I was hoping to get a hold of the 5cm novel a week after its release but unfortunately, my Japanese penpal is away on holiday so that's not going to be possible.
I don't plan on paying Amazon US$34 for P&P when the book only costs US$12 so, I decided to ask a friend in HK to try and order it for me at the Asahiya bookstore. Last time I ordered some books with them they managed to get them for me within the next few days so I thought it might work.
However, my friend mailed me back to say it probably won't be until a month later before they'll have it in... He's also paid in advance so I can't tell him to cancel the order now. I'll just have to wait. I'll have it before the New Year or Christmas if I'm lucky but, whatever happened to their fast service I wonder?
So far, the reviews on Amazon have been very positive. Seems a lot of people were curious about what was written in the letters that Akari and Takaki never exchanged. Although you could partially read what was in their letters during Oukashou, you can read them fully in the novel.
Other material that can only be found in the movie's original novel form are Kanae's last words in Cosmonaut. Apparently her words made readers feel better after watching the way Kanae was treated. And as mentioned before, the novel also covers Takaki's university life through to his full time job as a system engineer.
A lot of people also seem to mention there's a special meaning to the scene where a bird is flying over the city. I can't really think of what it could mean. Freedom perhaps?
The few people who watched the movie many times over to get a better grasp of its meanings have said their interpretations were proved wrong after reading the book. I wonder if that's the case with mine?
It's going to be a long wait for the novel. Now why can't more shops ship outside of Japan?
あぁー 海外で手に入れ難いなぁ _|￣|○
Meanwhile there's still no release date for the movie's Western release apart from a vague December from ADV. An HK version (non-bootleg of course!) has also been released with English subs and Cantonese dubbing. Both a regular and limited edition are available but, the major differences between this and the Japanese LE is that it doesn't seem to include the film strip or the OST disc. It includes 4 postcards instead which might actually be a better substitute considering how beautiful the movie artwork is! It also includes the 20 page booklet which probably means it has "The Sky Outside the Window" translated into Chinese too.