Weathering with You

Weathering with You

Your Name was a perfect or near-perfect film in my estimation because it was perfectly structured. It showed you how to respond and relate to its world by establishing its internal rules from frame one. By the time anything that could be considered deus ex machina occurred, the film had already married dream logic to that of waking life. The magic was subtle, limited, private and personal.

In contrast, the magical realism of Weathering with You is totally obvious to everyone, and I'm ambivalent as to how much worse it is for that. Additionally, none of the bittersweet longing that made Shinkai's best movies feel like masterpieces is really here either. It gratifies almost as quickly as it establishes need, which forgoes my favorite kind of gratification, which is delayed gratification.

There's a moment towards the beginning wherein the love interest, a climate-affecting pseudo-shrine maiden, almost sells herself into prostitution. In a Ghibli film, this would have been an analogy for our industrialized relationship with nature or something, but Shinkai refuses to consciously turn his characters into metaphors. Maybe this was the right move for approaching climate change in a dumb crowd-pleasing anime movie, but I can't help but feel his total aversion toward paternalism holds him back from greatness here in the same way Miyazaki's preaching does him sometimes, but that's where comparisons between the two should cease in my opinion, at least until my next review.

The film is also more obviously derivative than the director's others. The protagonist rescues said love interest from prostitution in a scene mirroring one from Colorful, talks to a dead ringer for Oshino Meme in a blown-out classroom, and its scenery seems to lift from azure anime wallpapers at the same rate 5cm per Second created them, etc. Precure and Konosuba also make cameos for some godforsaken reason.

I suspect this might grow on me once I learn to appreciate its unabashed optimism in the face of extinction, but I can't help but feel it could have been film of the decade with a few rewrites, in addition to merely being the prettiest. My favorite adventure games approached sacrifice and life-affirmation in an infinitely more nuanced way, and Penguin Highway does everything else this tries but so much better. Right now I just feel bereft because Shinkai is my favorite working director and this rings of major disappointment. Ya blew it, Mac.

TL;DR: Drink more water.

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