Weathering With You (2020) A Review

My first ever Anime I have gone to see in the cinema.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  There were some pacing issues, but still so enjoyable.

Certificate: 12A

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Screenwriter: Makoto Shinkai

Starring: Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori, Shun Oguri

Genre: Anime, Fantasy

Runtime: 112 Minutes

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

I have never seen an anime film in the cinema and can’t claim to have seen a great number of anime films in general, so going into this I had very little idea of what to expect.  I had a brief plot outline and some online images to work with and that was it.  Which is why I think I liked it more than a lot of people, because I didn’t have a lot of material to compare it too.

Hodaka runs away from home to live in Tokyo.  We never really find out why he ran away, but that isn’t really relevant to our story.  While working in a shabby magazine office, with a colourful cast of characters, and an adorable cat, he meets Hina.  She is hiding a secret herself, she is able to manipulate the weather, a sought-after talent in Tokyo, when it hasn’t stopped raining for weeks on end.  But this great gift comes with a terrible cost, that Hodaka will do anything to avoid Hina having to pay.

Even if the story isn’t for you, the visuals will keep you entranced.  The whole film is presented beautifully, with amazing animation.  At the beginning of our showing the director explained to us in a series of interviews, why the sky mean’s so much to him and why it always features so heavily in his animations, and that really comes through here, with the sky and weather animations really being the parts of the film that are the most visually stunning.

I did have a few issues with the pacing and the story.  While Hodaka and Hina were our main focus, there were also a thousand and one tiny sub-plots going on around them.  They mostly got in the way, and I would rather have had more of Hodaka and Hina’s back stories, then sit through the side characters insignificant side quests here.  Why did Hodaka run away from home?  Why could he not go back?  What happened to Hina’s brother after Hina and Hodaka returned?  We don’t find out any of these things.  But thank god we find out that Mr Suga kept the alley cat and he got custody of his daughter.  Coz those were some tough and go moments.  Towards the end of the film, the pacing started to drop off.  Every time you thought the story was wrapping up, it kept going for just a little longer.  It would have been a much more dramatic and enigmatic ending, had the film wrapped up in the morning in the hotel room, when Hodaka finds just Hina’s robe.  But instead they chose to keep going, and I think it ruined the ending.

Not a perfect story by any stretch, but enjoyable enough to watch once and gorgeous enough to want to see the visuals a time or two more.

Weathering With you is out in the UK now.

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