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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
1. Another Happy Ending
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.
Have you seen the 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).