive requests to clear the weather for events such as weddings and parties. It quickly becomes a success, but the trouble lying ahead is far more than they both can handle.
In 2019, ‘Weathering With You’ grossed over $129 million in Japan, making it the highest earner of all domestic and foreign releases combined. Even in U.S. theaters, the movie managed to earn $15.2 million after the first three days. This is far beyond ‘Your Name’ achievement of $5 million during its 16 weeks.
On the ‘Weathering With You’ Reddit thread, some users suggested that the previous hype of ‘Your Name’ contributed largely to this success. I’ve got to agree. After the body-swapping sensation created a global phenomenon, the industry expected the same miracle with this movie. And so, more and more theaters and distributions were willing to take a chance with Shinkai’s latest masterpiece, helping it reach a wider group of audience.
Still, an audience score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes proves that ‘Weathering With You’ is far more than just a shadow of ‘Your Name’. No wonder, Japanese-fantasy fans can’t help but go for this one at once. Some also even prefer it to Attack On Titan or Claymore box sets.
Weathering With You: A Review
Visual realism is probably what viewers remember most about Shinkai Makoto’s anime. If you have watched other works like ‘5cm Per Second’, ‘Garden Of Words’, or ‘Your Name’, you’ve probably familiarized yourself with his signature warm and bright visuals, but ‘Weathering With You’ takes it to the next level. The number of details is too overwhelming, and each scene is simply magnificent.
You don’t have to be sharp-eyed to notice the individual crimp marks on the end of squeeze-tube toiletries. There are tiny moss spots that provide texture to the aging sidewalk. Rust streaks on metal signs are lifelike. Even on a blurry background wall, audiences might still pick out a meticulously drawn hotel rate card with services price. As the character walks by, you can see each leaf on shrubs. Everything is way too realistic, and even if you watch it on your TV screen, you will still get lost in the scenery.
It is worth pointing out that this stunning visual serves more than an aesthetic purpose. The backdrops are a reflection of the protagonists’ personalities and moods. In the first half of Weathering With You, Shinkai goes all the way to demonstrate Hodaka’s fascination with rain – the accident at the start of the movie happens because when he is told of the dangerous downpour, he runs into it rather than away from it. The first time he holds a hand up toward the sunlight is in the company of Hina.
The connection between Hina’s lively personality, which spreads lights and warmth around her, and the more literal sunbeams that follow her everywhere is pretty clear. Hina’s mysterious “sunshine girl” ability is a metaphor for the Japanese fascination with youthful energy and good cheer. Her warmth just happens to be the exact thing Kodaka needs, especially in a society overrun by aloof adults with little sympathy and empathy.
In the American film storyline, the idea of two underages finding refuge in each other while the world around constantly tries to tear them apart might turn out to be heavy and outrageous. Weathering With You, however, is much warmer and light-hearted. The way Shinkai Makoto builds Hina’s character and how Kodaka is encouraged by her demeanor to make the movie a youthful tale with bursts of positive uplift at key moments instead of the angsty coming-of-age story it could have been.
Aside from the romance, Weathering With You is unmistakably addressing concerns about climate change. We can see from the start that the environment in the movie is damaged. It menaces Tokyo with gloomy, miserable days, and eventually downpours and flooding. In a movie so obsessed with showing the thin boundary between childhood and adulthood and the way grown-ups afflict and control people on the other side of that line, the message about the future generation paying the price for this generation’s environmental decision is evident. That makes Weathering’s unexpected and daring ending more meaningful.
In the mood for some good anime? You might want to check out Attack On Titan season 4!
Is ‘Weathering With You’ Better Than ‘Your Name’?
Before the release of ‘Weathering With You’, one can’t help but question the similarity between these two movies. Both use stunningly detailed animation to deliver visual pleasure and explore the theme of “an unavoidable barrier between individuals”. Even though they are very much alike, there are enough differences to set Weathering apart.
Right off the bat, ‘Your Name’ proves itself to be a totally unique love story when the two protagonists are placed in each other’s shoes. While it does a great job connecting viewers with the characters, Mitsuha’s backstory is more fleshed out than Taki. Just like Redditor Diechswigalmagee wrote, the movie could be better if it revealed more about Taki and how his character evolves throughout the story. Also, it is a shame that most of the side characters were ignored.
‘Weathering With You’’s plot, on the other hand, is not as dynamic. However, great character developments make up for that. All of them, even the minor ones, are well-developed. Take Keisuke, one of my favorites, for example. He is Hodaka’s melancholy and heartbroken reflection, showing how Hodaka could have been if he didn’t meet Hina.
‘Weathering With You’ is the other side of the ‘Your Name’ coin. The two seem to be similar, but when you delve deeper, you will notice the difference. Weathering is less upbeat, but there is a beauty in the pessimism and how two protagonists find each other in such an unmerciful world. Their surrounding is moving constantly, but they still try to grab that little spark of joy. If you are wondering whether or not you should watch Weathering With You English sub, I’d say it is definitely worth a try.
Where To Watch Weathering With You English Sub?
Weathering With You English sub is available for purchase on Amazon. You can choose a dubbed version as well, but it is best to watch the movie in its original language to fully grasp the Japanese cultural references.
While the message about climate change Shinkai Makoto wanted to deliver is still debatable, the best way to enjoy Weathering With You is to embrace the sensual pleasure of stepping into Shinkai’s fascinating world with Hodaka and Hina. This is the kind of movie where audiences can either flow with the story’s emotions or completely disregard the action and lose themselves in the wonder of imagination. Whatever you choose, it’s a delightful journey to take.