He left home to search for a life of meaning in Tokyo. She wanders the streets of Tokyo bringing warmth and sunshine wherever she goes. Amidst the backdrop of climate change, this unlikely duo of Hodaka and Hina somehow altered the course of history that resulted in a flooded, present-day Tokyo. Makoto Shinkai, writer-director of the phenomenal romantic hit Your Name, conjures up a story infused with kindling love, relentless rainstorms, and miraculous magic in Weathering with You.

Summer time has arrived, but a gloom-filled Tokyo remains drenched in rain for the past two months. This tale of cataclysmic proportions begins when Hodaka Morishima, a 16-year-old runaway gets swept into a vicious storm aboard a ferry headed to Tokyo. Rescued by Suga Keisuke, a scruffy editor of a magazine of bizarre stories, Hodaka hooks up with him to write articles and gets his big break one day. He encounters a teen orphan named Hina Amano who has the magical ability to stop rainstorms with a single prayer. He later learns that she is a “sunshine girl,” a figure from Japanese myth and legend possessing the extraordinary gift to quell storms, clear the skies, and summon forth sunshine, if only for a short while. However, with this gift comes a great price, for repeated use of these powers will weaken her and send her back to the heavens.

Makoto Shinkai plays around with the destructive forces of nature in Weathering with You. It’s another mystical piece worthy of Miyazaki’s brilliance. Shinkai captures scenic landscapes of Tokyo with panning aerial shots of cascading rainstorms that range from torrential downpours and rippling puddles to floating iridescent fish-shaped droplets. Hina works her magic to summon forth rays of sunlight that beam down with elegance, ushering in breathtaking ocean blue skies that resonate with exhilaration. The plot revolves around themes of belonging, sacrifice and loss, and embracing youthful yearning in a hostile world of grown-ups. The story shifts to a darker tone when the star-crossed lovers become separated, turning into fugitives from the law: Hodaka has run away from home, and Hina lives with her younger brother Nagi without parental support, thereby prompting the cops to track them down.

While the characters’ backstories remain shrouded in mystery, their mutual passion crescendos into an intense climax played out to the tearful yet uplifting tunes of the Japanese rock band Radwimps. Shinkai orchestrates an elaborate fusion of revolving arc shots rendered against a beautifully wrought background played to an upbeat theme song. Despite the environmental catastrophe closing in on Tokyo, Hodaka and Hina rise above the impending turmoil, buoyed by the power of their love and heartfelt longing to unite with each other. An expressionistic coming-of-age film forging the union of two distant souls and search for meaning mixed with magical realism, this animated romantic fantasy makes a fine addition to any library anime collection.

Weathering With You
GKids/Shout! Factory, 2020
Directed by Makoto Shinkai
112 minutes
Company Age Rating: PG-13

NFNT Title Details
NFNT Age Rating: Teen (13-16)

  • Jerry

    | He/Him Information Strategist, San Francisco Public Library


    By day, Jerry Dear, APALA member and Information Strategist at the San Francisco Public Library tackles research questions in the Periodicals department. He also teaches in the Library Information Technology department at City College of San Francisco. By night, he serves the Asian American community and ventures into the vibrant literary arts and graphic novel scene. In whatever time remains, he indulges in comics, anime, manga, and Asian American literature and film.

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