5 Reasons Why Your Name is Better Than Weathering With You - lead

5 Reasons Why ‘Your Name’ is Better Than ‘Weathering With You’

 

5 Reasons Why Your Name is Better Than Weathering With You - cover

Tenki No Ko: Weathering With You is the latest film from Japan’s acclaimed director Makoto Shinkai. Hailed as the next Hayao Miyazaki, Shinkai rose to international stardom with his smash-hit film Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name). Because of this international blockbuster, anime fans everywhere have been hotly anticipating the release of Weathering With You which is scheduled for a North American release in early 2020. This article will serve as a short (admittedly sometimes biased) comparison of Your Name vs. Weathering With You.


Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name) Available on Amazon

Your Name


I was blessed with the opportunity to see the film on opening day in Japan and it did not disappoint. However, was Tenki No Ko: Weathering With You as good as Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name)? While Weathering With You was a great anime film in its own right, it did not surpass the greatness of its predecessor. Here are 5 reasons why Kimi No Na Wa is better than Tenki No Ko. 

*Warning: this article will include Tenki No Ko film spoilers.*


Your Name vs. Weathering With You

5. No Backstory

While re-watching Your Name for the 2nd (more likely 6th) time, I started to wonder why they didn’t go into more detail about Taki’s backstory. All we really know about him is that he has a dad, doesn’t appear to have a mom or siblings, and that’s about it. Since the film focused more on Mitsuha’s family history, I didn’t think too much of it and I’m not sure Taki’s family history would’ve benefited the film in any way.

Weathering With You had the same problem for me. However, this time there is a lack of backstory for both main characters, Hodaka and Hina. Of course, we know that Hina’s mom passes away and she is left to take care of her younger brother. However, the pain of that loss, and her and her brother’s struggles were never touched on, which I thought were pinnacle to their character in the film.

Hodaka in the Rain

Hodaka is a 15-year-old boy who runs away from home to try to live on his own in Tokyo. Something must’ve driven him to do that, but again we aren’t told what it is. We know that he’s lost, but we don’t know why he is lost.

Hina is the girl who he falls in love with, the girl who gives him meaning in life and the feeling that he is no longer alone. But the strength of their bond and the impact on the audience would’ve been much stronger if we knew just what it was that Hina was saving him from or what Hodaka was running away from.

4. Weird Abrupt Graphics Changes

This may be a smaller flaw and personal preference, but a few times throughout the film the art style changes from tradition anime 2D cel-shaded art, to 3D CGI shot from weird angles. The change is so obvious and abrupt that you are immediately taken aback by it when it happens.

There is a scene in the film where Hodaka and Hina are enjoying fireworks on the roof of a building. The scene then changes to 3D CGI and shows an overview of Tokyo skyscrapers with the camera moving between them as the fireworks explode in the sky. However, with such a scene it distracted from the emotion of the moment the two characters shared on the roof. As well, the CGI did not enhance the beauty of the fireworks at all. I believe it would’ve been a much more beautiful scene if it were just kept in the standard 2D animation style.


Shinkai Films Available on Amazon

Your Name


3. Music

I think everyone who sees the film will agree that the music and soundtrack of Your Name is much better than that of Weathering With You. 

While the main theme “Ai Ni Dekiru Koto Wa Mada Aru Kai” or “Is There Anything Else Love Can do” is beautiful, the rest of the songs were average or forgettable. Whereas in Your Name, there are numerous songs that matched the moments of the anime perfectly and stay with you long after you’ve finished the film. I still listen to Sparkle, Zen Zen Zense, and Nandemonaiya during workouts or study/writing sessions!


Shinkai Films Available on Amazon

5 Centimeters Per Second


2. Same Formula as Kimi No Na Wa

What I really admired about Shinkai was that every film he ever created was always different. From She and Her Cat and Voices of a Distant Star to The Place Promised in Our Early Days and 5 Centimeters Per Second, every film was vastly different. I loved that aspect of Shinkai’s work. The fact that he took on unique projects, each their own in story, setting, genre, and format.

Tenki No Ko Hina

With Weathering With You I have to admit that it felt like a Your Name clone with a slightly different story: an initial encounter, cute date/adventure scenes, a montage of scenes set to an upbeat Radwimps song, main characters separated and reunited.

I don’t particularly care that the films were similar. But if you’re going to do something similar to Kimi No Na Wa as your immediate follow up film it better be as good or better. While the stronger fantasy elements of the film separated it from Your Name, the emotional impact of the film failed in comparison (and all Shinkai fans are likely going to compare them).

Weathering With You was a great film in its own right, but it would’ve been better if he had released something a little more different formula-wise in between these two films.


Shinkai Films Available on Amazon

Garden of Words
       


1. Another Happy Ending

Weathering With You Hina Kimono

In a previous article, Top 3 Tenki No Ko: Weathering With You Story Predictions (with Screenshots), I boldly (and wrongly) guessed that Shinkai would not go for another happy ending. I thought he wouldn’t want to paint himself as a predictable director. I hate myself for saying this, but I feel like he too closely sampled elements of Your Name that he believed made it a mainstream success. The truth is a lot of his past works were more artistic and less mainstream. Garden of Words is one that stood out as not a typical story that the masses would enjoy.

Your Name was a high school romance with characters relatable enough to capture a wide audience, and a story unique enough to set the film apart from other romance anime. While Weathering With You is also a film that has the potential to speak to a wide audience, the film felt too formulaic for me and even a little (emphasis on “little”) bit cheap.

In the end, I don’t fault Shinkai for wanting his film to be a mainstream success. Who doesn’t love money and good reviews, right? But I really wish he hadn’t gone for another happily-ever-after ending.

 

What do you think about Your Name vs. Weathering With You? Disagree with my points above? Let me know in the comments below!

If you haven’t watched Tenki No Ko yet and want to check out some trailers or film previews, be sure to check out: Tenki No Ko: Weathering With You all Trailers, Commercials, and Preview Videos.

Also, if you want the full film synopsis, it’s available here: Tenki No Ko: Weathering With You Full Story Synopsis (spoilers).


Makoto Shinkai Films and Merch Available on Amazon

Your Name

Your Name Manga Vol.1

5 Centimeters Per Second

Garden of Words
       

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11 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why ‘Your Name’ is Better Than ‘Weathering With You’

  1. Happy to disagree with some of the things you said. I think the focus of the film isn’t simply just the romance and by taking it as that you cheapen the much more complex messages that are presented within it. The film really looks at change and the human ability to persevere and ultimately adapt to what is new (and often frightening) by drawing on even the smallest pieces of hope. We are introduced to this first as Hodaka leaves his more rural ‘forest island’ home (literally implied in his name) and travels to Tokyo. Everything there is scary and overwhelming. The “Tokyo is scary” lines that are repeated are used to mirror in viewers how often and easy it is for us as human beings to feel afraid and overwhelmed when faced with the unknown/ uncertain/ hostile. For Hodaka, that takes the form of moving to a city he’s not been to before that is vastly different from rural/ islands in Japan. However, to the viewers, it gets one contemplating how we individually process the enormity of thinking about the unknown, uncertain, and potentially hostile future and growing up and moving into a space where we know that immense challenges (environmentally, economically, socially, etc.) lay ahead of us.
    At the end of the film, as we see Tokyo engulfed in water – a genuinely unsettling sight however, the anxiety that surrounds the realities facing all the characters are contrasted with the easy in which boats have replaced the highly complex train system – things still run, humans still persevere and hope is never abandoned. There are also the subtle comments of passers by… on the bridge one girl says to another “you’re so optimistic” and one also comments saying: “I’m really looking forward to the picnic” – despite the rain, we see that humans still find small pockets of joy and reasons to keep moving forward. Even Suga says “don’t worry, it’s gonna work out” after Hodaka visits him in his new office. There are myriad reasons for Hodaka and Hina to lose hope in the world (just as there are many reasons we see lots of individuals, young and old feeling overwhelmed, afraid and hopeless when thinking of the future), there are reasons for them to blame themselves for their contributions to the state of the world (as is the case with us as viewers, who arguably in some capacity contribute to what many view as a rapidly bleak/ unsettling global future be it through social/economic/environmental/political, etc. contributions or lack of actions. Hodaka and Hina could even to blame the world and people around them for indulging in selfish acts (requests from the sunshine girl) and for the people who took for granted the convenience of fulfilling their needs and failed to consider if there was a true cost to their selfish desires to manipulate the weather… which ultimately lead to the unending rain and the bleak reality they and the rest of the world now face. Likewise it’s easy for us (viewers) to look at the state of the world and blame person x, or country y, government z, etc. for how we’ve basically reached a tipping point in being unable to maintain the world as it was (at least environmentally/ economically/ technologically etc.)… our desire for convenience made us blind to the costs and now we are faced with a scary, bleak future.

    But the ending show us that Hodaka takes ownership of how they have all come to exist in the world they now live in and states that they “made a choice”. Their choice is what they live with now, and because of these small pockets of hope and the human ability to find love and support and moments of joy/ wonder/ contentment/ etc. in any situation they will be alright. The world and humans will be alright as long as we find these moments, that keep us moving forward. Moments that we largely find and draw support from through our connections to others.

    Hodaka lacks a back story because the themes the movie explores are bigger than him. Hodaka isn’t simply supposed to be romance movie lead. Neither is Hina (we learn some things about her, but she is still a significantly vague individual who reflects our desire to connect with others and find purpose/ personal fulfilment, despite the costs to ourselves and others.
    Hodaka and Tina are us. Hodaka’s fear and uncertainty shows the journey of how humans come to persevere. Hina’s sacrifice shows the ease at which humans can be overwhelmed and consumed by the immensity of the pressures a scary/bleak future weigh on us. All characters in the movie in some capacity show that we as humans are selfish but that that’s okay. That we will be alright, so long as we have small bits of hope to cling to. Hope that blossoms in the presence of others.

    The movie is a message of hope to the viewer. A commentary on where we’ve been, where we are, where we’re headed and how we will, as a species continue to move forward no matter the odds… because we are humans, who can hope and who have the power to “change the shape of the world” both physically and metaphorically.

    If you saw this as just a straight up romance film, Shinkai completely hoodwinked you. It’s not the same formula, but as a human you search for that familiarity – because humans are subconsciously drawn to find and cling to what is “safe” and “normal” and “familiar”. You missed a huge theme when it comes to humans, their ability to change and adapt unless forced. Your mind didn’t look deeper into the film and you felt like Tenki no ko didn’t “live up” to Kimi No Na Wa because of this. You missed the masterpiece before you because you were fixated on a “standard” on your expectations of the norm.

    This film is about tackling the idea of change… of what makes us uncomfortable, put-off, scared, uncertain and how people cope with change… especially when looking towards the future (one riddled with these feelings). The use of very rapid, visual changes though depicting weather and environment is something Shinkai again uses to comment on how easy it is for people to take things as normal… for granted. Just as you have with assuming this film was a simple romance movie. Clinging too closely to something you know, take pleasure in, and are comfortable and familiar with (aka Kimi no na wa’s mass appeal plot). In doing so, you miss something greater.
    You miss understanding the psychology of the self and the world around you. You fail to look introspectively at what this film says about humans. Shinkai is targeting those who when faced with change that makes them uncomfortable or that seems “off” are immediately adverse to it and would crumble under the realities of very really and rapid future changes in our own world. He’s urging you to embrace something different, even if it isn’t what you expect or desire, because that will rapidly be a real world reality for many (as I mentioned… environmentally, socially, economically, etc.)
    But that’s again, why the so-called “happy” ending is there… to give us hope. To tell you it’s okay that even if you failed to realise the bigger, deeper, more complex and introspective/critical picture (in this film, and in life), that as long as there are others there who are willing to share in this human experience with you, to support those who fail to comprehend change or who struggle to accept it and cling to the past… As long as you have the “love” of others to support you, there is hope and you (and humans) will grow, persevere and become better for it…
    Even when faced with unsettling change.

    1. First off, thanks for reading and thanks for your comment! I have to admit you brought up a lot of points that crossed my mind, but I didn’t pursue further.

      You obviously have a passion for anime and keen insights. If you’re interested in being a guest writer on Japan Bound, please let me know your email address by replying to this comment and I’ll message you with further details.

  2. Hi as someone to is new to Makoto Shinkai, I really love this movie a lot! I feel that maybe some of the points you made may be a little bias? I’m not sure if you watched this movie with the expectation of it being better or as good as Your Name, but you shouldn’t. I watched it without having any expectations at all and I absolutely fell in love with the movie:) Regarding some of your points, I disagree such as the one which you mentioned about the music and backstory.

    I watched an Q and A session that Shinkai did when he was in Canada (if I’m not wrong) and he stated that he created this film with the intention of having no prior background to the characters. He wanted the movie and characters to start of having already moved on with their initial struggles. So I think that what happens in the movie is like a a new start for them. Here is the link to the video, he mentions it at one point: https://youtu.be/Lky4WSQh7c0

    I also felt that the music in Tenki No Ko was better than Your Name? Yes I have listened to the soundtrack for your name together with Tenki No Ko’s soundtrack however I felt that Tenki No Ko had a more varied and interesting soundtrack than Your Name. Plus the lyrics to the songs are much more beautiful in my opinion;)

    However I do agree with some of your other points as well:) However overall I honestly do prefer Tenki No Ko over Your Name for some reason XD

    1. Thanks for your comment and feedback! I might have spoken a little strongly in the article, because even though I prefer Your Name, I still think Tenki No Ko is a great anime film! If I had to rank them: 1. 5 CM Per second 2. Your Name 3. Tenki No Ko. Thanks for the link to the interview I’ll be watching that tonight! Regarding the music, that one really surprises me. I thought they weren’t even comparable in terms of memorable songs, but that could be because I am biased as you said. Which songs did you like best from Tenki No ko?

      1. Hi it’s surprising to me as well but I really do love this soundtrack as compared to Your Name though I listened to both:) It may be because I prefer more emotional songs? But I do love upbeat songs as well:) The melodies of the all the songs used in the soundtrack are beautifully blended together for me and I really appreciate songs that match each other and the theme of the movie. Also the songs are quite distinctive in certain scenes in the movie and they match the movie really well, as compared to Your Name when there’s a lot more talking together with the music which might have made me missed out on the great soundtrack. Especially towards the end when Hodaka rescues Hina (spoiler haha) and Grand Escape plays or when Hodaka climbs up the stairs With Is there still anything love can do plays, it really made an impact on me. I love it when songs have their time to shine in movies and not just accompany the movie just essentially a big part of it. For Your Name, I might have been too focused on the movie as there’s a lot of things happening at once and the songs don’t really get that much air time unlike in Tenki No Ko.

        The lyrics are also really inspiring, in a way that it motivates me (Grand Escape) or touches my heart (Is there still anything love can do).

        But by now you should know what my favourite two songs are HAHA
        I also love Celebration as well as some other short interludes like Clear Sky and Loss as well as The Taste of Kindness.

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