Chances are you’ve heard of director/writer Makoto Shinkai, and if not, you’ve definitely heard of some of his films, namely 2016’s sleeper hit, Your Name. Thanks to some of his other titles such as 5 Centimeters per Second and The Garden of Words, most are placing Shinkai on the same level as the legendary Hayao Miyazaki. His latest anime film taking the world by storm (the pun works perfectly) is Weathering With You. If you’re a fan of Shinkai’s work or just enjoy anime romance, you’ll want to dress for the weather of emotions this movie brings.
The story starts off with sixteen year-old Hodaka Morishima running away from his home on an isolated island and making his way to the bustling city of Tokyo, ready to make a life for himself. With his money growing smaller everyday, he’s constantly trying to find ways to make some cash, which leads him to cross paths with Keisuke Suga who just so happens to be looking for a freelance writer to work for an occult magazine. Meanwhile Tokyo is being pelted with enormous amounts of rain with no end in sight, and Hodaka hears about girls who have the power to control rain and sunshine while out on one of his writing assignments.
With this in mind, it doesn’t take long for him to bump into a young girl named Hina, who just so happens to be able to pray and make the rain stop for awhile in a small area. Seeing this as a huge opportunity for himself, Hina and her little brother, Hodaka comes up with a plan to set up a site and sell Hina’s powers to those looking for some figurative and literal sunshine in their lives. As with most anime though, things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows as both Hodaka and Hina find out the power of bringing the sun out comes at a cost, along with other woes that cause trouble for them and those they know.
I left out a lot of the plot details as I didn’t want to spoil any of the things that bring these two together and what will keep them there despite problems coming for them from all sides. Needless to say it’s a great story you’ll find yourself enjoying as I did, and the art and animation serve to further pull you into this beautiful world as it’s some of the best I’ve seen. This where the power of Blu-ray shines as everything looks crisp and vivid, and the audio side of things is just as amazing thanks to a perfect fitting musical score that combines with the visuals to deliver the emotional feels Shinkai is known for.
When you’re done experiencing the film, there’s a nice amount of special features to go over, starting with an “Interview With Director Makoto Shinkai” where he discusses working on the movie, having former Studio Ghibli animators helping with the film, production details and more. “Exploring Makoto Shinkai’s Filmography”goes over some of his previous works starting with 2002’s Voices of a Distant Star and so on which is a nice treat for those looking to check out his other films, “Weather Front” has original Japanese voice actress Nana Mori shares some candid behind the scenes footage on working on the film, watching some of the cast and crew in action, and more.
“Talk Show: Makoto Shinkai and Yumiko Udo” is a near feature-length extra that has host Yumiko Udo talking with director Makoto Shinkai about all sorts of production related stuff on the movie while also enjoying some beer in the process (if only more special features did that, right?). Here they discuss the three-year process of making the movie, some personal things Shinkai feels that are both great and not so much for his career, and other things that make this one of the best extras I’ve seen.
Weathering With You is one of the best anime films I’ve seen in awhile thanks to a great story and greater visuals with an amazing musical score at that. Fans of Shinkai’s work have already seen this and picked up their copy for sure, but if you’re looking for another magically enchanting masterpiece that delivers the goods, you’ll want to weather any storm to grab this Blu-ray for your collection.