Despite the Oscar nomination the film has received, this review will likely be an unpopular opinion. To begin this Tenki No Ko: Weathering With You film review, you should know that I myself am a huge Shinkai fan and consider 5 Centimeters Per Second to be one of the best anime films of all time. As well, I believe Weathering With You is one of Shinkai’s best films. However, as stated previously on this blog, I do think that Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name) is the better film of the two.
Everything great about Tenki No Ko will be covered in this review. We will discuss times where the film shined, and areas where it could’ve been better. This review will take into account the graphics, soundtrack, voice acting, and of course, the story of the film.
Weathering With You – Graphics: 4/5
As always, Shinkai seems to continuously raise the bar in terms of beautiful visuals in his films. Whether it be the cherry blossoms in 5 CM Per Second, the rain in Garden of Words, or the comet in Your Name, there is always a focal point for the art or an image that always stays with you long after the film ends.
Rain was a big plot device in the film and was definitely rendered beautifully. However, in terms of images that really remain with me even now, I can think of two.
Sunshine breaking through the clouds, as Hina revealed her powers to Hodaka for the first time. This image was breathtaking and one of the key moments in the film.
Hodaka realizes Hina is the Sunshine Girl he had been searching for. Hodaka spent many days wandering the streets of Tokyo, aimless and on his own. While she literally stopped the rain for him, she also becomes the light that pulls him out of his loneliness. When he felt most lost, she was there for him.
Hina Sees Another World
On top of the clouds above the world lies another world that no one but Hodaka and Hina have seen. The first time Hina sees this world and the scene where Hodaka goes to this world to rescue her were beautifully done. The fantasy image is so bright, and vibrant, but at the same time it is crafted so well that you could almost believe such a place exists. Hina almost blends into the background as if she belongs there.
Key images aside, the graphics in general were incredibly sleek and clear. The only gripe I have is the random changes in graphics at certain scenes. An example of this is during the fireworks scene. Instead of a beautiful display of fireworks drawn in 2D, the film switches to 3D and the camera moves through the sky as if we are moving past and through the fireworks themselves.
Of course, I have no problem with trying more artistic or interesting choices in art style. However, these just seemed out of place. While they definitely felt like distractions during big scenes, they didn’t affect the overall enjoyment of the film.
Tenki No Ko Film Review – Soundtrack: 4/5
Is There Still Anything Love Can Do? – Music Video
It is clear that Radwimps again outdid themselves with the wonderful soundtrack of Weathering With You. They have a talent for creating songs that not only match the story of the film, but can stand alone as smash hit songs even for people who have never seen the anime they were created for.
Weathering With You seemed to be made in a way where the story and the songs compliment each other, rather than just a track made to fit the mood. The most emotional and songs played at the perfect moments, where the lyrics told a story of their own.
All in all, the music again was well done and Shinkai made a smart move to partner up with Radwimps.
Weathering With You Film Review – Story: 4/5
Now, it pains me to criticize the film’s story, but I have to say there are some plot holes and lack of character backstory and development in the film.
To begin, let’s go over everything the film’s story did right.
Weathering With You Film Review: Scenario
The film succeeded in creating a strong scenario in which to build off of. We have a boy, Hodaka, who runs away from home for some unexplained reason. Hodaka meets a girl, Hina, who has a mysterious power that allows her to control the weather. The two use her power to relieve Tokyo citizens of the constant downpour that has plagued the city.
Tenki No Ko Film Review: Pacing
On top of the strong scenario, Weathering With You is well-paced with a runtime of 1 hour and 52 minutes. The film never dragged and kept you entertained throughout with beautiful visuals and an enticing plot.
Weathering With You Film Review: Literary Devices
All throughout the film, Shinkai skillfully places metaphors and allusions. One of the earliest examples in the film is the book Hodaka appears to be reading while staying at a manga cafe.
Somewhat coincidental that a runaway boy is reading The Catcher in the Rye, one of the most famous coming-of-age stories of all time. In the book, the main protagonist is a young man who finds himself expelled from school. Unwilling to face his parents back home, he spends his days alone in New York City, trying to relieve his loneliness. This is obviously very similar to Hodaka, a boy who is alone in Tokyo, Japan’s version of NYC.
Kind at heart, while lost and alone himself, Hodaka feeds a stray kitten in an alley. He speaks to the kitten, talking about how he doesn’t want to return home. This one is also obvious, but the kitten represents Hodaka himself. Soon Hina will enter the picture and offer him a free meal just like he did to this stray. There are many more examples like these scattered throughout the film. What I like about these metaphors and allusions are that they aren’t thrown in your face. They are subtle and almost hidden. I think even if noticed subconsciously, they will add to the overall experience of the film.
Tenki No Ko Film Review: Character Development
You might disagree with me as others have before, but I think that the character development and backstories could have been handled better in the film.
On the surface, Hina is a high school girl trying to make ends meet for her and her brother. She is bright, energetic, and hopeful. For Hodaka she represents hope, a light that he had lost when he was on his own. But who was she beneath the surface? How did the death of her mother affect her and her brother? I feel like if such questions were addressed a little more in the film, it would have led to a stronger climax.
Under the surface, we sort of know what Hodaka feels inside. He doesn’t always say it explicitly, but it is shown in his actions. We know he felt like he was missing something in his secluded hometown island. Whatever he was feeling drove him to run away to Tokyo. I used to believe that we needed to know why he ran away, but I’ve now come to the conclusion that with Hodaka that backstory isn’t needed.
After all it doesn’t matter why he ran away, but the fact that he did tells us what he was feeling inside: lost. However, Hina was not explored as deeply as Hodaka was in the film. As a result, I can’t connect or sympathize with her as much as I can with Hodaka.
Weathering With You Film Review: Ending and Plot Holes
Questions don’t always have to be answered in art. Sometimes art inspires questions rather than gives answers. As someone who loves the time travel story of Kimi No Na Wa, I’m no stranger to plot holes in anime.
Unfortunately though, I feel a few of the plot holes in Tenki No Ko affected how powerful the climax was in the end. The biggest one for me was the fact that Hina and Hodaka had a 3-year lapse in communication. Remember that Hodaka loved her so much that he was willing to plunge Tokyo into the sea for them to be together.
Evidently, this decision would change many people’s lives, destroy landmarks, cause people to lose their businesses and their livelihoods. As Hodaka himself says, they literally change the face of the earth. Immediately after Hodaka saves her, police and social services separate them.
So, even though he loved her enough to live with the aforementioned consequences, why didn’t he try to contact her? The film takes place in the present time with smartphones and social media. However, the writer expects us to believe that the two of them had no contact for 3 years? Then, at the end they just happen to cross the same iconic path at the same time?
Truthfully, I love romance in anime. I could even say I like cheesy romance in anime, but I feel like this ending could’ve been handled a little better. It would’ve been so much more believable if they added a line or two and a few scenes of Hodaka walking that pathway everyday looking for her, but she wasn’t there. Then, after 1 month of returning to that same spot, she finally appeared. Boom. Climax. Tears. I know that I am being nitpicky with this, but these are my honest thoughts and I welcome you to shout blasphemy in the comments.
Tenki No Ko: Weathering With You Film Review Score: 4/5
In my opinion, you should not take this Weathering With You film review as a verdict. Instead, reviews should be starting points that drive conversation around a piece of art. Again, I want to emphasize that I loved Tenki No Ko. The graphics, soundtrack, and overall story were well-crafted. I just think there are areas that could’ve been improved.
Once the film is released in North America, I’m sure there will be tons of you who watch the film and completely disagree with me. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Need more reading or info on Weathering With You? Be sure to checkout:
- Tenki No Ko: Weathering With You Full Story Synopsis (spoilers)
- Tenki No Ko: Weathering With You Glossary — Characters, Release Dates, Synopsis, Trailers