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Weathering With You (2019)

"The summer of his high school freshman year, Hodaka runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo, and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. The weather is unusually gloomy and rainy every day, as if to suggest his future. He lives his days in isolation, but finally finds work as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Then one day, Hodaka meets Hina on a busy street corner. This bright and strong-willed girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky…"

- GKIDS Films

Even after only watching two of his feature films, it is clear Makoto Shinkai truly loves supernatural romance. Throwing two unknowing youths headlong into a mystery or crisis that builds a connection between them that only they can understand.

That isn't to say that Weathering With You is a carbon copy of Your Name. Far from it actually. Hodoka and Hina are very different characters with their trials to overcome. Hodoka, in particular, feels like a very authentic teenage boy. He makes stupid decisions and goes into things without a plan (namely running away from home to live in Tokyo but almost ending up broke and homeless). It is only through the kindness of others that he can pick himself back up. Or even realize this flaw in the first place. That is where Hina comes in. She has had to grow up fast with the death of her mother. She is finding odd jobs so that she can support not just herself but her younger brother, Nagisa. Much like the main leads of Your Name, these two complement each other in a way that makes the bond they form believable Which is tied to a very charming pay off in the film's climax.

Though most anime fans would say that it would be a foregone conclusion that the animation in this film would be amazing (just because it is a Makoto Shinkai film), I do want to point out certain aspects of the film outshine the rest. In my personal opinion, the backgrounds and sets of this movie are the highlights. Despite the fact this is another film set in Tokyo, Weathering With You brings Tokyo alive with various weather shots and heavily detailed sets (my particular favorite being Hina's apartment and the Hotel room). The effects do an excellent job of selling the physical weight of the pounding rainstorms in the film, with a little supernatural flair, of course.

However, out of everything, the ending is what surprised me the most. I won't spoil it, but it ties into the overall message of the film. Reflecting change and how people can either run from it or embrace it. An idea, in particular, that is essential right now.

If you enjoyed Your Name and want a film that follows a similar vein, then this will scratch your itch. While I still consider Your Name my favorite of the two films, I am delighted I had a chance to see this one with or without the Your Name character cameos.




IN A NUTSHELL:  Hope cracks through the rain clouds as two youths take on the world.