Tenki no Ko (Weathering With You) is a romance for the eyes
When Kimi no Na Wa (Your Name) hit theaters, there was a clamor to watch it. For the first time in a long time, an original anime—not a live action of a classic, not a remake—was at the forefront of everyone’s attention. It was everywhere I looked: Instagram stories, Facebook newsfeeds, online articles—even from people I knew weren’t into the genre. And after watching the feature, I understood why.
Your Name was something different; it elevated the anime series I watched as a child and the movies I encountered along the way. It was breathtaking to watch and the story was grounded yet (almost literally) out of this world. Which is why, when I heard that director Makoto Shinkai was working on Tenki no Ko (Weathering With You) and that it would be released in our cinemas, I was on board.
Weathering With You is the story of Hodaka Morishima (Kotaro Daigo), a teenage boy who runs away to Tokyo from his hometown. In the capital, the weather has been desolate, making it that much harder for Hodaka to get by. But he powers through, finds a job and eventually meets Hina Amano (Nana Mori), an orphaned girl responsible for her younger brother.
At their second encounter, Hina exposes herself as a Sunshine Girl—the chosen one who is able to control the weather, essentially providing Tokyo with cloudless skies. Both in need of the money, Hodaka and Hina make a business of her powers, of which they painfully realize has consequences.
It is, essentially, one heck of a coming-of-age love story that is brilliant and aesthetically pleasing to watch unfold.
Anime as an art form
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Weathering With You is proof that anime is an art form that deserves more attention. The artists who painstakingly worked on the film captured Toyko with the respect that the city deserves, from the exact locations and designs to how the rain falls and dances against someone’s cheek.
You cannot talk about anime as an art form without talking about the soundtrack that accompanies Weathering With You. Did I understand the lyrics? Of course not; but I did appreciate the melodies. The film proves that musical score is not just some afterthought as a last ditch effort to evoke more #feels; sometimes, it completely makes the scene.
Telling a story is not just for story’s sake
The brilliance of Weathering With You is not just in its animation; it’s in the story that it tells and the very real themes that it touches, albeit seemingly lightly. At face value, it’s about two teenagers finding love for the first time and completely being enveloped in it. It’s about finding that home you always search for and a family you learn to love and adore and trust. But if you take two seconds to think about it, there’s so much more beneath the coming-of-age aspects.
It touches on the urbanization problem that Tokyo (and every other major city in the world) experiences. It discusses what we as humans have done to our environment and how Mother Nature can scarily fight back and easily claim what is hers. But most of all, the film dares us to imagine a life where we have to live with the decisions we make and how we have nothing to do but live with the consequences that follow.
At every turn, the animation asks: What is the right decision? And who is it right for?
But it isn't just with our two protagonists that we experience lessons to be learned. Those closest to them, each one with their own backgrounds and issues and sadness, have something to tell us. And maybe it's in this aspect that Weathering With You shines the most: every person offers up something different, each one has something to say. Look closely enough and you will notice bouts of loss, bargaining for change and what doors will open when you choose to move forward.
The comparisons to Your Name are inevitable; but, even then, Weathering With You does not fail. The rollercoaster of emotions it displays requires less understanding of love, but it’s still a wonderful story to see blossom. It isn’t just about Hina and Hodaka and the lives they live and the hope they eventually root in each other. It’s about that domino effect, accepting the results and finding peace with our decisions.
Weathering With You premieres in Philippine cinemas on August 28, 2019.