Weathering with You (2019) – Shine On

Love different distances, different age, different dimension, and different weathers. Makoto Shinkai is a slave to love, really love a unique romance story. But, all of his works aren’t love stories you can get in Hollywood. This is Makoto Shinkai, after the successful hit of “Your Name”, he came across again in this movie about a kid falling in love with the Sunshine Girl. In addition, he really loves Japanese beliefs and myths especially, he uses the method of the rain and sun as its symbolism. Then you got ecocriticism combines with one of the gorgeous animations in 2019.

Makoto Shinkai likes to explore human relations with others. Initially, “Weathering with You” became an ordinary slice of life with quite a lot of modern Japanese satire in Tokyo. For Shinkai, it’s not karma if God never gives sunny weather to Tokyo. Not the kind of style you really want to find like “Se7en“. Every day it rains, obviously, Tokyo never enjoys a sun. For Hodaka (Kotarou Daigo), he tried to settle in Tokyo after being fed up with his parents’ behavior towards him. This sixteen-year-old boy made Tokyo an escape place where he wanted to live independently.

After trying to find employment opportunities to the point of being offered to work as a sex worker, Hodaka found himself saved by a magazine editor. Keisuke (Shun Oguri) likes to write supernatural phenomena. In one of his assignments, Keisuke told Hodaka to look for the existence of the Sunshine Girl. According to a Shinto belief, the Sunshine Girl can manipulate the weather and illuminate the dark side covering the Tokyo sky. The relationship between Hodaka and Hina (Nana Mori) begins, becoming a benchmark for the story; making an upside-down emotion, like a rollercoaster. But, they didn’t know how sad the consequences would be after the sun’s rays hit Tokyo.

So, is “Weathering with You” as good as “Your Name”? It’s not really, but there is so much point “Your Name” isn’t really touched. First, the straightforward plot is not a cheesy text. It’s not like simplicity is everything but it makes this movie unique because of such a plot. Well, I’m not sure if I only need to compare “Your Name” in addition to the many comparatives in this review. But, this movie has a truly, truly extraordinary achievement. This movie discusses the culture of modern Japanese youth, magically, about trust, traditional rituals, and the dark side of Tokyo life.

For Shinkai, he just felt awkward with a compliment he got for “Your Name”. He was really deserved and in “Weathering with You”, he showed a mysticism about the beauty of the weather, a place where the sea is nothing. There is something people have never seen if the sky exceeds what the sea surpassed. And from this film, all were reflections of Tokyo life, never realizing whether it’s rain or sunny, we just never give thanks to God.

“Your Name” is captivating, as is “Weathering with You”. Both of the movies explore star-crossed lovers like different dimensions or different things, myths, traditional beliefs, and narrative gear. There is a contemporary Japanese social commentary or the world about myths we never know how mysterious they are. From its simplicity with complex alike, this movie is just gorgeous and you can see it in every corner. There is so much detail.

The interaction between characters is natural and each character has a personification. Hina is not really a real character but more like a “fiction” in a traditional mythological story. She is magical, fantastic, but also still leaves an essence about the pixie-dreamy girl character like Charlie Kaufman. Likewise “Your Name”, I think Makoto Shinkai and Charlie Kaufman have the same touch about dreams, reality, reflection, and life. The movie doesn’t really have any characters other than Hodaka and Hina but at least has three supporting characters. Oh, did I forget there are easter eggs in this film too? Like in “Your Name”, there is a minor character from “The Garden of Words”, another Shinkai work. But, I don’t want to tell it unless you see it on the internet or just watch it.

The characters don’t give us a background of what and how. It’s just a vivid image, doesn’t fully support what these characters actually do. Hodaka, the main protagonist, didn’t really take or choose actions or choices in front of him. The plot is just trying to encourage the main character to act, waiting so he has the motive of why he exists in the first place. Yet, another sub-plot and third act really, really pushed him fully when the antagonist came. He started acting actively.

Through a force of weather, Tokyo, which used to perceive rain in summer is one of the most strange phenomena and floods is a disaster to be a beautiful story. Simply put, there is a vibe of “The Day After Tomorrow” when the second act climax came. Through sacrifice, this is a dependency. Living with people we love, their happiness is our happiness as well, and the weather is not one of the things it makes our lives stop. Yet, I’m not a fan of a happy ending I guess but it’s acceptable for this movie. There is a point where you want to see Makoto Shinkai’s work again after this movie. What will he write and direct next? A love about what? A black screen starts to close the screen but I’m starting to obsess over RADWIMPS again and drizzle.

This movie is not really complex when comparing it to “Your Name”. This is more straightforward than “Your Name”. “Weathering with You” is a heartwarming and light film, more charming, more lively, and invites a smooth sympathy to the characters. The sound design, the soundtrack, even a cameo, this movie is just amazing. This movie is so thick with local culture, about natural disasters as a fantasy, simple but still lovable. If you want to call this a bad movie, of course, it was because this is not “Your Name”. But, this is “Weathering with You”, a weather love story.

4 out of 5 stars.