Images from Weathering with You (Makoto Shinkai, 2020)

Makoto Shinkai’s sixth feature-length cartoon, Weathering with You, oozes visual lyricism and primal yearning.  Shinkai’s characters may be “wispy” (negative spin) or “archetypal” (positive spin), his messages may be “sentimental” or (unduly) “optimistic,” but he’s a born moviemaker with an imagistic imagination. As Shinkai follows a runaway 16-year-old, Hodaka, who ships out from his island home and carves a place for himself in Tokyo during an unprecedented rain-soaked summer, the movie’s surface oscillates between harsh or seductive liquid shapes and slashes or pools of colorful, shimmering light.

Not a clichéd composition can be seen in the near-two-hour running time. Even when Hodaka pushes himself to the edge of desperation, Tokyo’s neon and LED signs register less as excess flash and filigree than as beacons for a…

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