WEATHERING WITH YOU, Japan, 2019. Directed by Makoto Shinkai. 111 minutes. Rated PG (Mild themes, animated vioilence and coarse language)
In recent decades, Japanese animated films, Japanese anime, have become more and more popular all around the world. Many Japanese directors and studios have admirers. The director of Weathering With You, Makoto Shinkai, is on the way up, with acclaim for this film and his previous film, Your Name.
Audiences will admire the animation, the characters, certainly, but more for the extensive backgrounds, a portrait of Tokyo, overviews and neighbourhood details, as well as characters being taken up into the sky, all the swirl of clouds and rain.
For those who admired Your Name, there are quite some thematic similarities here. Both are concerned with a boy and a girl, the relationship, years passing, timeshifting, love and rescue.
The title, of course, is unusual. The central character is the young Hodako, running away from home to Tokyo, getting a job investigating stories and urban legends, encountering a girl,Hini, who seems to have some kind of mystic control of the weather. And the weather, in this case, is continual rain.
The two have some adventures, even to exploiting Hini’s weather predictions but, she disappears, into the sky, into the cosmos – which gives permission for Hidako to go on a mission to find and to rescue.
On the one hand, Hidako’s story is initially rather mundane. On the other hand, he gets caught up in a somewhat mystical world that he does not understand.
There are overtones of global warming in this story of continued rain with scenes of the literal sinking of the city of Tokyo.
Madman Released August 29th
Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.