The light novel Weathering With You offers a surprisingly different perspective on how the events of Makoto Shinkai’s beloved film unfolded.
Theatrical animated films have grown in popularity in recent years, thanks in large part to Studio Ghibli. One of the most recent films to share this success is grow old with youa 2019 story about a mysterious girl who can change the weather and the runaway boy who tries to save her.
The film was released to high acclaim, grossing around $15.2 million in its first three days and being nominated for several animation awards. While most anime fans have at least heard of the movie, many may not realize there’s also a grow old with you light novel – and there are major differences between the two.
grow old with you follows high school student Hodaka Morishima as he flees a troubled home life to find a fresh start in Tokyo. On the ferry, he meets Keisuke Suga, who runs an occult magazine publishing company. Once in Tokyo, Hodaka finds that it is constantly raining and he cannot find a job as he has no ID and is on the run. It is here that he meets the orphan Hina, who has the ability to pray to drive away the rain and bring out the sun in a small area. She and Hodaka form a bond and try to find happiness and hope in a dark, damp town where the sun rarely shines.
The novel was released around the same time as the movie was released and was written by director Makoto Shinkai. It was published by Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko in Japan and had already sold around 650,000 copies by September 2019. In December of the same year, Yen Press published an English translation in print and digital versions.
One of the main differences between the two media is that the grow old with you novel actually begins at the end and is told as a flashback. It also goes deeper into the details of certain events, such as the circumstances of Hodaka’s troubled home life that led him to run away in the first place. The film doesn’t really explain what happened, but the novel does explain that her relationship with her father is strained due to abuse.
Another major difference is that the novel’s story is told from multiple perspectives rather than Hodaka’s. Readers are even told by Hina herself what happened when she got her sunshine-bringing abilities, while the secondary characters also got more development through multiple perspectives.
Although not as well known as its film counterpart, the grow old with you The light novel is well worth reading for fans who want to learn more about the characters and see Hina and Hodaka’s relationship blossom without the rush of a deadline. It’s rare for a film and movie to both be written by the same creator, which can cause some detail to be lost when changing formats.
grow old with you does not suffer from it since the script and the novel come straight from Shinkai’s brain. This means that all information is canon and serves as supplemental material to the original. That can’t be said for many other film-novel pairings, where information is omitted or details added that aren’t canon.
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