The Weathering With You Movie by Makoto Shinkai is well received, yet most do not know of its Very Hidden Message.
Makoto Shinkai has been elevated to a high standard. Rightfully so since his films are very good and he is considered to be a modern-day Hayao Miyazaki. The Weathering with You Movie is a fantasy/romance/part doomsday story. A 16-year-old boy named Hodaka runs away from his home in rural Japan. Like many of these films, he goes to the big city of Tokyo where he befriends an orphan girl who can manipulate the weather.
Hina is the sunshine girl. She is a 17-year old that lives with her 12-year-old brother Nagi who is a ladies’ man. When her mother was dying she went to a Shinto shrine to pray with immense energy to have one last sunshine day so she and her mother can walk in the sun. It worked. Now she can pray for it to be sunny where she is and shows this to Hodaka. This is after the gunfire incident that shocks them both. Guns by the way are not allowed in Japan per se. You will get life in prison just for firing one.
After the prayer with Hodaka, strange fish appear randomly throughout Tokyo and disappear. They eventually decide to sell her sunshine abilities to make money. All seems good because she uses her gift which makes her happy and she and her brother are making money to live well. The gun incident brings chaos to their lives shortly after this. Hodaka, Hina and Nagi must run away cause the police are looking for Hodaka and they find out that Hina and her brother are minors living alone.
The teens spend their money to stay a night in a fancy hotel. We later learn that she is actually just 15 years old. During this we see Hina start to fade away as she is a sacrifice to the shrine because this is alchemy and duality and of course a Japanese film. Her power comes as a price and it is the price of her life on earth. The next morning she is gone and Hodaka is arrested and Nagi is taken as well by the police. The sunshine girl narrative is made up and not real.
Hina wakes up on a cloud in the sky and is now made up of mostly liquid. Hodaka escapes from the cops with help of friends and runs to the shrine. Going through the Torii gate and finds himself at a free fall through the stratosphere. It is at this moment a large watery creature swallows him. The shrine is an Inari Shrine. There are two major water dragon deities in Japanese mythology. First, let’s touch on Kuraokami. It is a Shinto deity of rain and snow.
The second is a Buddhist deity depicted here to the right and is known as Zennyo Ryūō or goodness woman dragon-king. This is literally a woman with a dragon for a tail. When watching the scene from the Weathering with You Movie, we mentioned above about Hodaka free-falling after going through the Torri gate, it is clear that this is the deity in question.
The theory here is that Hina herself is in fact actually Zennyo Ryūō. This conclusion is arrived at because we see that the more she prays for the sun the more she fades away, going against her very nature. In the weathering with you movie during the scene where the priest is talking about the weather maiden you can see depictions of Zennyo Ryūō. Screenshots are below which reflects the picture above which is an official photo of the deity from the Ishikawa Nanao Art Museum.
Hodaka is spit out by the large watery create as mentioned above and flies through the air with the assistance of water sprites. That takes him to Hina. Hina seems to be getting eaten by the same water sprites, but once Hodaka arrives they scatter and Hina regains consciousness. She runs to him and they both fall back to earth together. It begins to rain so much more than before. It actually puts all or most of Tokyo underwater.
It is at this time Hodaka does his probation and returns to Tokyo only to see what has happened to it. It goes without saying that the natural order of the world must stay as it is. When Hina prays to Inari, she is granted the wish, but in doing so it disrupts the natural order. This flooding is made to remind us that Tokyo is built on the water. The Weathering With You Movie is not about climate change though or about stupid teenage love.
Yes, the film is a fantasy story about love. However, it goes without saying that it is truly about the Buddhist philosophy about suffering. Suffering is natural. We see people and the characters unhappy with their life and wishing for it to be so much more. In this film to be happy means more sunshine. Even if it means sacrificing a young girl to get it. This is shown by cosplayers in the film with fame and various other instances when you look at what is going on behind the main characters.
All things are transient. Tokyo is very much “alive” and like all things, it will inevitably change and go. Just like the sun and even so far as the universe. If you wish for these things to never happen or hoping or desiring it to not be so, it will lead to suffering (disappointment). The world like water is constantly in motion and fitting into everything and even breaking down what lies in its path. As Bruce Lee once famously said, be like water. It can fit into any container but can crash and break a wall. The future cannot be known and change cannot be slowed or stopped. Be in the moment and enjoy where you are right now.
Happiness, like beauty is ever fleeting in glorious fashion. That is not a sad thing, in fact it is part of the beauty in our lives. This and what was mentioned above is the hidden message in the Weathering With You Movie.