Makoto Shinkai is a well-known name in the anime industry today, whose work is described as a stunningly visualised piece of cinema. He came under the bright attentions of the cinephiles and film enthusiasts with his 2016 release ‘Your Name’. A romantic fantasy showcasing the genuine birth of love between a teenage couple. The movie was filled with gorgeous frames and engaging story which helped it to reach new global heights making it the highest ever grossing anime film on an international scale.
'Weathering With You' comes from the same artistic hands exhibiting another teenage romance with a dash of fantasy. Shinkai has always picked this genre with an idea to revolutionise it in an unthinkable manner. He amazes his audience with the same realistic school-going teenagers as the protagonists of his movies with something new added to the story every time which makes it more and more delightful every time you sit and watch through it.
The art that Shinkai carries of vividly imagining the surroundings of his characters and visualising locations that display the flawless resonance with the actuality of modern Japan is what sets him apart from other directors working today. Shinkai uses the same art of filling Weathering with You with stunning spectacles both above and below the clouds.
The story revolves around Hina, a mysterious girl with a younger brother but no adult guardian as her family. Hina is a small, pretty girl with a constant bright grin on her face, she has a strange power though. Hina can disperse heavy dark clouds in the sky to make the sun come out again. This is used in the film by two runaways in love to defy a stormy monsoon which has taken over the city of Tokyo. The other runaway being Hodaka, a regular teenage guy wandering the streets of Tokyo who has birthed feelings for Hina and follows her everywhere until she notices him and the bond between them is originated. The film is all about these two characters and their richly detailed environment in the grey canvas of the film which, is time to time struck by a beam of light when the sun tries to overpower the hoards of clouds.
The characterisations filled this film with the newness of the teenage romance and stages of infant love. Where you see Hodaka almost drowning in a storm and struggling to fill something into his empty stomach and a place to live, you see a completely unrelated Hina running towards to beam of sunlight like a moth toward a flame, bathed in sunlight appearing almost like Amaterasu, the sun goddess. This gives the impression of duality that Shinkai never forgets to decorate his films with and the juxtaposition that anime is fundamentally famous for.
Shinkai has narrated most of this film from Hodaka's point of view giving the touch of realism as a boy flees his home without a plan and penniless pockets, in search of shelter, makes a new friend along the way and inevitably falling in love. Still what's fresh in this is shown by the blank-faced adults reminiscing the time when they're allowed to go out and interact in the real world with no fear of drowning, the life devoid of catastrophe.
The only upsetting aspect of this animated supernatural romantic saga is how the film puts Hodaka at the front with his story and reflections of his struggling life while completely overshadowing Hina's character despite her prowess of halting overwhelming rain from completely flooding the city of Tokyo. The fact that Shinkai uses Hina as a contemporary character primarily to reflect Hodaka's anxieties and used as a filler in what seems like Hodaka's life goal of working on his self-image in order to overcome the city's general indifference led by the clueless adults makes the Weathering With You a little uncomfortable but just from one aspect of it.
But then, the way Shinkai and his animators have used the grin on Hina's face to mirror the sunshine that she brings just by folding her hands is quite praiseworthy and makes the film overall satisfying. His characteristically graceful use of computer-generated graphics to give a heavenly touch to the city of Tokyo makes the movie a delicious cuisine to enjoy. Lauds to Shinkai’s gifted storytelling that Hodaka’s story seems real enough while you’re experiencing it with him.
“Weathering With You” may not surpass “Your Name”, but it is an exciting confirmation that there are many more masterpieces filled with stunning spectacles, as the trademark of Shinkai, are coming our way in the future.
If you haven't watched ‘Weathering With You’ already, it's time to go for it. It's Blu-ray and DVD editions are out. You can visit our previous article about ordering the CD right now, and order it on the link provided in the article.
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