Weathering with You otherwise known as Tenki no Ko is a film by Makoto Shinkai, the guy known for making star-crossed lover films a hit with modern realism and a bit of magic. In this article, I want to go over the movie and lay out my review and opinion on this great film that showcases life from a unique perspective with what seems like a magical twist.
Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers! These are my opinions about the movie and a simple analysis of it.
There might be some grammar mistakes, but I don't have much time to proof-read.
Weathering With You:
So Weathering With You is another great film that has actually left people disappointed, but I can see that for the average viewers, they do not see the point the movie is trying to make... If you haven't seen or heard of the movie: then you are missing out on life. Check out this trailer and make time to watch it!
The film was released in 2019 in Japan, and then in 2020 to North America. Although the movie has been released for almost half a year now, it is still being shown in theaters. I believe this is one of the first movies that has a long-running release in theaters related to Anime (probably not true, but for me, it feels like so).
I made a low-effort edited video review on the movie. I really enjoyed putting it together and voicing my own opinion in contrast to the other reviews out there. I feel like, the people didn't really do their reviews justice or actually know what Makoto Shinkai is thinking or trying to do. I'm a follower of his work and I respect the decisions he chooses to incorporate different elements in his films, especially with the overall purposes in each film.
I know the video is long, but that's just how it's going to be because I don't have time to properly write and edit videos: it's not even worth my time, but I enjoy it, and that's all there is to it. Also, I know the video isn't organized and my thought seems scattered through-out but, if you still cannot make sense of what I'm trying to convey, it's basically that Weathering with You is actually a character-plot driven movie that conveys a theme that life has always been crazy no matter what you do, and just go out there and do what you think is right (it's also mentioned in the movie itself, lol)! Lastly, many people seem to not be entertained by the movie, but Makoto says like why do you watch his movies? Because he's not trying to entertain you, he's trying to show you the actual society and meaningful life lessons with a little bit of magic. So please, if you liked it a lot please subscribe to me, I want 1,000 subs :(
Similarly, what I forgot to mention in the video, is that Natsumi in Weathering with You is like the younger version of the female love interest in The Garden of Words. You should be able to figure it out now.
In-Relation to Past Works:
Before I go into the actual movie, I wanted to relate it to Makoto Shinkai's past films. Also, since I'm lazy I want to source Wikipedia in the below table:
As you can see, he has only made about a dozen films, but each is focused on a good story followed by great music and stunning visuals. Now in relation to Weathering with You (I'm just going to get right into it): I feel like the movies that made this show great is because of his past movies. Most notably, for the genre he aims for, most of the time, which are Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, 5 Cm/s, The Garden of Words, and Your Name. I feel like this movie was a continuation of all the individual problems that made up this movie.
I feel like Makoto wanted to concentrate on his specialty, and I feel like he has figured out the link or purpose he was always conveying in all those films, but couldn't figure it out at the time. And this is the essence of time and life itself: the chaoticness. However, I feel like the characters in Weathering With You, could be a more complete set of what The Garden of Words was supposed to end up as, but with a happy ending and a great purpose to learn from. Why?
Both films, The Garden of Words and Weathering with You, both symbolize rain and chaoticness, the feeling of emotions that are muddled, and basically all negative emotions. To me, it is almost related to real life, because rain is a phenomenon people naturally want to avoid and seek warmth and shelter. This is what the purpose was for Weathering with You. I will connect the dots in the final section, so if you are interested so far, just read on.
Before The Storm:
Before we go into the movie, let's go over the characters:
I'm sourcing myanimelist for the character information.
Firstly, I want to go over the character, Keisuke Suga, I feel like his character and personality is a leftover representation of the male character in The Garden of Words. Because there are some scenes and shots that felt similar and I think even the part about the Shrine Tower and the Skyscraper shot near the end of The Garden of Words is where great symbolism clashes with differences. Okay, let me explain it later because I want you to remember those scenes of Hodaka confronting Keisuke with the gun near the end.
Towards the beginning of the movie, we see a kid escaping the stale life of the country-side wanting to experience the city and whatnot. For this beginning, it seems like life is already starting out on the wrong foot. In story elements, we have a stranger entering a known place to us, the watchers. Because it's common for these kinds of story elements to introduce characters and that is what this movie used.
Now, compared to Your Name, we didn't have this unknown in the story, because the story came from a supernatural standpoint, and it was about building up to the finale more than discovering the plot and finding the solution. This is why in hindsight, Weathering with You isn't that simple when it comes to story, because there is actually none at all.
For a short beginning, we see the main girl, Hina, in the hospital because her mom is about to pass away, but we don't really remember this scene because it is forgettable. Until, after we find out how she is and became the sunshine girl. Now, I think that information is Hina's foreshadowing later in the movie: it isn't that great but it's there because she later mentions that to Hodaka, which is needed information for the ending scenes (police part).
Anyways, the main kid gets to Tokyo and experiences lots of difficulties as one might expect, but I like how each detail in the movie was also highlighting the unique animation style which is Makoto's signature style. I really loved it, especially the night time scenes of him walking around trying to find a job! Oh, the struggle of finding a job today is real.
This is only just the beginning, and of course, Makoto is trying to create a story, which is a temporary problem of Hodaka's inability to even get a job since he's technically still a kid (please don't run away from home, or at least contact the police, man life sucks even then, it's crazy).
So until we get to the part where Hodaka is at McDonald's getting a burger we are later introduced to the "love interest", but we still do not have a story.
The Eye of The Storm:
Once we are aware of the other supporting characters like Natsumi and Keisuke, we are actually at the eye of the story, or the height of where a story starts to form. You see that symbolism, huh, thanks. Hodaka is finally introduced to more people, that have problems that actually contribute to his own in a way. We also can see a relation of Keisuke to the main character of The Garden of Words which is, Takao Akizuki, who has similar morals and values as Hodaka: they both wanted to become mature and live on their own and mature quickly. Which, is what seriously got to me while watching Weathering with You. Because Takao and Hodaka are legit the same age (yes, but Takao is more manly), and I was like, man this is like The Garden of Words, but it's getting fleshed out more to an actual solution and at such great timing. Because many youth today are lost, and I feel like Makoto wanted to express some life lessons to those youth that are depressed, sad, and lost.
Afterwards, once Hodaka realizes that he has found the sunshine girl, Hina (she is adorable, right?) also Happy Twin-Tail day!, he notices that people want sunshine, and they start to make a business... This is where the story or the character-driven plots start to dry up, but of course, Makoto has to throw in some extra curveballs.
Calming of The Soul:
The characters seem to have settled in with each other, and everyone seems happy. Keisuke is able to meet his daughter, despite some awry decisions he has made in his life (he smokes, and people don't smoke for NO reason :), please don't smoke), but even Natsumi seems to start being able to get job interviews and it showcases the process of even struggling young adults or adults in general. You see what the purpose is here? Even if you are in your youth and want to grow up quick you will still be faced with challenges that are crazy! It doesn't matter, so take your time! As long as you make progress, you will be alright, okay?
Natsumi doesn't complain and she has perseverance in trying to live her life, and even though Hodaka doesn't know of her problems, they actually have similar situations, and that's a beautiful contrast of character and showing how crazy the world is no matter what age you are.
Now, aside from that mini-relation, Hina and Hodaka's business together is going pretty great and they are helping so many, people, but things start to go downhill once again for our characters. It is easy to mistake this movie for a star-crossed lovers theme, but trust me, there is little to no romance or any sign of actual commitment to love her. It's just Hodaka crushing on her, and it isn't even certain, because the biggest highlight as yet to come in the movie. Makoto just added the romance, because it's a nice touch, but it's actually not necessary.
The Revelation of Today:
Now, towards the end, after everything is starting to become crazy. Like Hodaka is getting arrested and everything, Hina is disappearing, everything is going crazy. It's a bit hectic, and many viewers start getting confused, which is the intention I feel like Makoto is trying to get at, but in the end, you can see that the main goal of the movie is the revelation that the world you are living in was always crazy. Because I don't know about you, but in school, I was taught that the world was great, the law is good, people are good, and whatever, but NO. The world is crazy and messed up, once you are a bit grown up like Natsumi. Like it's so beautiful because Makoto shows each stage of an actual living human in the movie! Here let me outline:
Nagi Amano: Literally a young kid doing what young kids seem to do: trying to be popular and cool
Hina Amano and Hodaka Morishima: They want to grow up fast and make a living and be happy, but think life will be better when they are older.
Natsumi: NOPE, life is pretty challenging trying to get a job and survive.
Keisuke Suga: He thought he had it all when he had a stable income, a wife, and kids, but he ended up this way (this is actually quite dark in some ways, but it can happen)
The Grandma: The grandma that Taki is taking care of, is already showing that obviously what more can they do than to offer to take care of their granddaughter or cousin, etc.
The movie hit's all points and even though it is bland, that's life. Except, for the magical twist of the rain and the sunshine girl powers of prayer. This is where I believe Makoto, did fall short on, but I believe he chose the sunshine theme is because that's the only way rain doesn't happen, is if there is sunshine and it also symbolizes:
The sun has been a symbol of power, growth, health, passion and the cycle of life in many cultures and religions throughout time. Some believe it is a representation of the higher self, while others see the sun as a god to be worshiped.
Right after the police scenes and Hodaka realizes that Hina is actually almost the same age as him (he thought she was 18 or so), he mans up and becomes courageous. I mean, to defy the police, is a bold move, and it is kind of true in some sense to real life, that even police misinterpret situations all the time (almost similar to the events of Hong Kong). However, I believe this part of the character-driven plot is a bit unrealistic for most people, however, it does happen, and it's like the worst of most horrible feelings, for example, you go to jail for something you didn't do or not know much of the consequences of (like running away from home).
So when Hodaka is running to the tower at the final scene, I felt like that was where the main purpose of the movie is exposed and it even says the quote about life being crazy, which didn't click for me immediately until after I recollected my thoughts after the movie.
Now, for the final scene of when Hodaka pointed the gun towards Keisuke (that's scary, I do not encourage that), in relation to The Garden of Words. It signifies that Hodaka has actually grown-up in a similar fashion to The Garden of Words guy, Takao, because in the end, they were able to have firm strength and confidence in what they believe (for Hodaka it was pointing a gun, but that's a bit scary). For Takao it was to return to his shoemaking and make a pair of shoes for the girl he likes but actually never sees again (he also pursues a career). That part of the movie was not really the main purpose, but it was just added in there for the little romantic effect and admiration to complete the movie to end happily (as you later see, that everything goes back to "normal" and the 3 year time skip).
A quick mention, the praying part to have sunshine, and then spirits and going up into the clouds, isn't actually like magical, that's probably more of the symbolism of emotions when you are alone in success. I feel like, because Hina was sacrificed as part of the folklore for the movie, it was more of a way to show attachment and uncertainty of nature itself even when one is in the sunshine (like rich, etc.). But to be fair, it was mostly used as an element to drive the story for Makoto's sake.
Ah, now for the flaws in the movies... Yes, some things such as the shrine with the folklore and the sacrifice (the part where Hina is in the clouds), lightning strikes, the police's actions, the rain, and huge flood are questionable throughout the movie, but I believe they were the added magical touch, and cannot be explained in detail.
Lastly, to piece the movie together and this analysis together is that people do tend to feel and do better when there is sunshine outside, and things do become chaotic when it rains (more car crashes, etc.). Then in real life, even though bad things do happens all the time, no matter what age you are in life, just know that whenever you feel the confidence to do something you think is right, you should just do it, even if it's sunshine or rain.
Reviews and Analysis:
On Google Reviews, I read a good amount of them, but this person: Yogesh Karunakaran, left a review that I highly align and agree within most parts. Let me share with you what this person wrote (all credits to Yogesh):
This movie is the "Fireworks" movie which is a million times better than what everyone had wanted and wished for, which is also on an another level from 'Your Name' in terms of its message and connection it has with its audience. I walked into the cinema, sat down and saw all these amazing scenes with Hina. Then I got blasted with gushes of emotion and tension instantly with the Theme of Weathering with You. There is no OP, but it might as well be as good as Your Name with Yumetourou. It felt very grand and it contrasted well when Hodaka was the focus. One major consensus of the movie is that not only did the Japanese audiences resonate with the movie, Hong Kong audiences seem to resonate with the story even more. I am from HK and I also felt this connection with these conflicts and messages and how it accurately reflected our own society. This movie is what the youth needed in Hong Kong, a sign telling them "This world was already messed up, so do whatever you feel is right!" I got the lucky chance to see it and all I can say is this movie is definitely not what I expected it to be. It's not a love story, it's about a boy and a girl who are dealing with devastating events on their own and who have been met with serious moral conflicts. Their ways of resolving these issues leads to the final act where they [insert something big and impactful]. Nearly every single named character has a say and are faced with moral conflicts, it is extremely thought provoking and touching. Edit: I rewatched it and I realised Keisuke (the middle-aged guy) has a really nice story and it added to the story as a neat little subplot that contrasts Hodaka's storyline. Shinkai is getting older and I feel like he relates to this character the most, because his problems and conflicts are very grounded, unlike what Hodaka is dealing with. It felt like two short stories crossing over one another. Kinda like 5 cm/s with separate stories but is instead in one big timeline. However, Keisuke's story could have use 5-10 minutes more screen time. My only suggestion for Shinkai is to evolve the third act into an even more extreme moral conflict and to tweak the ending so that the audience feel the impact of what happened even more. Otherwise, art style is on point, I couldn't tell if it was a video or hand-drawn animation for certain scenes. The voice actors are superb. The messages, themes and symbolism used are so incredibly deep yet simple. However, do note there will be references that the ordinary non-Japanese (and non-Chinese viewer) wouldn't understand, and you might lose a few good laughs because of it. The concept of hareonna didn't translate well in subbed English (I think). Also minor spoiler for Your Name fans: Apparently a lot of Your Name's characters appeared in the movie. Maybe these movies exist in the same world, Shinkai Cinematic Universe? Edit: I rewatched and here is what you have to take notice of. - When Hodaka goes shopping, Mitsuha is the salesperson. She has a name tag which says "Miyamizu" This is hard to miss. - Taki could be seen with an old woman. Nothing confirms that he is indeed Taki. This is extremely hard to miss because it's actually a part of the story.
While I mostly agree with the above, I feel like he has also kind of missed the point, but his review seems quite analyzed so I added it.
Now, most of the other reviews on other websites seem to gloss over the purpose of this movie and keep comparing it to Your Name, but I just feel like they didn't review the movie correctly at all... I hope you like my analysis, and I respect everyone's analysis as well, but I mostly disagree with most of the low ratings because, from my understanding, the movie does so much more than just tell a story.
Also here is a snippet of one review from myanimelist that I really liked! Thanks to the user, anime_feels:
The aspect Makoto Shinkai has always struggled with has taken yet another step back, as the story was filled with plot holes, things just happening to make the story move along, and failed to create a good pace or flow.
The story as usual centers around a shy high school boy who is awkward around girls and feels unsatisfied with life. Then he meets a girl that changes this through some sort of magical encounter that revolves around Shinto religion (Japan's major religion alongside Buddhism) in an attempt to justify the supernatural aspect of the film.
The story also has no real meaning or message to it and is just meant to be fun to watch, with the main theme being "forbidden love," basically a love story that the world is preventing, but the characters persevere in an attempt to be together.
I could write an essay about why the plot and story were not very good, but heading into the movie I expected that. The part that was the most disappointing was the lack of great scenes. Shinkai's other works have stories and plots equally as bad, but a number of great scenes or moments make up for it. This movie felt like a buildup for the majority of the time, making the movie extremely boring to watch. Then the climax is visually incredible and pairs really well with the song that plays, but is a very generic anime scene that I've seen since the early Studio Ghibli films with nothing particularly interesting or special going on.
The lack of things tying back to other parts of the story was also extremely disappointing. There was very little foreshadowing or even little occurrences that would be mentioned later to make a scene more emotional. For all the plot setup this movie had, it should have been able to include more details during that time so that some of the more grand, emotional scenes would feel... well, emotional and grand.
And finally, the comedy was not funny at all. Being in a packed theater with over 300 people, I figured someone would laugh... at least once. But that was how bad the comedy was. Usually a theater will have someone who forces themselves to laugh at every joke, but the jokes were just simply not funny at all.
One of the most well animated anime in terms of visuals that I have ever seen. Is it my favorite style? No, as their aren't really any sakuga showcases (moments when the quality of the animation improves drastically), and the animation is not particularly creative.
But the details and the overall animation quality is at another level. If you have read the plot or watched any trailers of Tenki no Ko, you would know that many scenes need to look like time lapses, as the landscape of the city goes from pouring rain to a sunny day in a matter of seconds. These scenes look absolutely stunning, and the beauty as well as the details of Tokyo's landscape is a pleasure to see.
The food as usual looks mouthwatering, the insert shots of the city are beautiful, and the detail taken to animate each and every drop of rain is simply amazing. A good amount of camera movement and never just holding on a single shot for an extended period of time shows that there was no laziness when it came to the visuals and the visual direction. It's a shame that the rest of the movie fails to be as good as the visuals. It's like a video game in which you max out only one or two stats and have nothing left for the other parts.
While the movie does have a couple of great songs, it fails to have a great instrumental OST (original soundtrack). A good deal of the non-vocal music in the show was just the piano cover of some of the main songs. However, the songs were really good, and they played at the right times and fit the movie well.
The characters were simply generic and uninteresting. This is a usual in Shinkai films, but usually the characters are more relatable, making them more likable. But in this case, since the story was so supernatural and also dealt with aspects of life that most people have never gone through, it made the characters not just boring but also unlikable, and by the end of the movie I really did not care about any of them.
We have the light and cheerful girl with no personality beyond that. The young, awkward boy who wants to do something with his life. The slightly older girl that's simply there to look pretty. The dude in a mid life crisis. The sibling that's just kind of there. And a bunch of other side characters that are plot devices. Characters are so important in a slice of life, and the failure to have likable, relatable characters really brought down the enjoyment of the movie for me.
In conclusion, having seen this movie in the theater, this should about wrap up the movie:
-No one laughed
-No one cried
-No one cheered or got excited
-No one clapped at the end
Tenki no Ko is worth seeing just for the visuals and soundtrack, but for me it was 1 hour and 54 minutes that can only be described as a complete mess and for the most part boring to watch.
At first, before watching the movie, I read this person's review and I was skeptical at first, but I decided to watch the movie myself. Although his points are relatively valid, that's it they are relatively valid. I also think the characters aren't meant to be relatable, it's showcasing people so you know that people actually have these everyday struggles. This person sounds like they have a great set up life (and they didn't work hard at something they believe in). They can't relate to finding a job? or losing a spouse? (or at least witness) I mean all those things are in life, so I have to disagree with anime_feels on many of those points. The thing is, this movie isn't trying to entertain you, it's showing you what actual life is. People like the girl, which is Hina, they act like that in real life (look at some cultures where girls pretend to be happy and etc, they have bland personalities, but in reality, they are also sad and struggling, which Hina clearly shows later in the movie). If you didn't know that, I feel like they haven't experienced life at all. There are more parts, but I don't want to counter-argue his review, because it is fair, but I disagree in most parts.
Most definitely, I would recommend this movie to everyone, but not everyone likes anime or Japanese animation because of personal taste, but if they made a live-action of this film for other people to watch, I still think it would be a great film. I give it a 9.5/10 because the purpose and theme of the movie are actually more meaningful than Your Name in my opinion.
[A faint clap of thunder
Even if rain comes not
I will stay here
Together with you]
Takao in The Garden of Words
Wow, it's so cold lately, I was freezing just typing this out -w-/
Thank you for reading this article! Happy Chinese New Year and I hope to see you around again, have a fantastic day~