dirtbikeredden’s review published on Letterboxd:
Decided to watch this not only because A Silent Voice put me in the perfect mood to watch this film, but also because I’ll be seeing Makoto Shinkai’s, the director of this film, new film, Whethering With You, at TIFF next month.
Honestly, looking back at the anime films released throughout this decade, this is my second favorite anime film behind The Tale of The Princess Kaguya.
I’ve talked about the traditional trademarks of anime not being not my cup of tea in my review of A Silent Voice. Just like that film, this is also a major exception where those trademarks don’t hold this film back. However, unlike A Silent Voice, this is a film that I find to be essentially flawless. In fact, it’s at a point now where, just like The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, this has become one of my all time favorite films.
The story is super fucking clever and ingenious in the way that it’s structured and how it keeps certain details from the audience until later on the film when it’s more appropriate to reveal said detail. Not only is there more going on then the film lets on at the beginning and, therefore, make the film more intriguing and engaging to watch (like seriously, this film was impossible for me to not pay attention to because it’s so great at drawing the audience in), but it also lends itself really emotionally and dramatically satisfying moments that think would elevate any film regardless of whether it’s from an anime, western animated film or just a live action film in general.
Going back to the trademarks of anime, it is seen in this film. However, unlike a lot of anime films or shows, this film tones it down enough to where it’s not intrusive to the story or dramatic and emotional beats in the film. In fact, I think they found a good way of including them in the film while also toning it down that it actually ends up adding this sense of endearment to film.
If I had to point out one nitpicky, preferential thing, I would probably say that I find the English Dubbed version infererior to the Japanese Subbed version (and yes, I have seen both). Not just because I found the performances from the Japanese Voice Cast better than the English Voice Cast, but I also felt that, in the Japanese Subbed Version, there was a lot of specific details that characters would spot in the Japanese language such masculine and feminine pronouns whenever the characters of Taki and Mitsuha swapped bodies and I think that added the supporting character’s confusions whenever our main characters did swap bodies aside from just the way they talked or a simple slip of the tongue. Not only that, but I feel as though the Japanese Subbed version is more appropriate and almost essential to watch since the film also explores cultural traditions that are specific to Japan and I think it does honestly add to this sense of immersion and authenticity when watching this film in the original Japanese Subbed version that I don’t think you can completely get out of the English Dubbed version. Again, this totally nitpicky and preferential since not only is the English Dub still one of the best I’ve heard in any anime production, but it doesn’t actually hurt my overall experience of watching this film since it really is nothing more than a preference and I can totally see why someone would prefer to watch the English Dub over the Japanese Sub (that said, Japanese Sub is still the best way to watch this film).
But overall, second favorite anime film of the decade behind The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, one of the best films of the decade, far and above one of the best anime films ever made and, of course, one of the best films ever made.