(Spoilers for Weathering With You and Makoto Shinkai’s other works in this post.)
Weathering With You is set in a Japan where the rain doesn’t stop, and only a young girl’s prayers can clear the skies. In the interviews around the release of the film, director Makoto Shinkai talked about its themes in relation to the real-life phenomenon of climate change. For example in an interview with Fujinkōron (summarised in English on Anime News Network), Shinkai said:
Like most anime fans, I only heard of Genki Kawamura after Your Name became a smash hit around the world. As one of the producers of Your Name, Kawamura is sometimes credited with making Makoto Shinkai’s infamously obtuse and sentimental style of film making accessible to mainstream audiences for the first time… although I don’t know how much influence Kawamura really had on the storytelling itself. Regardless, he’s a big personality in his own right, which is something you don’t often see with Japanese anime producers.
I’ll be moving to Japan next month. I haven’t decided how long I’ll be staying yet, but for now I’ll be starting a new job in Tokyo. If you’re in the area and want to meet up, feel free to send me a message.
Let’s look at some of the stories that Makoto Shinkai referred to when creating Your Name. Below is a translation of a column written for the official Your Name guidebook. It’s written by Mizuo Watanabe, a manga critic and the main writer of the yearly Kono Manga ga Sugoi! guidebook.
WOW, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Even this monthly update post is almost a week late because I was away on a trip. I don’t even have any excuses for the radio silence, really, since it wasn’t like I’ve been particularly busy last January. I’m still in holiday mode, to be honest.
In any case, here’s what I’ve been up to lately:
2016 has been a crazy year in world politics, to put it lightly. Anti-globalist sentiments and nativism aren’t anything new in the scheme of things, but they were big factors behind some of the major political decisions of this year. Yet in spite of all the heightened anxiety about immigration and foreign trade, globalisation continues to truck on with no sign of stopping.
The anime industry is becoming more international. In 2016, we got a US-Japan anime collaboration in the form of the SHELTER music video, and we also got to see Kimi no Na wa break records around the world. And these are just the most obvious things that happened this year. These days, more and more foreigners are working in Japan’s anime industry (see: Thomas Romain’s cool website for aspiring French animators), and online streaming is getting bigger around the world. It’s never been a more exciting time to be an international anime fan.
Sure, the world might be fucked in the long term, but at least I’ll be watching good anime until the apocalypse…
Here in Down Under, we were pretty lucky to get a theatrical release of Kimi no Na Wa (or Your Name) before the year ended. I’m not the biggest Makoto Shinkai fan there ever was, but after seeing all the buzz around this film, I simply had to watch it. So I did, and I loved it. I watched it again two days later, the second time with an English dub. The dub wasn’t bad either!
I won’t say anything more about the film because the majority of you reading this post probably haven’t seen it yet. I also don’t particularly feel like sharing my critical reaction to it because that would also be spoilerific in a way. But I do want to talk a bit about what the film meant to me – not the plot, but the circumstances in which I watched it.