Your Name vs. Weathering With You: Comparing two animated masterpieces

Ethan Alonzo, Editor-In-Chief

*Review contains spoilers*
Calling Makoto Shinkai’s 2016 film “Your Name” a global phenomenon would be an understatement, to say the least. Reaching over $358 million, Your Name has reached international success, akin to the success of Studio Ghibli and Akira. Even four years later, Your Name is still talked about throughout the Anime community. The film was voted Favorite Anime Film of the Decade by fans for Funimation’s A Decade of Anime event.
Your Name has become so popular in fact, that the same year the film was shown in the United States, a live-action version was announced. Director Marc Webb, 500 Days of Summer, and producer J. J. Abrams, Cloverfield, have signed on to be part of the film. They will be joined by the original film’s producers, Toho, for Japan’s distribution.
Now, four years later, Makoto Shinkai has once again found success with his newest masterpiece “Weathering With You.” Now Shinkai’s fanbase has been overtaken with the question: Which one is better”
While both films have their flaws as well as their outstanding moments, Weathering With You excels in areas that Your Name doesn’t reach as high. However, the success of Weathering With You lends itself to the success of Your Name.
Makoto Shinkai has always been known for the beautiful imagery he creates with his films. While the animation of Your Name still holds up, Weathering With You has something that Your Name seldom used: water animation. One of the main plot devices in Weathering With You is the rain, and Shinkai showcases it beautifully.
The music for both films fit the setting perfectly, as the main songs were written and performed by Japanese indie rock group RADWIMPS. In both films, the music felt perfect. If there would be one criticism, the main track for Your Name, Nandemonaiya, is more memorable than the main track of Weathering With You, Grand Escape.
There is a critical plot point within the film that lends credit to Your Name. The main characters Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu were the reason the main character of Weathering With You, Hodaka Morishima, figured out what gift to get for Hina Amano’s birthday. By including the main characters of Your Name, Shinkai confirms both films take place in the same universe.
In terms of plot, one criticism that Your Name had was the ending was a tad unclear. While we see both protagonists find and remember each other, what happens after is subjective. When you compare it to Weathering With You, the ending is much more clear.
We see the protagonists reunite and embrace each other, making it clear that they will be together in the future. One thing Weathering With You does differently when compared to other animated films is the ending. Instead of the standard film ending where everything works out, the characters had to deal with the consequences of their actions. Hodaka knew the rain wouldn’t stop if he took Hina back from her sky, and the ending of the film showed that the world had to deal with the choice Hodaka made.
Regardless of which film you prefer, one thing is clear. These films serve as Shinkai’s love letter to our youth. These films feel like they are dedicated to the connections we make that can outlast even the most tragic events. With that confirmation that both films take place in the same universe, one can’t help but wait until the next film.