‘Weathering with You’ encompasses challenges of life, love

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Humanity vs. nature has never been so extreme and heartwarming.

Makoto Shinkai, director of award-winning Japanese animated film “Your Name,” surpassed his previous creation with his newly released romantic-fantasy film “Weathering with You” produced by CoMix Wave Films.

The film follows Hodaka, a 16-year-old boy who runs away from home to Tokyo in pursuit of a new life. What he didn’t expect when he arrived was to befriend a girl named Hina who’s able to manipulate the weather. As the two become closer and make a business of changing the rainy days in Tokyo into days of sunshine, they start to realize manipulating mother nature doesn’t come without a catch.

The first noticeable aspect of this film is the stunning artwork and animation that displays strong visuals throughout the length of the story. Every frame is breathtaking and full of lushness that will leave you desperately trying to catch every single detail with your eyes. The visuals that stood out the most in the film were the displays of raw emotion in characters and the pristine recreations of Tokyo. 

There was careful attention to detail in every moment, and similar to “Your Name,” “Weathering with You” had exact animated replicas of the locations the story was set in. The streets of Tokyo and the city-wards of Shinjuku and Shibuya were recognizable in the film, it added a sense of realism and nostalgia. The beautiful animation of the food was also flawlessly done. You couldn’t help but feel your mouth water whenever it appeared on screen.

This movie had many characters to fall in love with, Hodaka being one of them. He’s a clumsy, stubborn and sensitive boy who wants to leave home and pursue a new life. We not only see him fall in love with Tokyo, but we also see his relationship develop with multiple characters and how his care for them drives him throughout the rest of the story. He didn’t have anyone to depend on when he first came to Tokyo, but by the end, he had many people he grew to care about, and we were able to see how much that meant to him in scenes such as when he desperately evades police at every turn and runs through the city haphazardly to search for a lost Hina.

It’s pretty clear Hodaka is going to fall for Hina when the audience meets her. She’s a sweet, selfless girl who enjoys making the citizens of Tokyo happy by controlling the weather, making the rain go away for brief times of sunshine. She genuinely loves helping people and making them smile even at the expense of her own energy and time. Not only is she literally a Sunshine Girl in regards to her weather manipulation abilities, but she’s the epitome of it.

What stood out most about this movie was its theme of sacrifice. The theme of a singular character sacrificing themselves for the greater good is not uncommon in films. 

“Weathering with You” took a completely different, refreshing approach to the idea of sacrifice.  We see the idea of choosing the one you love over “the greater good.” We see a glimpse of living through challenges every day as long as you have your loved one by your side, instead of choosing to give up someone important for everyone to live a more relaxed and comfortable lifestyle. 

The idea of choosing a different sort of sacrifice, of choosing a slightly more selfish path that really made the film stand out. It showed that mother nature is not meant to be played with, and making sacrifices to live an easy and sunshine-filled life isn’t natural. 

Life is meant to be full of challenges, and what makes it worth living is having the people we love by our sides to help us through it all. “Weathering with You” fully encompasses this idea, and fully deserves to be fallen in love with.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)