I normally don’t hesitate to post reviews of films, but I have a feeling that “天気の子”(Tenki no ko) is going to be a bit polarizing for some people. I know that the film isn’t slated for international release until 2020. So I won’t be going to in-depth or spoilers for this blog post. I want to keep expectations low for this particular commentary actually. I will keep this 100% spoiler free because of timing between Japan and international releases.
Now, you can imagine gathering up the girl squad to drive two hours to the nearest theatre to see this was quite the adventure in and of itself. Not to mention on the weekend, the theaters were packed already and even at the second weekend since release! We settled down with popcorn and snacks in hand, and watched.
The premise of Tenki no Ko (literally Weather Child, I like Weathering With You way better), is a simple but well developed idea. Hodoka is a high school freshmen who has run away from home, via a boat. While on the boat, he meets a mysterious stranger named Keisuke who he ends up indebted to briefly. Without much of a plan, Hodoka ends up in Japan, which is perpetually in the rainy season. He ends up at the end of his limits, when he meets a mysterious girl named Hina. After meeting her he ends up working for the occult magazine that Keisuke runs. Of course, by chance and circumstance Hodoka is on the trail of the 100% hare onna, or a girl who is 100% clear weather girl. Who he has no idea if a) she exists and b) how close she might be to him…
In terms of plot, this film reads very similar to “Kimi no Na wa”(KnNw). Obviously, a boy meets girl, girl may or may not have some surreal elements to her life, set in Tokyo, the list goes on. This is not going to be KnNw the second, like a lot of commentators have already banked on for better or worse. I say this very pointedly, because if you keep building it up in your head; you’re going to be disappointed. A know quite a few younger fans, who had been hooked by KnNw in theaters expressed as so.
All that being said, “Weathering with You”, does stand on its own two feet most of the time in terms of plot, and execution. Makoto Shinkai had expressed that “Weathering With You” is a film he feels much better about the direction and execution of premise then previous works. That sentiment expresses shows in the film, especially in terms of animation.
There are lots of cheats to creating weather in anime, in fact I recommend reading Irina’s article to get a better idea of good verses bad weather. Of course, Toho has taken the time to do it and do it the best. Given that the film is centered around the perpetual rainy season in Japan; the rain has to be as expressive as the characters. It’s a key detail to the execution of the film and I think while incredibly subtle is the true indicator of the new direction of Shinkai Makoto.
Additionally, the animation as a whole will meet your prior expectations. There’s so many excellant details in the way the characters move, water moves, and so much more. Not a bad frame in sight or in my memory.
While I would love to talk characters, I think doing so would fall immediately into spoiler territory. I know that personally, I did find myself drawn to all the main cast just as much as before. For all the Makoto Shinkai film buffs there are a few easter egg moments as well, which I think will go over incredibly well with international audiences.
It would be regrettable if I didn’t at least comment on the soundtrack. Makoto Shinkai once again brought on the band RADWIMPS to provide the majority of the soundtrack. The band is incredibly talented and the main theme is now forever linked to Kyoto Animations arson, it does serve a powerful message in the film as well. I would also argue it helps ground “Weathering With You” to KnNw, but as more as transitional bridge from one film to another, verses linking the two. Im very curious if Shinkai will continue to recruit RADWIMPS for future projects.
Despite my attempt at being brief, I am still clocking in around 800 words for this article. Whoops. So getting down to the nitty gritty, do I recommend “Weathering With You”?
Absolutely, its an incredibly well executed film that will appeal to new and old fans, and even to those who aren’t into anime! I just again, for the millionth time emphasize especially for KnNw fans to not, absolutely not walk in with the idea of its going to be be KnNw 2.0. It’s a separate film with a separate motivation for being created, please give it the consideration as such.
I know a lot of peers haven’t seen this film yet, but are you hype? Indifferent? How do you think having to follow up a smash hit like KnNw might affect the production team? Very curious to read your thoughts!