As the famous song goes, “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.” Well, while that may be true for Hodaka personally, Hina’s sudden disappearance allows the clouds to finally disperse. Though the sun may be lifting people’s spirits, for Hodaka, he’s never been more miserable. But is there anything he can do to get Hina back, especially when he’s captured by the police?
Well, Hodaka’s certainly going to try, and he’s not alone!
I mentioned in volume 2’s review the manga better reflected the characters’ thoughts as Hina’s abilities reap their cost on her body. While Nagi is obviously inclined to help his sister, that setup helps explain Suga’s and Natsumi’s motivations here. The overall story doesn’t change, but between the movie, novel, and the manga, I’ll probably remember their climactic appearances here the best. The manga balances the visualization of the movie and the added detail of the novel well.
Anyway, after she vanishes, Hodaka is distraught and begs the authorities to allow him to go to the shrine where Hina gained her powers. Of course, the police aren’t about to grant him his request, but that’s not going to stop Hodaka. Now, I know this is fiction, and I’m reading this as a citizen of a country with a completely different culture, but the sequence of events after that seems bizarre to me. A teen evades multiple police with guns? Three kids outwit an officer watching over them? The story is fantasy, and plenty of plucky average joes have overcome great odds in stories, but here, Hodaka and others seem to have superhuman strength and/or luck. Hodaka’s journey to the shrine is supposed to be dramatic, but it comes across as rather comical.
That’s not the manga’s fault, but then the post-shrine scenes are also a bit of a drag. Weathering With You is a delightful story dealing with individual versus community sacrifice, teenage rebellion, and climate change. The ending wraps up all three nicely, but the scene readers are looking forward to has to come after other, longer, much less emotional reunions. It fits Shinkai’s style, but in manga form, it’s disappointing to see the pages dwindling like that.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, the story does work in some (intentional) laughs. Nagi and his visitors is the most notable, and the art does a delightful job at showcasing the officer’s shock at two young girls vying for a classmate’s attention. The action panels aren’t quite as solid as these ones are. Again, I think part of the problem is the characters come across as skillful instead of what actually happens: they suddenly dash away. I think I would have liked to see a little more panic in everyone’s faces, as Hodaka’s allies are risking their futures to save Hina. I was also a little surprised there was no color insert here this time around. I guess the fact the volume is longer than average (about 190 pages) was enough of a draw.
I have to admit being surprised the manga ended up needing that many pages, and while maybe Weathering With You volume 3 didn’t quite need to be that long, it’s much better than, say, your name.‘s final volume. (And the art didn’t feel like it quit in the middle either!) Most of the book’s strengths though are as a result of the setup in the previous volume, and so I don’t feel it quite matches up to volume 2. Either way, I wasn’t expecting much after volume 1, and I’m glad Kubota overcame the opening doldrums to present a worthwhile manga adaptation.