Makoto Shinkai might not be as well known as Hayao Miyazaki or Katsuhiro Otomo, but he will be one day. The director is responsible for bringing some of the best anime features in recent years to life, after all. From Your Name to Weathering With You, the artist has a way with storytelling, and Shinkai is expanding his reach with the latter film after posting an essay on its message.
This note comes ahead of a one-night event focused on Weathering With You. Shinkai's film is returning to theaters stateside this week as a way to celebrate its gorgeous tale. But after receiving some pointed questions about the movie's theme, Shinkai penned an essay addressing his vague approach to climate change.
Just, don't get things all twisted. Shinkai is a solid proponent for climate change activism, but Weathering With You was penned in such a way to address the topic indirectly.
As published by Collider, Shinkai's message stresses there is something weird in the world, and it is because of the stress humanity has put upon it. "Something is going wrong. The World has turned weird. Many stories start that way. There are many representative myths about the weather – it stops raining one day, or it rains non-stop. The solution is inevitably a human sacrifice. There are old tales of a girl being buried as an offering, or an action story in which she is rescued, and the villain substituted in her place. In any case, the ending finds a balance regained between Man and Nature, and the crazy world is restored to normality," he writes.
"Something is going wrong. The world is turning weird. The climate is going haywire. The world is drifting towards exclusionism, and the internet that was supposed to liberate us has become a device for shaming and idiocy, while the ground of Japan is shaking. And as far as I can see, speaking as a middle-aged man, this is what we chose for ourselves."
Continuing, Shinkai writes that older generations in power haven't stopped climate change from tipping over, and those who come after will be forced to inherit the mess. However, instead of forcing younger generations to solve the issue, Shinkai wanted to create a story where a young couple embrace the chaos.
"That's why I feel it's wrong for us, people making films for a younger audience, to force a story on them now about reclaiming the balance of the world. That is too egoistic and irresponsible. What, then, can we say to that audience," Shinkai asks.
"I want to make a film where a boy and girl actively choose that world. Let's depict a couple who will head towards a place of no return, brightly and positively. And if the audience share their choice with surprise and sympathy, we will be able to find a meaning in making this unrighteous story into a film of our times."0comments
Shinkai's approach to climate change might unorthodox here, but it still presents an argument for change. Despite the hopeless chaos in Weathering With You, our leads find a way to calm the storm surrounding them even if just temporarily. Of course, some supernatural help arrives to fix things, so it goes without saying that the real-world struggle against climate change is more dire than anything Shinkai has presented. But if you didn't leave the film thinking about the problem, well - the director wants you to watch Weathering With You a second time around.
What do you make of Shinkai's essay here? Does it make you see his latest film in a new way? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.