Anime theatrical films have seen a rise in popularity in recent years, thanks in no small part to Studio Ghibli. One of the most recent films that has shared in this success is Weathering With You, a 2019 story about a mysterious girl who can change the weather and the runaway boy who tries to save her.
The movie released to plenty of praise, generating 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 film, many may not realize there is also a Weathering With You light novel -- and there are some major differences between the two.
Weathering With You follows high schooler Hodaka Morishima as he runs away from a troubled home life to find a new beginning in Tokyo. On the ferry he meets Keisuke Suga, who runs an occult magazine publishing company. Once in Tokyo, Hodaka finds that it rains constantly, and he can't find a job due to not having identification and being a runaway. It's here that he meets the orphan girl Hina, who has the ability to pray the rain away 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, wet city where the sun seldom shines.
The novel was published around the same time the movie came out 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 that same year, Yen Press released an English translation in print and in digital format.
One of the major differences between the two mediums is that the Weathering With You novel actually starts from the end and is told as a flashback. It also goes further into detail about certain events, such as the circumstances of Hodaka's troubled home life that lead him to run away in the first place. The movie doesn't really explain what happened, but the novel explains that his relationship with his father is strained due to abuse.
Another major difference is that the novel's story is told from multiple perspectives rather than just Hodaka's. Readers are even told by Hina herself what happened when she got her abilities to bring sunshine, while side characters also got more development thanks to multiple perspectives.
Despite not being as well-known as its film counterpart, the Weathering With You light novel is worth reading for fans who want to know more about the characters and to see Hina and Hodaka's relationship blossom without the rush of a time limit. It isn't often that a film and movie are both written by the same creator, which can cause some details to get lost in the process of changing formats.
Weathering With You doesn't suffer from this since both the script and the novel come straight from the brain of Shinkai. This means all of the information is canon, and that it acts as supplemental material to the original. This can't be said for many other film-novel pairings, where information is left out or details are added that aren't canon.