Weathering With You Exhibit is a Tribute to the Film's Entire Production Team
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Makoto Shinkai is regarded as something of an auteur in the anime film space, and while he definitely involves himself heavily in every part of the production of his films, from the scripts to the storyboards to the visuals, gone are his Voices of a Distant Star days where he animated everything by himself. His latest works are only made possible through the efforts of a large team, and this is something that he makes very clear in the guidebooks and exhibitions.
The recent Weathering With You exhibit in the MATSUYA GINZA department store is another example of this. The exhibit takes you through every part of the film's production process, and highlights the names of staffers who played a heavy role in those parts. For example, animation director Atsushi Tamura and compositing director Ryosuke Tsuda were explicitly named and had the specifics of their roles explained. There were even accompanying videos showing them at work and interacting with Shinkai.
It's typical for animation exhibits to display key animation frames, but this exhibit goes the extra length to name the animator who handled the cuts. For example, this short scene below was animated by Taisuke Iwasaki, who also worked on your name.'s OP sequence.
Other memorable names mentioned include RADWIMPS, the rock band responsible for composing the music and insert songs in both your name. and Weathering With You; Nizo Yamamoto, who drew the traditional-style paintings that are visible during a temple visit depicted in the film; and Hidetsugu Ito, who drew many of the individual raindrops depicted in the film, including the fish-like creatures that appear to exist within the rain. (Ito is best known for his incredible animations on the Naruto series.)
Shinkai's own hard work is also on display throughout the exhibit as well, of course. For example, his concept illustrations were shown off in an early part of the exhibit, and some of them turned into the poster image, albeit with important changes. For example, as part of his original pitch for the film, Shinkai drew an early version of the main key visual which includes the adult character Suga along with the main duo - a clear indication of how important Suga's adult perspective was to the film.
Another interesting thing to learn about the film is that not only did Shinkai draw the storyboards, determining the rough layouts of each shot, he also tried his hand at drawing key animation, which animation director Atsushi Tamura would then redraw in a style more consistent with the overall aesthetic of the film. So although Shinkai wasn't an animator on Weathering With You, he was definitely working closely with the team to produce a work with a very singular vision. The exhibit is also peppered with images from the storyboards and little quotes from Shinkai's commentary in the official guidebook, which state some of his artistic intentions behind the film.
After leaving the production part of the exhibit behind, the exhibit also takes you through some of the posters and key shots from Shinkai's previous films, from Voices of a Distant Star to your name. There's also a cute section at the end dedicated to explaining real-life weather phenomena with cooperation the Japan Weather Association. So you can learn about how clouds are formed and what the different types of clouds are. The overall experience is very educational in many different ways.
Also, one other neat touch about the exhibit is that, during its run time, a screen just outside the entrance displayed the weather forecast for the week with Weathering With You characters.