Weathering with You
- James Mottram
- 13 January 2020
Makoto Shinkai follows smash hit anime Your Name with a romantic, eco-themed adventure
Japanese animation maestro Makoto Shinkai follows his 2016 mega hit Your Name with a tale of adolescent romance destined to chime with climate change campaigners. Set in a beautifully rendered Tokyo, the story begins with Hodaka (voiced by Kotaro Daigo), a 16-year-old runaway who leaves his island home for the big city.
On the way in, during a typhoon no less, he meets with the older Suga (Shun Oguri), who somewhat fortunately offers this waif a job and a roof over his head. Suga just so happens to be the editor of a cult magazine devoted to weird and wonderful true-life tales. Soon enough, Hodaka is buzzing around the city interviewing potential subjects.
It's on one of these stories that he meets with orphan Hina (Nana Mori), a young girl who appears to have the ability to stop rain showers at will. Dubbed the 'Sunshine Girl', she begins to use her powers to make herself a tidy living by controlling the weather for the paying public. But while they grow close, Hodaka and Hina must face the impact of the adult world on their blossoming relationship.
With Shinkai collaborating again with Your Name's animation director / character designer Masayoshi Tanaka, Weathering with You is visually resplendent, particularly in its textured recreation of Tokyo (it's on par with the recent Netflix film I Lost My Body, with its shimmering take on Paris). Shinkai even manages to find beauty in his depiction of a McDonald's and its colourful menus.
Scored with a blast of energy from Japanese rock group Radwimps, Weathering with You may not be quite up to the sublime Your Name. But the canny mix of young love, magical realism and eco themes – climate change is never explicitly mentioned but, in the excess of rain, is implied – it still makes for a beguiling anime experience.
General release from Fri 17 Jan.