This review contains spoiler
There is an interesting story told by Makoto Shinkai in an interview after the release of Weathering with You. In his childhood days, he admitted, he used to not know what he wanted to do. He didn’t want to inherit his family’s construction business that has been passed down since the Meiji era. Why? He doesn’t know either. In his own words, Shinkai said that the reason is probably that he was simply “rebelling on instinct.”
This already put him in a similar situation with Weathering with You‘s main protagonist, Hodaka Morishima. The audience probably would never know the real reason why Hodaka left his hometown while he was still in high school. Nor would they know how Hodaka’s hometown looked like and how was his life before his departure. Perhaps, using Shinkai’s own words, Hodaka was just “rebelling on instinct,” without knowing the consequences of his action.
Hodaka’s action brings immediate consequences. After he arrived in Tokyo, he had to live on the streets for a few days as he couldn’t find a workplace so he can make ends meet. He was rejected everywhere. Every adult refuse to give him responsibilities because he is still a teenager.
There is a tendency to frame adults in this film as antagonists. The adults in this film refuse to give Hodaka and other teenage characters, including the main heroine Hina Amano and her brother Nagi, any trust to live their lives by themselves. Unlike Hodaka, Hina and Nagisa had to live by themselves because their parents passed away. To avoid being picked up by social welfare agents, Hina had to hide her age so she could get a job. Adults in this film seem to think that they know what is best for children and teenagers, without actually trying to listen to those teenagers.
Of course not every adult in the film framed that way. In the early part of the film, Hodaka was taken in by Keisuke Suga and Natsuki. Just like Hodaka, both of them also struggled to live in Tokyo. Seeing Hodaka’s life in samilar situation, They were willing to provide him food and shelter. In return, Hodaka had to help them create cheap articles for a tabloid to make money.
It is important to consider Keisuke and Natsuki’s position in the film. They are the only adults who understand the “rebelling on instinct” feeling a teenage has. It is not like the adults in this film are wrong. In fact Hina and Nagisa’s life might have been better if they had been treated by the Department of Social Welfare. However, Hodaka and Hina want to choose their own responsibility, not being chosen by someone else.
It is when Keisuke stopped helping them that the conflict started to escalate. Keisuke realized that helping Hodaka means he probably would have to deal with the police. At this point, Keisuke was not really that different from the other adults in film. he wanted those teenagers to give up choosing their own responsibility, and let adults dictate it.
At the same time, Hina and Hodaka also realized Hina’s role as the weather girl. It made things even more complicated. Both Hina and Hodaka started to realize that they really can’t choose their own responsibility. Hina’s role as the weather girl means that she has to fulfill her role or Tokyo would suffer because of her. That is the responsibility assigned to her, and she can’t run away from it.
But they refused to give up, and this is why the audience could easily relate to them. Having responsibility assigned to you is not a pleasant thing. The film understands it. It understands that everyone has their own moment when they want to break away from their own responsibility. It is echoed by the teenage characters in this film. In fact, that is probably what “rebelling on instinct” that Shinkai said actually means: to have freedom to choose our own responsibilities, not being chosen by someone else.
Weathering with You is probably not as critically received as your name. But making comparisons between these two works is not really that helpful considering Weathering with You has its own story to tell. It tells a story that many people could easily empathize with: story of characters who refuse to be controlled by other people who do not even try to understand them. Combined with Shinkai and CoMix Wave’s capability to create beautiful sceneries and perfectly timed soundtrack, Weathering with You is a beautifully drawn, beautifully animated, beautifully executed, angsty teenage rebellion story.
The Indonesian Anime Times | Review by Dany Muhammad | Image source: Weathering With You‘s official Twitter account