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2023 Author: Malcolm Clapton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 06:26
Critic Alexei Khromov talks about the new work of the author of "Your Name", which combines a touching story and a stunning picture.
On October 31, the full-length anime "Weather Child" is released in Russia - another creation of one of the most popular and discussed authors Makoto Shinkai in recent years.
Prior to that, the director had released five full-length cartoons. And every time this is a real event for fans of good cinema. His previous work "Your Name" received nominations for the awards "Saturn", "Satellite", "Annie" and many different awards, and then became the highest grossing anime in history.
"Weather Child" has every chance of repeating the success of its predecessor and even bypassing it. They already want to nominate the film for an Oscar, and not in the animation categories, but as the Best Foreign Language Film. And this is well deserved, because the cartoon is just wonderful.
The tale of our world
In the center of the plot is Hodaka Morishima, a high school student who lived on a remote island, but ran away from home and decided to settle in Tokyo. His bright dreams of the capital are quickly crumbling: the student cannot find a job anywhere, and the prices are simply exorbitant.
After wandering the streets, Hodaka comes to his casual acquaintance from the ship, and he gives him shelter and work. Now the young man is writing notes for a magazine about the supernatural. And as a task, he goes in search of a girl who can control the weather. Much to the surprise of the hero, his new girlfriend Hina has such abilities.
Makoto Shinkai, as in the case of the painting "Your Name", surprisingly vividly combines the story of everyday life with fantastic and even fairy-tale themes. His characters do not live in a fictional world, like the cartoons of the great Miyazaki. This is a real modern and ordinary Japan, namely the author's favorite city - Tokyo. Moreover, the director managed to show the capital very lively. The architecture, the eternally bustling inhabitants, public transport - all this creates the feeling of a real visit to Japan.
And in the same way, the hero has completely simple problems: finding housing and work, first meeting a nice girl, visiting her and, of course, love.
And the story of Hina's magical abilities is added to these everyday worries. Her gift has long remained a mystery, but the eternal rain in Tokyo and weather anomalies constantly hint at the development of events. And when the main characters find each other, their life becomes bright and interesting: Hodaka and Hina are trying to help people, and at the same time make money. And in this part of the plot, nothing is impossible, be it flying over the clouds or the transformation of raindrops into living beings.
"Weather Child" perfectly maintains the balance of different moods, and therefore the cartoon will be understandable to literally any viewer. There is also enough teenage romance with many comic elements: Hodaka gazes at the figure of his colleague, does not know at all how to behave when visiting Hina, and the girl's brother bathes in the attention of fans.
There is also a lot of drama: from a certain moment, the closeness of the heroes takes on a tragic connotation, intertwining with the fates of the secondary characters. And besides, "Weather Child" once again makes you think about some important issues.
Hayao Miyazaki, with whose works most full-length anime will be compared for many years, in his fairy-tale cartoons always raised serious topics: the nightmares of war, the influence of man on nature, the difficulties of communicating with the family.
Makoto Shinkai, talking about modern society, also does not forget about topical issues. It all starts with teenagers looking for their place in life. Hodaka's rebellious escape and his attempts to find a job, the idea of earning money via the Internet for Hina and her younger brother, the creation of a stupid but bright advertisement - all this will probably seem familiar to many from his youth.
But then the topics only become more complicated, because we are already talking about a semi-mystical history of the predetermination of fate. And, as usual, only the strongest feelings can destroy the cycle of life and death. At the same time, the author does not lean towards a typical happy ending, allowing the audience to think out a lot on their own. Shinkai tries to avoid platitudes in scripts, and therefore the characters are not always brave and noble. But in them it is much easier to see real people.
And besides, the background through the entire plot is not the most noticeable, but very important topic of the relationship between man and nature. After all, even goodies change the weather for their own benefit, disrupting the natural cycle. And entire countries do the same in our real world. Nobody thinks about the consequences, everyone wants convenience right here and now.
Of course, this behavior will later turn into considerable problems for everyone. And the ambiguous ending of the cartoon, even a little out of the general atmosphere, makes us remember once again about the very topical problem of ecology and the fragility of human creations.
This is another reason everyone loved Makoto Shinkai's creations so much. When watching his cartoons, you can very quickly forget that all the characters, and even more so nature and cities are drawn. He creates amazingly cinematic works with deep elaboration.
Moreover, with each new cartoon, the visuals are getting better and better. Already "Your Name" was praised for the incredible construction of the frame: the shadows are subtly drawn, the movement of leaves that sways in the wind, and even glare on the camera facing the sun. No wonder Hollywood’s Remake of ‘Your Name’ Replaces Japanese Leads is already talking about the Hollywood game remake of the cartoon: the whole basis is in the original, it only needs to be adequately embodied in reality.
In Weather Child, Shinkai decides to devote more time to his beloved Tokyo and brings famous buildings and intersections to the screen in stunning realism. In one scene, connoisseurs will even notice the staircase from Your Name. For a while, the new cartoon turns into a small excursion around the city, which in the eyes of the author always looks a little sad, with a tinge of wilting, despite the industrialization and crowds of people.
And almost all the action is accompanied by water. It can be a heavy downpour or light rain, clouds, the sea - whatever you like. Constant dampness is literally felt when viewed. The streams of water do not seem to be just a background, they are completely real, which makes it easier for the viewer to understand the state of the characters. And therefore, when the sun comes out in the world of the cartoon, one will involuntarily want to smile.
"Weather Child" is an incredibly beautiful and very emotional work by a wonderful author. Despite the gloomy notes, this anime remains light and talks exclusively about the warm feelings of people. There are no villains in this story, just the hardships of life that the heroes need to cope with.
As a result, the cartoon is suitable for literally any viewer: there are simple jokes, scenes for children, and serious adult topics. And most importantly, just a fabulous atmosphere. And not in some fictional country, but in our ordinary modern world.