Thoughts on the Weathering With You (「天気の子」) Novelization
by Rakka • Tags: anime makoto-shinkai
At AnimeNYC 2019, I also managed to pick up the novelization of Weathering With You early (it’s meant to release in mid-December), as Yen Press was there. Having both watched the premiere and read the novel now, I think it’s not worth getting; it adds a little bit to the characters, but doesn’t reveal anything particularly interesting, and doesn’t address some of the ambiguities or seeming oversights of the movie.
The novel does include two afterwords, one from Makoto Shinkai, the other from Yojiro Noda (of RADWIMPS). They both express a similar sentiment, that people may not be satisfied with the story.
Even so, Hodaka goes to save her. Hina is necessary to his world. It doesn’t matter whether society is satisfied with the ending of this story. —Yojiro Noda
I didn’t give a single thought to making something “good enough for a summer blockbuster that would appeal to people of all ages and genders.” —Makoto Shinkai
Obviously, following up Your Name is a heavy task, and it seems Shinkai decided not to worry about it and make the kind of film he wanted. Indeed, Noda claims that Shinkai had before been “timid about his endings,” but not in Weathering With You.
Both also note that the ending song, “We’ll Be Alright”, was only chosen some time into production, and that the ending was re-arranged to fit it. Noda notes that he ultimately felt that the movie helped explain the meaning of the song, and I think that explanation is a beautiful summary of the film:
…when they see someone special and irreplaceable struggling, everyone prays, “I want to become what all right means to this person.”
Why does Hodaka keep the gun? WHY does he keep firing it? The novel doesn’t really answer this satisfactorily. As in the movie, he merely states he thought it was a toy, though now he doesn’t even really believe this, and there’s the additional bit about him thinking it’s a good-luck charm, as if he’s some kind of country bumpkin.
I tried again, desperately. “I was just carryng it around, to, like, help me feel safer. I was only trying to scare him; I never thought it would actually—”
…Carrying this thing around as a protective charm, I’d started to feel tough… (pg. 43)
Hina also doesn’t elaborate on why she comes back to him.
What is Hodaka doing in Tokyo in the first place? I think in the film, it’s all too easy to miss, and even in the novel, there’s really only one brief line that might explain why he left his home:
That day, I was pedaling as hard as I could to cancel out the pain from where my dad had hit me. (pg. 121)
What are Natsumi and Kei really like? These two get fleshed out more. Natsumi really is a young woman, worried about her future direction in life; Kei is conflicted, struggling with whether to help Hodaka at the end.
My girlhood, my adolescence, my moratorium—they all ended here.
Watching my adolescence recede into the distance, I prayed with sunny skies in my heart.
So you two come home safe, too.
—Natsumi, watching Hodaka as he continues running after the cop chase (pg. 140–141)
Did Hodaka have somebody like that? …Did I? Somebody I’d sacrifice everything just to see again?
I had, once upon a time. Asuka. If it meant I could see you again, what would I do? The same thing, probably—
Kei, as the police officer examines his apartment (pg. 138)
What is Hina’s power? Unexplained. There’s nothing more about the weather maiden or her sacrifice beyond what’s already in the movie.