That's right. There's going to be a novel of Shinkai's latest movie "5 Centimeters per Second" and it's going to have some extra content in it. In fact, it's already being serialised in the Japanese novel magazine, "Da Vinci" since the May issue.
According to the official "5cm Staff Blog", what happened was some of Shinkai's fans who bought the movie pamphlets asked him questions about the sketches that were featured in them. Bothered by the questions, Shinkai went onto writing a full novel right after production for the movie ended.
The last entry in the blog hints there's going to be a lot more content added to the novelised version of the last part of the movie, "5 Centimeters per Second" when Akari and Takaki are grown up, going their separate ways. As you may have noticed, this was the shortest part of the movie running only at a total of 10 minutes. However, Shinkai had made a lot more cuts to it than the second part of the movie, "Cosmonaut" so that might be the extra content he's added in.
One of the sketches Shinkai done for his novel.
The novelised version of the last part of the movie is actually already being published in two parts in the Da Vinci magazine, first half in the September issue and second half in the October issue. The staff has also announced there will be a separate standalone version of the novel so don't worry if you've missed out on the earlier issues of the magazine. No date has been announced yet but I expect it'll be some time after the serialisation. Maybe Christmas time?
I'll be sure to pick this up to see what this extended version of the movie is like. I do hope we see how Kanae has been doing and what happened between part 2 and 3 of the movie!
And just out of interest, it seems the movie has helped pickle interest in the book Akari was reading, "The Grass Harp (草の竪琴)" by Truman Capote.
On the other hand, after much discussion in the Animesuki forums, I've reached a different conclusion about the movie's ending. I don't usually discuss shows I've watched in detail but this time, the story just bothered me because it felt as if Akari was the reason why Takaki ended up with the unhealthy lifestyle he had. After paying close attention to the sequence of events in the last part of the movie however, it seems the ending wasn't as bad as I initially thought...
Sequence of Events in Part 3 of the Movie
"5 Centimeters per Second"
You can see the date from his whiteboard and calendar. Takaki has gone freelance and seems to have moved to a new apartment. Everything looks clean and tidy. A cherry blossom petal falls onto his desk and he goes out for a walk. After the bright flash at the crossing...
Akari is travelling to Tokyo. At the station her mother wishes she could stay with them until the New Year but she can't because of wedding preparations for next month. It's winter and judging from what Akari's family said, we can presume it's December. Later, when Akari arrives to meet her future husband, we see Christmas decorations too.
Takaki receives the second e-mail from his new girlfriend Risa about how she still loves him. We can see the date in the e-mail and at this point in time, Takaki's apartment is dark and messy. Moving on, the song "One more time, one more chance" plays with a mix of scenes from the past.
We're back to the present and get to watch the crossing scene again where Takaki saw Akari.
Another Look at the Ending
I didn't notice it was one long lengthy flashback so I had thought Takaki couldn't move on with his life because of Akari until that very end scene. However, after looking back at the sequence of events above, it seems Takaki had already moved on before that crossing scene.
After receiving that second e-mail from Risa, he explains that over the past few years he's been working hard because he wanted to move on. Deep inside however, he knew he was trying to obtain things he couldn't reach out to. This target must have been Akari since we see her in his dreams during Cosmonaut. We soon see he's been living an unhealthy lifestyle with his dark messy apartment. Eventually he realises one morning that these feelings were gone so he quit his job. Soon afterwards, we see he's gone freelance and living in a much better environment.
The final scene, when Takaki smiles at the crossing may have been used to show how well both of them were doing in life so, it's not really such a bad ending after all.
But wait. Couldn't that just have been someone who looked like Akari at the crossing? I don't think it could have been because when they replayed that scene, we see close-ups on both characters. And don't forget what Takaki and Akari said just before they stepped onto the train, before the theme song started playing - "One day, we'll be able to see the cherry blossoms together again."
Again, I really did want to see them get back together but, even if the staff wanted to do so, they would have to separate them to keep to the "distance" theme in the stories. Oukashou was about the "physical distance", Cosmonaut was "emotional distance" and the final part was "temporal distance". It's some brilliant story telling from Shinkai's part.
And have you noticed the contrast between the bitter, life-like story and the beautiful artwork? It seems it was intentional according to the interview that was published inside the movie pamphlet.
Q: The beautiful landscapes in it are one of the big points in this film, isn't it?
The advanced point of animation is that we can show more beautiful landscape than the real world. A creator can pour something beyond language into the beautifulness.
In addition, I think landscapes can be the most intimate "cure" when we feel sad or pain. Even if your emotions didn't reach someone, and you could do nothing for it, you can see from panoramic viewpoint that you are surrounded by beautiful landscapes and have connections to the huge world.
Although the second episode is a sad story of hopeless love, alternatively, we drew the landscapes more beautifully. If some of audiences were in such a hard situation and have difficult time, I hope my work would be a little help for them.
Well, I've given in and ordered the limited edition of the DVD because I liked this movie and its artwork so much. Just wish I decided to do it earlier when Yesasia still had it in stock because they cover import customs. I've placed my order with Play-Asia instead now and the DVD was just dispatched a few days ago. Hope customs don't charge me anything when it reaches my door!