Weathering with You

Weathering with You ★★★★½

I'll have to rewatch this at a later date to think much more here, but... Your Name. may have met its match thanks to Makoto Shinkai actively subverting everything you might have expected, or maybe even everything you might have wanted, out of a spiritual sequel to Japan's biggest hit.

Since this movie won't come to U.S. theaters for ages, perhaps not even until 2020, I'll summarize here that this movie's friggin' amazing and you can rest uneasily while you impatiently wait for it to hit theaters.

Unlike Your Name., Weathering with You (or 天気の子, which actually translates to "Weather Kid," a much better title) isn't a large-scale mind-bending adventure with a relatively simple emotional conclusion. It's a very broad concept distilled into, basically, a mundane slice-of-life tale about two teens stuck in tough lives trying to make the most of things. All of the plot comes from the characters, their plights, and the annoying rain that comes along with them. We have an excellent cast of characters, especially the protagonist Hodaka, who, despite being essentially the "viewpoint side character" type of protagonist on face value, is turned into the most emotional and potentially cry-worthy character by far. Gosh this thing gets heavy.

As expected, the soundtrack and visuals are amazing. The rain effects are superb, and the OST has some really amazing stuff. The actual original songs are... not as good as Your Name. But I doubt anyone was expecting them to be, anyway.

Oh and as for the original songs, yes, musical montages are back, and they are still great. But moreso, the best part of the movie in this regard is the non-musical montage moments; early in the movie. the story makes really good use of quick-cutting information-dense time lapses, and it makes really great use of the movie's attention to detail by showing you the life of a lonely, hopeless teenager in a giant city living out of an internet cafe. It happens later in the movie too, but it most impressed me in the first act, where it really tugs on your heartstrings.

So the movie is beautiful, the characters are amazing, the story is essentially a quirky slice-of-life drama... but these things are held back by a couple elements I wasn't ready to accept, including a quite contrived climax that had a few too many convenient moments to keep from annoying me. Why still the 4.5 score, though? I'll just tell you that this movie has balls. It has the balls to go to places few if any of the dozens of anime movies I've seen over the past couple years have dared venture. It gets insane.

If I watch again and it holds up, I'll detail more about the way Weathering with You acts sort of as a mirror-world response movie to the success of its predecessor, but for now, all I'll say is that this did NOT disappoint. It blew me the frick away.

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