there was an interview with the writer/director after the movie where he admitted he was courting controversy by having the main character choose to save his love interest over preventing an environmental catastrophe that changed the face of tokyo. he anticipated audiences would either sympathize entirely or find the choice indefensible.
i’m a marxist, so i completely understand why the choice is indefensible. choosing one person over the safety of an entire city is indefensible. it’s honestly kind of staggering how selfish it is.
it’s also exactly the same choice i would make.
i’m sorry, i know this is the sort of thing you’re not supposed to openly admit, especially when you’re a marxist. but if i had to choose between my partners and the rest of the world i would choose my partners without a moment’s hesitation. this was even more obvious to me when my partner and i hugged each other and cried for long stretches of the movie, and we’ve repeated the line “i want you more than any blue sky” to each other numerous times in the wake of the film. fortunately it’s difficult for me to imagine a situation where the two priorities are at odds, so it’s not likely to ever come up, but nevertheless i know this to be the case beyond any shadow of a doubt.
it’s also deeply satisfying in the sense that it’s a vehement rejection of that frustrating trope of a woman (always a woman) having to sacrifice herself to appease some elemental force. having her boyfriend (yes, this film is regrettably straight, but i’m willing to allow it in this case) literally follow her into the sky to say nope and snatch her back was a welcome relief.
weathering with you has the same stunning animation as your name., but it deploys it a bit more strategically. my partner pointed out during our post-film discussion that everything is very drab and grey when it’s raining, which makes the parts where it’s sunny and gorgeous hit you even harder. i do have to say, though, considering how notoriously difficult water is to animate, the parts of the film where it’s raining are staggeringly good in their own way. and i think the flashiest example of the animators’ jaw-dropping skill has to be the fireworks. there’s not really anything i can say to do it justice.
the music is again a draw. shinkai reveals in the aforementioned interview that radwimps sent him some tracks that went in directions he wasn’t expecting and he ended up rewriting portions of the movie around them. i can safely say this was the right move, because dang.
the your name. cameos were handled perfectly. there’s something deeply satisfying about hearing nearly a hundred people gasp at the same time, and contributing to said collective gasp. i love that kind of emotional synchronicity. it’s the sort of thing i loved about sports back when sports and i were friends.
but it’s the aforementioned emotional hook that really pushes weathering with you over the top for me. both it and your name. involve someone frantically trying to save the love of their life from seemingly impossible odds, with weathering with you adding the stakes that they are explicitly choosing their loved one’s safety over everything else. it’s difficult to imagine a central thrust speaking to me more.
seriously, though, i’m pretty sure i can save the world and keep my loved ones safe at the same time.