Weathering with You, also known as Tenki no Ko, which literally means “Child of Weather” is a 2019 Japanese animated romantic fantasy film produced by CoMix Wave Films and released by Toho. It depicts a high school boy, Hodaka Morishima, who runs away from his rural home to Tokyo and befriends an orphan girl, Amano Hina, who has the ability to manipulate the weather. Of course, this film came out over a year ago, but I recently watched it and could not hold back.
This film was written and directed by Makoto Shinkai who also wrote and directed the popular Your Name (Kimi no Na wa). Anyone who has watched that movie most likely had high expectations for this film — including me. And it can honestly be said that they did not fall short especially since both films are set in the same timeline. They make this clear when they show brief cameos of the main characters of Your Name, who have now grown up.
Weathering with You does an excellent job of not revealing the complete story from the very beginning. You see how Hina gets her powers to clear the rain and are given a small glimpse of what it means in the long run, like when large water puddles appear in the sky. The filmmakers do so to let the viewers know that it comes with a price.
There are tiny details that seem insignificant but end up paying off very well by the end of it. An example of this is when Hodaka finds a gun by a trash can in the beginning of the film. After things escalate and he almost shoots the man who tried to take Hina and use her for sex work, he loses the gun and we think that would be the end of it, but it winds up appearing again. The plot was clear and captivating, and it did well to live up to the fantasy aspect of the genre.
Weathering with You is obviously a mature film since it involves a young boy running away from home. The film takes this seriously and everything is handled the way it should be. He is constantly avoiding collision with the police and it kept me on my toes whenever they appeared on the screen. While Hodaka is not praised in the film for his behavior, they still allow the viewers to understand him and see why he behaves as he does. The characters are well written as well as enjoyable, and the dialogue always felt realistic yet entertaining.
One of the first things that stands out with this film is the ever-fluid and stunning animation. It is clear from every scene and frame that immense time was taken to have it animated. There is a strong usage of natural colors like green and blue throughout the film, and it is always shown in a spectrum and never ceased to have me mesmerized. Of course, as a story that centers around weather, they make visual emphasis on that. From the raindrops to the details of the clouds and the way the colors get brighter after the clouds clear out. The subtle things did not go unnoticed.
In fact, it is noticeable that just about everything in Weathering with You took time and seriousness from the music, to the sound design to the voice acting.
The voice acting felt natural and not even one held back in the way they performed. Of course, it is proper acting when you do not notice that it is acting. It was just the characters.
The soundtrack was also done well, and the film would not have the same feel without it. It was done by the same group that composed for Your Name, RADWIMPS and they did not disappoint.
You would be able to tell when things are tense or joyful. I can even say that the music was an important part of the film that affected how the audience would react especially at the moments when Hodaka went to rescue Hina. In fact, the scene of them falling was probably the most memorable part of the film. It stuck with a lot of viewers and the song used in the scene has millions of streams on different platforms. It was satisfying and the voice acting performance felt so passionate. As they fell, Hodaka told Hina “Who cares if we don’t see the sunshine ever again? I want you more than any blue sky. The weather can go crazy.” The timing of the song used at that moment was perfect. It gave me chills and I was surprised when I noticed tears on my face. It is one of those moments that sticks with you because of how much emotion it is able to evoke.
Overall, this movie was a well-thought-out emotional ride. It is one that I can watch multiple times and take my time to focus on visuals or the story. While it would make sense for viewers to compare this to its sister movie, they are completely different stories, and Weathering with You does well to stand on its own.
If you enjoyed this film or are curious and want to see others like it, Your Name is on top of the list. You can also watch The Garden of Words, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Wolf Children. These movies do not fail to get to a viewer’s emotions while offering stunning visuals.