This is a spoiler-free review
Your Name is, hands-down, one of the best movies ever made. The 2016 flick from director Makoto Shinkai was a visually breathtaking, emotional rollercoaster ride that cemented itself in the hearts of both anime and non-anime fans across the globe.
It’s no surprise then that expectations were absurdly high for Shinkai’s 2019 follow-up, Weathering With You. For the most part, it delivers.
Without giving any spoilers, Weathering With You follows Hodaka, a runaway who meets a girl named Hina and her brother Nagi in Tokyo. Hina, in particular, has a very special ability: she can clear the skies during rainy days.
The best part about Weathering With You is that it’s basically a summary of what made Your Name a success: two young strangers bond over a supernatural event hiding a twist, whose love story is defined by a climax that succeeds at tugging your heartstrings.
The visuals, at times, is even more impressive this time around. The back-and-forth transition of the Tokyo landscape from gloomy to sunny is practically an excuse for Shinkai to flaunt his groundbreaking animation style.
Barring minor side plots and an allegory on climate change, Weathering With You is Your Name 2.0 – which isn’t a bad thing. If a director is going to take inspiration from something, it might as well be from his best work. But in every retread lies a weakness: predictability.
It’s clear that Shinkai took an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach for his latest outing, from the nearly identical final act up to the abrupt ending that frustrated fans of his previous offering.
The end result is a gorgeous film whose plot’s familiarity robs itself of the gut-punch that made Your Name a classic.
While its choice to mimic its far more superior predecessor ultimately results in a softer landing, Weathering With You is still a beautiful film in its own right – and a worthy addition to Makoto Shinkai’s impressive film resume’.
Banner credit: Crunchyroll