I am curious about light novels (a pretty uniquely Japanese thing which we’d probably classify as young adult novels) so I thought I’d give this a go. This novel is a collection of side stories connected to the events of Your Name and as such doesn’t really tell a coherent story of its own. But that’s fine. I enjoyed the film and was curious to see what parts they expanded on. The film had a lot of room for expansion I thought, particularly in the early days. The bodyswapping story seemed ripe for all sorts of incidents surrounding their insertion into unknown yet preexisting social ... connections. And it didn’t last long enough to my mind.
But here lies the mistake in my interest: this book by necessity follows movie continuity. All those interesting avenues to explore were alternate routes that the film could have taken. Which means that there is actually very little left for them to do with the concept beyond expand on the secondary characters. And so that’s what we get. The entire book takes place in Itomori. We get to hear from most of Mitsuha’s family (her sister and father) as well as her friend Teshi. All these stories basically say the same thing: Mitsuha’s acting weird; what should we do about it and how should we explain it? While it interesting to learn more of these people’s backgrounds and characters, I don’t feel particularly thrilled by anything I’ve learned. It doesn’t help that it isn’t so much narrative as stream of consciousness thoughts.
The first chapter is closer to what I expected this book to be. It tells the story of Taki in Mitsuha’s body trying to pass as her. The film was mainly experienced from her POV for the first half so we missed a lot of this stuff. But in truth, there’s nothing very interesting there. Taki likes feeling her breasts. What a revelation. He doesn’t know how to put on a bra. He struggles with the idea of avoiding conflict. He’s afraid of what she’ll do to him if he steps at all out of line. All of this stuff seems pretty obvious. And unimpressive. This is again the limits set by the film impeding any sort of creative expansion. I hadn’t realized before reading just how little there was left unexplored by the film.
This book verges on spoiling the film by making it seem emptier than I thought it was. We saw literally everything of interest on screen and there was nothing worthwhile that we missed. I’m not exactly sad I read it, but I’m certain that I’ll never look at it again. It just doesn’t add enough to make it worthwhile.
Japanese: 君の名は。 Another Side：Earthbound
English: Your Name. Another Side: Earthbound
Type: Light Novel
Published: Jul 30, 2016
Genres: Drama, Supernatural
Authors: Tanaka, Masayoshi (Art), Kanou, Arata (Story), Asahikawa, Hiyori (Art)
Score: 7.971 (scored by 1,591 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
2 based on the top manga page. Please note that 'R18+' titles are excluded.
Mar 17, 2018
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