Weathering With You: Blending romance and environmentalism

One of 2019’s trending anime films, Weathering With You (from the creators of Your Name) was unique in its depiction of environmentalism and blended this theme with blossoming romance. In particular, the film highlights that individuals do have the power to stop climate change and make a significant difference in the environment.

The film makes this statement through its narrative that the main character, Hina (a “sunshine girl”), has the power to stop the rain and alter the weather. Alongside her is her friend Hodaka, and the two start a business in which customers ask for Hina to summon good weather for special occasions – but their success comes at a cost. With governments not doing enough to prevent climate change, the film emphasises how individuals have a duty and role to play in stopping the earth’s eventual demise.

Love and Loss

Weathering With You has been lauded by critics, for it appeals to the audience’s emotions; a seemingly tragic love story that is tied to the environmental crisis we are currently facing. Hodaka and Hina are both teenagers without support networks who find solace in each other’s company. Their partnership is successful as they start to rake in cash and find meaning in their abilities. However, it is soon revealed that as the sunshine girl, Hina will soon be sacrificed and will eventually disappear; reverting the weather back to normal. When she is gone, there will be no more rain.

The audience empathises with Hodaka as he experiences the absence of his love interest, even though the weather is nice again. Loss is exhibited in different ways and can resonate with the audience, who feel more inclined to remember the film’s underlying message.

A unique take on the environment

Weathering With You blatantly alludes to the fact that in a decade or so, the world will be experiencing extreme weather, according to scientific research. In the narrative, the main characters try to forestall the environmental crisis as much as they can, but to no avail. For example, the main characters keep clearing up the weather for various situations as part of their business, like for celebrations and festivities. However, Hina can only do so much at the expense of her own health. This demonstrates that climate change is inevitable and will undoubtedly affect everyone, with varying degrees.

Much of the pouring rain that is depicted in the film will likely become a reality for us. In fact, a warmer atmosphere will lead to a 1-2% increase in precipitation per degree by warming – this may not sound like a lot, but it can accumulate quickly over time. Often, extreme weather as a consequence of climate change is overlooked by other pressing issues like melting ice, raging wildfires, hurricanes, and more. Frequent rainfall is not an issue that we are fazed by, but it is more serious than we think. Highlighting this fact in a film is effective in raising awareness.

One person’s decisions and actions can go a long way

The film demonstrates that two people have the ability to impact the climate at large. One person’s actions can make a huge difference to the millions of people who will feel its effects. Weathering With You also sheds light on collective guilt and how human beings are currently not doing enough individually to curb climate change. The environmental burden seems to have fallen on individuals, who are now taking matters literally into their own hands to do their part in saving the planet. This can be as simple as choosing not to use plastic bags anymore or no longer supporting fast fashion brands. Individual advocacy and awareness can also influence government and corporation policies.

Weathering With You makes a strong statement about climate change in a more unconventional way – by enabling audiences to empathise with the main characters, who are falling in love, as they personally feel the loss that resulted from extreme weather. Everyone has the power and ability to make a difference in preventing climate change, no matter how small the action is. The film certainly resonates with audiences, now more than ever, as the climate catastrophe really starts to make its effects known in the 21st century.

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