Weathering With You (Tenki no Ko, 2019)
Starring Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori
Written and Directed by Makoto Shinkai
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90% (As of February 2020)
The hotly-anticipated follow up to Makoto Shinkai’s record-breaking Your Name delivers the grand style of teen romance that he has become famous for, but doesn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessor.
Set in Tokyo, Japan, the story follows Hodaka, a young high-schooler who has run away from his island home. On the way to the city via ferry, he is nearly knocked over by a freak storm but is saved by a shady businessman, who gives him his card. As the kid struggles to live in the city, he calls the man and begins to work for his company, investigating stories of the occult. Eventually, he crosses paths with Hina, a young girl with a secret power that transforms both of their lives, for better and worse.
Since discovering the wonderful film that is Your Name, we’ve had the pleasure of enjoying many of Shinkai’s works throughout his career. Despite having a consistent fantasy theme, the majority of his stories do feel predominantly rooted in a reality that you can connect with.
Perhaps as a result of the success of Your Name, Weathering With You feels like a much more fantastical story than his other films. The majority of the story revolves around Hina and her mythical abilities – an enjoyable story, but one that doesn’t have the same sense of humanity usually associated with Shinkai’s films. At times, that side of the story felt like something of a distraction, not quite bursting with fun and not quite having the humility that fills the main character’s story.
Check out our review of Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name!
Beyond that, however, this film delivers everything that makes his work so enjoyable. The story if full of really well created characters that are multi-dimensional but also easy to get on board and connect with. The relationships throughout this story also feel incredibly real and vivid, creating a whole host of enjoyable characters, more so than in previous Shinkai films.
One thing that is hard to dispute is the sheer beauty of this picture’s animation. In keeping with other Shinkai films, Weathering With You features a kaleidoscope of colours holding an unnatural vividness that sparks joy. The visuals of this series are also incredibly imaginative, bursting with the creativity that makes animation such an enjoyable medium. It’s the type of story and experience that you just can’t imagine finding in any other form!
Overall, Weathering With You is a very enjoyable experience that delivers the joy, intrigue and young romance that you expect from a Shinkai film. Unfortunately for this good film, it is released after what will likely go down as the acclaimed director’s greatest work, which was always going to be hard to follow.
Produced with big blockbuster budget and ambitions, Weathering With You attempts something more dramatical than Your Name. However, at times this distracts from what makes you love these films in the first place, the strength of honest young love. Yes, Weathering With You is a great teen romance that deserves your attention, but the reality is that it’s not as good as the predecessor it tries to follow.
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