So. Let me start off with the most obvious—the animation was really fucking gorgeous (typical Shinkai). We stayed to watch an interview with Shinkai afterward and in it, he said that animating the rain in the movie was very challenging, but it totally paid off in my opinion. It was absolutely stunning and there were some really pretty stills in it that are just prime fodder for background images. The music too, was amazing—once again being performed by RADWIMPS. I spent this entire blog post listening to the soundtrack on spotify.
But that’s enough for now about the technicalities of the production. Because you know what I want to talk about? Well, for one the meanings/lesson of the movie–a deep dive if you will. But first I’m gonna mention some fun little tidbits about the experience of watching it. First off, it felt like a gold mine for future blog posts (or continuations of older posts—for instance, Star’s post about gifts in shoujo). There were also one or two times when Star and I looked to each other and said the exact same thing at the exact same time (normally we share one brain cell but today I think we each had half and they came together). And third, this movie is one that I think sparked a really good discussion between us afterward. Which, y’know is super refreshing when instead of having a one-sided conversation with myself like I did after watching Promare. So this experience, while not as emotional as our viewing of Your Name, was actually a really nice one. But also there were a few things that threw me for a loop. Number one: did you just reintroduce Taki and kill off his dad in one scene? How DARE you. Second, hw dare you put Mitsuha in a scene later on—I’m crying here. And more importantly, Shinkai said in that special features interview that we saw Taki and Mitsuha before they met at the end of Your Name, but at the end of Weathering With You Tokyo is mostly underwater and it had been raining for years. But when Taki and Mitsuha meet, it’s sunny. So. Does this break continuity or is Shinkai more of a Mastermind than we think? See, we thought about this long and hard. Because they had to have met on a sunny day, but they also famously passed each other when it was snowing once. And guess what? It snows in exactly one scene in this movie (since before it was either rain or sunshine). So. What if that means they passed that day in the snow…and then that means that the day Hina disappeared and the sun came back, was the day Taki and Mitsuha met on the stairs??? There’s no solid evidence for this, and they could’ve met on any other sunny day…but it’s interesting to think about if it WAS true.
Now if you were paying attention, you might have noticed that I mentioned Tokyo was mostly underwater at the end of the movie. This is due to the fact that Hodaka chooses to save Hina from the sky, dooming Tokyo to endless rain, instead of letting her sacrifice herself to bring back the sun and fix the weather. Now, his choice…seems selfish to most I’m sure. He’s choosing one person over everyone else. Sure that makes for an epic love story, but the world is worse for it. Maybe that’s what makes the ending somewhat frustrating—that it almost seems like it’s saying climate change is okay. If you choose to look at it that way. I think it’s an ending that you can make of it what you will. If you are angered by Hodaka’s choice, will it spring you into action in our real world? Or will you remain angry? It’s an interesting thought I had. But, being the residential optimist on this blog, I looked at the ending through a different lens. Because despite all, I saw hope in this ending. But why did I? Well, it was one thing Hodaka thought as he ran towards Hina.(Ironically the same one that makes him seem incredibly selfish). He wasn’t going to tell her it wasn’t her fault their world was like this, he was going to tell her they did change the world. And that this was the world he chose to live in.
So why do I see this as hopeful? An excellent question that no one asked! It’s because when I heard him say that, it was like he was saying he wasn’t giving up on the world or his life. I feel like a lot of people I know have this very pessimistic attitude of inaction towards climate change where they think “we didn’t choose to live in this world and now we’re all fucked anyway”. It’s a thought that has always frustrated me. Because it’s resigning yourself to something always being the same or getting worse. But Hodaka chose to live in that world no matter how terrible and he chose to live with Hina. He wasn’t giving up, and more importantly YES they had changed the world. Which sounds bad. It sounds like he’s acknowledging without regret that they did this to the world. But if you put just a bit of an optimistic spin on it, it’s like he’s saying we did change the world, and we still can. We can do it again. Two teenagers had the power to make a difference whether it was better or for worse. Together they could change, but this time without one of them having to give up on life. But again. That is the optimistic spin on things. In truth, perhaps it’s just providing a reflection of the hopelessness that we young people feel today, and trying to provide a silver lining in it by giving us this epic love story.
I think no matter what kind of angle you take on Weathering with you, you’ll spark some pretty deep thoughts and some very interesting conversations. And I think there are some very interesting other aspects to it. For example, the fact that as the action gets more violent, so too does the weather (loads to unpack here if you think about the negative effects of war on the climate/earth). Then there’s the “I just want to see her one more time” moment where I was like damn. If that isn’t something we can all feel and should make us question what we’d do if we were him and losing the person who made life worth living. And then there’s even what I thought to be a glimpse of what I thought looked like the clouds clearing behind Hodaka and Hina at the end once they were reunited, perhaps again symbolizing hope more than anything else.
So as you can see, this movie is truly blog post fodder and I could really keep going. But instead, I think I’ll stop here and perhaps revisit it when I’ve digested it more. Until then, I want to know—did you watch it? What did you think/what did you get from it? I’m so curious to hear other perspectives.
Until next time
P.S. Weathering with you sounds a lot like Withering with you, doesn’t it?