Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering With You & future of Japanese Anime in India

SINN SINN Oct 14, 2019 Anime, Comics, Manga

Last Friday, theaters across the national capital region were packed to the brim with 16 to 25-year-olds, even at odd hours of the day. They hadn’t gathered there to see their favorite Bollywood actors break out into song and dance sequences on the big screen.

They were there for anime. For the first time, a Japanese anime feature received a countrywide release in India, thanks to a Change.org petition started by anime lovers that had attracted over 56,000 signatures since February.

Celebrated director Makoto Shinkai’s much-anticipated work Tenki No Ko (Weathering With You) premiered on October 11 to PVR screens, setting remarkable precedence for Japanese animation in India.

The demand for tickets was so insane that most of the ‘first-day first show’ shows got sold out the second they went on sale online on Bookmyshow.com (the ticketing partner for this special release).

So, what is so special about this film to deserve this fanfare?

For starters, Weathering With You is being touted as Japan’s highest-grossing anime feature film this year, and is its official entry to the Oscars in the Best International Feature Film category.

Produced by CoMix Wave Films, Genki Kawamura, and Story Inc., its animation is top-notch, with gorgeous visuals and smooth transitions that give you an out of the world feel without breaking the fourth wall.

The icing on the cake is the soundtrack by Japanese band RADWIMPS

But the key reason Tenki No Ko garnered such attention from a worldwide audience is because of the success of the director’s first work, Your Name (2016). (The loudest cheer I heard while watching the film was when the two leads from Your Name made a cameo appearance.)

In a way, it undermined the film’s originality as it was so easy to compare the two films and note the similarities, both in terms of animation and narrative.

Weathering With You, A Cynical Look At Climate Change

Weathering with you tells the story of Hodaka Morishima, a 16-year-old islander who runs away to Tokyo on a particularly rainy year and encounters the mysterious ‘Sunshine girl’ Hina.

Together they get a magical chance to change the map of Japan for the better, and bring a stop to the never-ending downpour, but at a cost.

As they go through many strange and ordinary adventures, the audience is posed with the question: is sacrificing one life in exchange for a greater good, the right means to the end?

At a time when millions are turning up to take action against climate change, the selfish decision of the Hadoka to choose his love and companionship with Hina over bringing sunshine to Japan and saving it from potentially going underwater in the coming future, will surely leave many uncomfortable.

The movie also questions the arrogance of mankind to think they can change climate and weather, when humanity is but a blip in the history of this planet.

In theory, an ending where two leads chose love when faced with an apocalyptic crisis, sounds great, but Tenki No Ko did a poor job of executing it.

The desperation of the characters and their emotional turmoil failed to move the audience, as the storytellers didn’t bother giving context to their actions, which then came across as cringe-worthy at best.

Verdict: Overhyped, but Serves its Purpose

Overhyped though it may be, for an Indian anime fan, the film does serve a greater purpose above its narrative quality & analysis of art. That fact that an anime film can open to such large and enthusiastic crowd, and even make money for the properties like PVR and Vkaao.com is very good news.

The future of anime looks brighter in India when anime lovers choose to pay for content over piracy.

Feature image credits: in.bookmyshow.com

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SINN

SINN, alter ego of Papri Das. A journalist by profession and an Otaku by passion. Follow me to get a weekly dose of anime, manga, webtoons and everything in between.