“Weathering with you” is the most recent masterpiece animé by Japanese director Makoto Shinkai, whose name became famous in 2016 after the enormous success of his critically-acclaimed international hit “Your Name”.
The action of this movie is set in Tokyo (Japan), where the rain is so dense, and lasts for such a long time that it almost embodies its own character centerpiece as well as it awfully bums the Tokyoites. It is a constant deluge, a drencher, a flood.
That gushing fact sets the mood from the beginning of “Weathering with you”, when a tired and starving 16 year old runaway, Hodaka, lands in an unwelcoming capital. The story doesn’t tell why he ran away from his remote island but a fortuitous encounter on the ferry with Keisuke, an adult who runs an occult magazine, will prove to be useful.
After a few days of struggling in the maze of a metropolis filled with gangsters and meanies, Hodaka is offered room and board in exchange for an intern job at Keisuke’s basement apartment, a place he shares with his puckish niece, Natsumi.
The constant interviews and articles temporarily set the tempo of Hodaka’s life, until a pivotal turn of event occurs when our teenage hero bumps – literally – into Hina, a barely-older-than-him girl whose independent spirit will make Hodaka lose his heart for her in less days that it took to create the world.
The two start bonding like 3 peas in a pod (the girl has a younger brother, Nagi, already “a ladies’ man” by Hodaka’s definition) and viewers soon discover that Hina has a wonderful power: using hers prayers, she is capable of making the clouds disappear while calling out for sunshine.
The three kids are broke and after a quick website set up, generous bookings start pouring from locals wanting to solicit Hina’s weatherly abilities to secure a sunny flee market for their business here, or a rain-free fun afternoon for their daughter in the park there.
More floods and several police chases ensue until the movie climaxes, reaching its most dramatic twist. A mysterious curse is cast upon all maidens of the weather and Hina is now in great danger.
“Weathering with you” is visually stunning in the great tradition of Japan animation studios like Ghibli and has a pace of runaway horses galloping for their lives. In an era of climate changes happening all over the world, the movie is also an opportunistic reminder, exposing the risks of darker times that may come.
“Weathering With You” (2019) – Running Time: 111 minutes – In selected theaters near you.