Makoto Shinkai, the visionary director behind the 2015 hit Your Name, returns to bring the new Japanese anime romantic fantasy, Weathering With You to the big screens.
Set in Japan during a period of exceptionally rainy weather, Weathering With You tells the story of a young high school boy named Hodaka Morishima, voiced by Kotaro Daigo, who runs away from his small home town that Hodaka feels is suffocating him, and moves to Tokyo. During his time in Tokyo, Hodaka is hired as a writer by character Keisuke Suga, voiced by Shun Oguri. Blessed with good fortune, Hodaka is lucky to have a boss who not only has given him a job to earn a living, but housing, with the role being a ‘live in job’, where Hodaka no longer has to fret over having a roof over his head.
During Hodaka’s soul searching and struggles being a runaway in Tokyo, he ends up meeting a girl named Hina Amano, voiced by Nana Mori, an orphan who is blessed with powers to manipulate the weather. When the two along with Hina’s little brother Nagi Amano, voiced by Sakura Kiryu, decide to put their heads together to create a business, with Hina helping people have sunny weather, everything seems to be going along swimmingly. That is, until Hodaka discovers that the more Hina uses her powers, they more they add up and come at a cost.
Weathering With You is visually stunning, with some of the most beautiful Japanese animation that I have ever seen. The streets of Japan shown in the anime, actually made me feel nostalgic and miss Tokyo, a place I have loved during my past and most recent travels. The story itself is also beautiful and is perfectly and purposefully written to pull on your heart strings.
Weathering With You is not only visually stunning, but contains a consistent narrative that is equipped with exceptionally flawless voice acting and believable performances. I have been a fan of actor Shun Oguri for years since his Hana Yori Dango days, yet did not even recognise his voice when he was voicing his character Keisuke Suga. But when it comes to voice acting, I personally believe that voice actors need to put on a character, which the Japanese animation industry are doing right. This is unlike the Western market, where studios just hire big names who, when ‘voice acting’, merely just sound like themselves.
Weathering With You is without a doubt impressive and deserving of all the attention and hype that it gets. Ticking all the boxes, I would not be surprised if it was successful in winning multiple awards. Despite the fantasy genre, I did not find it hard to connect with the characters while they took me on an emotional rollercoaster. I would highly recommend checking this film out while you can. It truly is a masterpiece that both Makoto Shinkai and Japan should be proud of.