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Weather and Water Motifs In Japanese Animated Films

Two contemporary anime films, Weathering With You, and Penguin Highway, feature strong visual and thematic motifs of water and the weather. I suggest an article that explores how these motifs show similar themes between the two films of hope, youthful abandon, and understanding the unknown (to name a few), and how these themes reflect the cultural associations of water and weather in Japanese society, and perhaps society as a whole. I couldn’t help but notice that the two films both feature water so heavily, as well as an enigmatic female lead with mysterious powers connected to water/weather. Water is a primary element that has the power to both give life and end it. Japan has a long history of devastating typhoons, fearsome weather deities, and folk customs like the teru teru bozu. As a genre, animation enables filmmakers to depict otherworldly places and events that traditional filmmaking just can’t. Water, in particular, is quite challenging to animate well, so both of these films would have been quite challenging to make. I think there are links between the motif of water/the weather as a fearsome but also a crucial element in the world; exploration the unknown as a young person; Japanese animation’s penchant for the otherworldly and existential; and the challenges of animating water.

  • I'm unfamiliar with these, but I have encountered the weather motifs in Japanese anime before. You could also expand or change this to "element motifs," because while water is definitely important, earth, air, and fire are also crucial to some popular anime. Avatar: The Last Airbender is a great example. – Stephanie M. 4 years ago