It’s rare for me to read light novels. Usually being the original source material for manga and anime alike, light novels, in short, are just novels. Stories written in text typically targeting young adults. This, to my surprise, is a bit of an unknown factor. A lot of American anime fans I talk to don’t really understand the process of light novels, manga, or weekly magazines. To put it simply Light Novels are what Young Adult Novels are in the states. Walking around Barnes & Noble I stumbled upon Makoto Shinkai’s light novel Weathering With You, his latest (beautiful) film that I talked about here. Lately, however, I’ve had my own bit of writer’s block and deiced to give it a read, comparing his words to the drawings done by Kubota, Wataru in the manga. And well, it was a pleasant ride I was (for some reason) surprised by.
Now I watched the film not so long ago, followed by the manga, and it is no secret I am a fan of Shinkai but for some reason when I started to read the light novel I was expecting something, well, lackluster. My brain didn’t register the world-renowned director was it his core, a brilliant writer. I have a bit of a guilty confession, even as a writer I am hindered quite a bit from the simple fact, I am not a massive reader. It isn’t so much I dislike reading but it is more my pea brain has a hard time focusing on the words. My mind wanders to any noise or thought, it takes a very particular style of flow for a book to hook me, engaging my brain so much I don’t much care what is going on around me.
Now, this isn’t an impossible feat, but it was quite rare. John Green is one author that comes to mind that I can always count on his style appealing to me, Kendare Blake is another. But it is far and in between a book like this gets me, and even more so if it’s an international story.
Typically speaking when it comes to light novels they are hindered by the language gap. Translations from Japanese to English is by no means clear cut, words and sentence structure washes away themes the author was trying to convey, forever lost to time. One thing that I took away immediately from Weathering With You is how well it flowed. It suddenly made sense, the source material for the movie read exactly how the movie played it, the attention to detail flowing easily through the words.
It was at this moment all of that apprehension to reading the light novel vanished. I was lost once again in Makato’s flooded Tokyo, laughing at Kei’s overly lax personality, a sense of wonder fluttering in me as they find a true 100% sunshine girl. Weathering With You light novel hits every bit of what the movie would come out to be, and even though it was translated, it didn’t seem like it. Somehow the story conveys everything I believe Makato was trying to in Japanese, seemingly translated into English.
Light novels overall to me are like most young adult books, I read them from time to time but for the most part, I don’t pick them up very often. With that being said I’d bet light novel reviews will be pretty rare in general. But I will say if you are someone that enjoyed the film and someone that doesn’t mind reading traditional books. Weathering With You light novel is splendid, a good take of creating a bustling vibrant world that ingrained in my mind something I should have already known, Makato Shinkai is a good writer. He is a better director and I think that skewed my perception of just how good a book from him could be, and I am glad this story made me aware of my ignorance.
As always, thanks for the read!