Film Review

Anime Eiga Review: Tenki no Ko

Original Release Date: July 19, 2019 
Directed By: Makoto Shinkai 
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Tenki no Ko. Reader discretion is advised.***

Film Synopsis

Japan is experiencing an unprecedented amount of rain, and the Sun has not come out for weeks. This is where our story begins.

Hodaka Morishima (voiced by Kotarou Daigo) has run off to Tokyo and is in a bind. With little money to his name and nowhere to stay, Hodaka manages to find work at a small-time publishing company. While there, Hodaka begins to write a story about Sunshine Girls, women rumored to be able to control the weather.

Not believing in such things, Hodaka’s whole world is turned upside down when he meets Hina Amano (voiced by Nana Mori), a real Sunshine Girl.

Hodaka and Hina form a close relationship, and they decide to use Hina’s abilities to bring back sunny days to the city. However, they fail to realize the price of such amazing power.

Film Positives

I am one of the many who got wrapped up in (and standby) the phenomenon that was Director Makoto Shinkai’s 2016 mega-hit Kimi no Na wa. Therefore, I couldn’t help going into 2019’s Tenki no Ko with certain expectations. To that end, I would say those expectations were met.

First off, Tenki no Ko was a beautiful film. The animation and visuals were nothing short of spectacular. If there is one thing Mr. Shinkai can do, it is lighting. The use of sunlight and how it bounced off the world right after a rainstorm was stunning.

To take this praise one step further, Tenki no Ko is the better animated between itself and Kimi no Na wa. Don’t get me wrong, both films are breathtaking, but Kimi no Na wa only had one big showpiece that fully highlighted its outstanding colorwork and spectacle. By comparison, Tenki no Ko was so much more ambitious with its visuals.

Having said that, between the two, I still have to give the overall win to Kimi no Na wa, and I do that for one reason: The characters. Specifically, the two main characters.

You may be wondering why I am mentioning this in the positives section of the review. It’s because Tenki no Ko’s characters, if this were any other movie, were its best feature. And again, that is why I wanted to make it clear that I am referring to the two leads, Hodaka Morishima and Hina Amano.

I want to set Hodaka aside. All you need to know about him for the moment is that I don’t think he was a bad character. However, compared to Hina, Hodaka was lacking.

As such, Hina was great, and she was as good as anyone in Kimi no Na wa. She was well-rounded, and every decision she made, every action she took, they not only made sense, you knew where they were coming from. Hina was put into a difficult position when she had to become the head of her household. Everything she did was to ensure she and her brother could stay together. Hina was a selfless person who knew there were things only she could do.

Hina was also not someone who needed saving; she was never the damsel in distress. There may have been things she needed help with, and there were those who would risk everything to be by her side, but she was more than capable of taking care of herself.

Hina was easy to understand.

Plus, and this is more a personal thing with me, Tenki no Ko was much more straightforward than Kimi no Na wa. After all, a girl who can change the weather is much simpler to follow than body-swapping, time-traveling teenagers.

That is why I think this film is in an interesting position.

Although I enjoyed Kimi no Na wa better than Tenki no Ko, if you are someone who didn’t care for the former, you might have more luck with the latter. You need to know this if you decide to check out this film:

This is Tenki no Ko, not Kimi no Na wa 2. These are two fantastic, separate movies. And that is what I liked about this film; it relied on its own merits.

Film Negatives

Tenki no Ko’s most significant struggle point was its pacing, particularly in the beginning.

This film felt very fast-paced, and from where I was sitting, it seemed as though Tenki no Ko wanted Hodaka and Hina to meet as soon as possible. And when I say “meet,” I mean the movie needed to get to the scene where Hodaka and Hina actually began their relationship. Everything before that moment was rushed and hurriedly established.

For example, why did Hodaka come to Tokyo? Or rather, why did he decide to run away from home?

The film did explain that Hodaka was trying to follow the Sun. However, there were also hints that he didn’t want to live at his parent’s place anymore. The problem was, the movie never explained his reasons. This was why Hodaka wasn’t anywhere close to as good a character as Hina. The film never established his motivations, or, at least, not as well as it did with Hina.

From what I could see, it appeared as though Hodaka’s running off was something he had been planning for a while. After all, he had enough money to get to Tokyo and survive for about a week. Therefore, he had some money saved up. Still, Hodaka clearly didn’t appreciate the enormous step he was taking.

To be blunt, Hodaka felt like he was around to be Hina’s love interest; that’s how little background he had. As such, it’s hard not to compare Hodaka and Hina’s relationship with Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu’s from Kimi no Na wa.

With Taki and Mitsuha, they were equal in what they needed to do in their story. More specifically, Kimi no Na wa WAS their story. This made you want to root for them, and it’s what made Kimi no Na wa’s ending so good.

Tenki no Ko tried to have something similar, but there was no balance between Hodaka and Hina. Thus, this film’s closing moments lacked punch. As for myself, I can remember walking out of the theater and missing that same wow-factor I felt after Kimi no Na wa.

Be that as it may, these two films are perfect companion pieces. So, you really can’t go wrong with either of them.

Final Thoughts

How do you follow up a mega-hit? Well, I don’t know about you, but Director Makoto Shinkai does it by making yet another fantastic film.

This movie was absolutely gorgeous throughout, thus setting a high standard for whatever may come next. Although some aspects weren’t given as much background as others, the overall story remained straightforward and fun.

This was a great watch.

Tenki no Ko has earned a recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this film? How would you advise Tenki no Ko? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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