Verdict: The sky is a magical place in this beautiful film about young love.

Japanese filmmaker Makoto Shinkai gained fame for his 2016 film Your Name, which became one of the highest-grossing anime films of all-time. Originally titled Tenki no Ko (literally translating to Child of the Weather), Weathering With You is Shinkai’s latest directorial venture. After the film released in Japan in July, it was screened at TIFF in September, and it has now made its way to India in its original language with English subtitles, much to the excitement of Indian anime fans.

What’s Weathering With You About:

Sixteen-year-old Hodaka Morishima (Kotaro Daigo) runs away from his home to the streets of Tokyo. The weather is gloomy there and it’s hard for him to survive when there’s rain predicted for every single day in the foreseeable future. But he finds hope with a kind stranger named Keisuke Suga (Shun Oguri) who had saved him and he befriends a girl who brings light into his life, literally. Hina Amano (Nana Mori) seems to be able to manipulate the weather and clear the clouds, even though there is no sunshine in the forecast.

What Works:

Director and writer Makoto Shinkai has wonderfully brought Tokyo alive with the magical realism of Hodaka and Hina’s story in Weathering With You. The characters feel grounded and realistic as they wander through the crowds, look upon tall buildings, or eat a Big Mac – yet there’s undeniable magic in this version of Tokyo. The rain comes down in sheets of water, there are ephemeral fishes around, and most importantly, there’s a girl who can pray the rain away. The beautiful visuals and the music add to the enchantment.

Hodaka and Hina’s relationship evolves naturally through the course of the film and their romance is at the center of the story. Narrated by Hodaka, Weathering With You shows what happened through his perspective, offering a closer, more personal look. But it’s not just the two of them that shine in this film. The secondary characters not only add meaningful layers to the story but also bring some laughter to tense moments. Hina’s younger brother Nagi (Sakura Kiryu) has a horde of female admirers even though he’s still in school. Keisuke has a complicated life that is explored through a heart-touching subplot. There’s even a gray cat named Rain who makes some memorable appearances.

What Could’ve Been Better:

While climate change seems to be the inspiration for the film, Shinkai doesn’t completely commit to conveying a clear message about it through the story. There are also some elements that are left unexplained. While some parts may be vague, the disconnection from the real world does help make the film more otherworldly.

Why You Should Watch:

Weathering With You is an engaging film that tells a unique story. Even if you haven’t watched any anime before, it’s quite accessible. While the film is in Japanese, there are not only English subtitles but the important on-screen text is translated too. It’s Japan’s official entry for Oscars, so it’s also your chance to see a potentially Oscar-winning film.