Global Hit Toon ‘Weathering With You’ Signals Climate Change for Japanese Anime

Variety | 1/15/2020 | Thomas J. McLean
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Makoto Shinkai’s “Weathering With You,” which tells the tale of a young boy who falls for a girl with the power to stop ceaseless rainstorms pounding Tokyo, marks the first time an anime has been chosen as Japan’s foreign-language Oscar entry.

The GKIDS release echoes an element of Shinkai’s previous anime, “Your Name,” a body-swapping story that was a global phenomenon, topping the box office that year in Japan and earning accolades on its way to a $358 million global haul. Nevertheless, that film earned Shinkai some controversy as well, for using a natural disaster (a comet strike) as the basis for entertainment. His follow-up invites the same criticism, an outcome the director had considered.

Film - People - Movie - Latter - Interview

“I thought, ‘Should I make my next film so that I don’t anger more people, or should I make a movie that angers them further?’ And I chose the latter,” he says in an interview conducted via a translator.

At the core of the new film is the relationship between vagabond teens Hodaka (voiced by Kotaro Daigo) and Hina (Nana Mori). Shinkai says animation should be made for young people, and that the story he’s telling is as much about family and friends as it is about finding first love. Still, he allows that emotion is central to the story. “What I really want to depict is how very strongly a young person feels for the first time toward another,” he says.

Shinkai - Impact - Climate - Change - Japan

Shinkai also was inspired by the impact of climate change on Japan, which has seen an increasing number of water-related disasters, including more rainfall each summer. “It seems like it’s only getting worse right now,” he says. “Of course we have to politically do something, but because we can’t change it immediately, that means a key question becomes ‘How is the young generation going to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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