by Alleef Ashaari in
Feature

A lot of people adored Makoto Shinkai’s latest animated movie, Weathering With You. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.

My review has since received flak and attacks from Shinkai fans and weeaboos who apparently think that Weathering With You is the greatest anime masterpiece since 2016’s Your Name and that it’s a crime for anyone not to like the movie.

Sure, Weathering With You featured breathtakingly-beautiful animation and visuals of unparallel quality. But it had several glaring problems and flaws, including its extremely unlikeable male protagonist, Hodaka Morishima, and its ridiculously nonsensical plot.

I will be discussing full spoilers from Weathering With You below, so if you haven’t watched the movie yet, this is your last chance to stop reading.

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Weathering With You Hodaka 1

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I hate Hodaka with an unbridled passion. He is one of the most unlikeable male protagonists I’ve ever had the displeasure of knowing. In Weathering With You, Hodaka is a 16-year-old boy who runs away from home and escapes to Tokyo to find a new life there.

And that’s literally all we learn about the character for the entirety of the movie. Shinkai couldn’t even take a few minutes out of the movie’s almost two-hour-long runtime to explain why Hodaka is running away from home in the first place.

The one and only attempt to flesh out and develop Hodaka in the movie is in a scene where he reveals that the reason why he can’t go back home is because he finds living with his parents too suffocating.

What exactly does “suffocating” mean? Did his parents abuse him either physically or emotionally? Did something happen with his parents that forced him to run away from home? No, all we know is that his parents were too “suffocating”.

This makes him come across as a spoiled brat who ran away from home for seemingly petty and selfish reasons. He sounds like a naive delinquent in his rebellious teenage phase who doesn’t care about how his actions negatively affect others.

Hodaka acts rashly and impulsively throughout the movie, never thinking about what long-term effects of whatever he does. Some people would say that this behaviour is considered normal for a teenager his age, but that doesn’t excuse what he does throughout the movie.

Thanks to Hodaka’s status as a runaway minor, he brings problems to both female protagonist Hina Amano and supporting adult character Keisuke Suga. It turns out that the police have been looking for him, bringing dire ramifications for both Hina and Suga.

Weathering With You Hodaka 2

The police inform Hina that social services will be called in to take away Nagi (Hina’s younger brother) because they are minors with no legal guardian, while Suga refuses to help harbour Hodaka any longer for fear of negatively impacting his ongoing custody case for his daughter.

What is Hodaka’s reaction to all this? Not to give himself to the police and go home like a sensible and responsible person would, but instead what he does next is to further drag Hina and her brother to run away with him.

Hodaka even has delusions of somehow being able to sustain living with just Hina and her brother at hotels with just the one-time severance pay Suga gave him. That further proves just how childish he is, and how his actions will only endanger those around him.

It all comes to a head when Hodaka commits the ultimate selfish act during the climax of Weathering With You. In the lore established within the movie, Hina is a sunshine girl or weather maiden who must be sacrificed in order to appease/stop the increasingly-aggressive and unpredictable weather.

Hina sacrifices herself to stop the torrential rain from flooding the city of Tokyo, but Hodaka, blinded by his love for her, engages in a frantic chase from the police to try and save her. At one point, Suga gets involved again and Hodaka points a freaking gun at him (and several cops) like an unhinged maniac.

He ultimately succeeds in saving Hina from being sacrificed but in doing so, caused the crazy weather to return and ravage Tokyo.

After jumping forward three years into the future, we find out that Hodaka finally graduated from high school (while on probation) and that half of Tokyo is now flooded and submerged in water.

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That’s right. Hodaka’s actions caused a whole Waterworld situation to happen in Tokyo, but it seems that the inhabitants are seemingly fine with it and shrugging it off nonchalantly. We’re supposed to be okay with Hodaka causing countless citizens to be displaced with nowhere to go (now that their homes are underwater)?

It must have been chaotic as hell in those three years while Tokyo started to slowly drown in rising water levels. It would’ve been a nightmarish situation for everyone in the city.

But no, we’re supposed to accept it all on the basis of one senile grandma saying that this is all just Tokyo simply returning to how it was in olden times when it was a bay.

The guilt of being single-handedly responsible for all of that should be psychologically-devastating for anyone, let alone a naive teenager. Hodaka must be a psychopath of some sort if he’s seriously perfectly fine with everything that’s happened.

Weathering With You expects us to not only sympathise and relate with Hodaka but somehow celebrate his relationship with Hina. He saved Hina at the expense of a city with millions of people whose lives were disrupted by a massive environmental change.

I’m sorry but as touching and emotional as it all was, I just couldn’t bear to support Hodaka in any way. His only redeemable quality is that he’ll do anything for love and to recap; that includes stealing a cop’s gun and pointing it at the man (Suga) who gave him shelter when had none and causing irreversible harm to millions of people by submerging half of Tokyo.

You can like Weathering With You all you want, especially in lush and detailed animation, but no one in their right mind would say that Hodaka is a ‘good’ protagonist.

If anything, the plot and character course for Hodaka in the movie seems fitting for the origin of a supervillain, or at the very least a mentally-disturbed individual.


 

Aspiring writer. Born in Amsterdam, raised in Malaysia. Comics are my passion. A gamer and science fiction enthusiast. PSN: AlleefAshaari
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22 Comments

 by xia in September 15, 2019

Sir, you are a fucking idiot who decides to SJW on what, a fantasy story? Also, you call the old woman senile. Is that because you don't like that her point completely contradicts what you want to believe? If a place used to be the equivalent of Atlantis, why the hell is it wrong to leave things be? Hina doesn't owe anyone shit, she shouldn't be spirited away for a district of selfish fucks who would sacrifice a life for better weather. In fact that puts into perspective all the horror stories about young virgins being sacrificed because they believed that "the gods needed a sacrifice to be placated". Plus it's a coming of age story, how many people that age can claim to make "sensible life choices". Get off the stupid moral high horse.

 by Nicole in December 22, 2020

Beautifully said you just took everything I was gonna say and turn it into this beautiful statement🙏🏽

 by gamerbearyamato in September 16, 2019

Yes. Thank you. Someone finally said it. Hodaka is an idiot who doomed and sacrificed thousands in Tokyo just for the sake of one girl. HAHA

 by Nicole in December 22, 2020

Hina's life wasn't something to be sacrifced in the first place she owed no one anything in fact she's the one who gave them sunshine at times so they could be happy also may i state all of those thousands of lives that were "sacrifced" had nothing to do with Hina she was just 15 and she deserved to live just as much as anyone else and I know for a fact that many of those lives that were sacrificed probably wouldn't even do shit for Hina and also you all are saying how stupid Hodaka is when the real truth is that many of you prob wouldn't even do that for just one person so he should let her die to save everyone which is not even guaranteed because a next sunshine girl would have to be sacrificed all over again the point is everything that happened was inevitable and yall are very irrational and inconsiderate it tells alot about someone's personality just by adding one comment how ironic anyways have a nice day.

 by Rylissa in September 16, 2019

It's actually implied by the plasters on Hodaka's face when he first appears that he was being abused. The gun didn't come from some cop either, but was hidden in a trashcan outside the club owned by the thug trying to coerce Hina, and Hodaka first used it to get them free of the thug. It wasn't just Taki's grandmother talking about Tokyo being a bay. There was also that old monk who pointed out that the planet and its climate shifting had long preceded recorded human history.

 by Lolz Name in October 3, 2019

Ah finally I’m not the only one who hated the movie

 by Ichigo in November 3, 2019

Yeah I agree hodaka was selfish but the plot of the story was really amazing no matter what others say. I enjoyed watching it as much as your name and i really recommend every anime fan to watch it and try to really understand it and I really think its a lovable!

[…] With You, Hodaka reverses Hina’s sacrifice when, as one critic put it, he brings Hina back and “doomed Tokyo because of hormones” by retriggering the rainfall. The city is subsumed by flood, with homes and businesses bricked […]

[…] You, Hodaka reverses Hina’s sacrifice when, as one critic put it, he brings Hina again and “doomed Tokyo due to hormones” by retriggering the rainfall. The town is subsumed by flood, with properties and companies […]

[…] With You, Hodaka reverses Hina’s sacrifice when, as one critic put it, he brings Hina back and “doomed Tokyo because of hormones” by retriggering the rainfall. The city is subsumed by flood, with homes and businesses bricked […]

[…] With You, Hodaka reverses Hina’s sacrifice when, as one critic put it, he brings Hina back and “doomed Tokyo because of hormones” by retriggering the rainfall. The city is subsumed by flood, with homes and businesses bricked […]

[…] With You, Hodaka reverses Hina’s sacrifice when, as one critic put it, he brings Hina back and “doomed Tokyo because of hormones” by retriggering the rainfall. The city is subsumed by flood, with homes and businesses bricked […]

[…] You, Hodaka reverses Hina’s sacrifice when, as one critic build it, he brings Hina attend and “doomed Tokyo thanks to hormones” by retriggering the rainfall. Town is subsumed by flood, with properties and companies bricked […]

[…] Hodaka reverses Hina’s sacrifice when, as one critic attach it, he brings Hina reduction and “doomed Tokyo attributable to hormones” by retriggering the rainfall. The city is subsumed by flood, with homes and businesses bricked […]

[…] With You, Hodaka reverses Hina’s sacrifice when, as one critic put it, he brings Hina back and “doomed Tokyo because of hormones” by retriggering the rainfall. The city is subsumed by flood, with homes and businesses bricked […]

 by Amirul Afiq in August 13, 2020

Not to mention that he was explicitly warned by that medium that the sunshine girl would be spirited away if she continues doing what she’s doing. He didn’t seriously take note of it until Suga’s niece mentioned it to Hina.

 by Mohaiman MSTK in November 13, 2020

Tbh I respectfully disagree. I think Hodaka is a well rounded character. Also Hina was messing with the nature and the inevitable. Escaping from the flood was like escaping from real life problems. The true message of the movie was to face problems instead of running away from them and I think Hodaka did a great job of choosing to face the problem and save Hina.

 by Nicole in December 22, 2020

Well said I don't even need to comment this pretty much explained it all 🙂

 by Lov3Anim3 in January 13, 2021

I just watched the movie . I really like all characters but i really don’t like hodaka character . As you said he was so selfish. He just pointed out the gun who gave him shelter and not just that also save him from falling through the ship . Pls forgive my English. Eng is not mother language

 by M in March 1, 2021

I do agree that they should have explain more of the reason why Hodaka ran away. I do think that he was abused due the bandages that was on his face in the beginning. It would also explain the reason that he turned his gun on the dude that took him in after he got punched in the face. However if this is the case, they should have shown it more. I also believe that one of the themes of the movie is inevitability. It was inevitable that Hodaka will have to return to his parents. At the same time, it was inevitable that Tokyo was going to sink. At some point, there would be someone not willing to sacrifice themselves to stop the rain. The old man said that rain storms like that had happened before and the sun maiden was sacrificed to return the weather to normal. Really, humans are at the mercy of the planet, not the other way around.

 by Salty in April 30, 2021

Bruh you can tell there's domestic violence going on by Hodaka's wound on his face. He's just a teenager so it would be ooc if he choose to face the police. Hina have no obligation to save tokyo, it's been raining since before she had her power.

 by James in May 21, 2021

There are enough stories where someone nobly sacrifices themselves for the greater good. Let us have just one where the trope is subverted. Some people won't sleep until every single thing is a cliche.

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