Update: You can now read the story yourself at my new fan site.
Well, I've managed to write my comparison for the second part of the movie, "Cosmonaut" now. Besides expecting changes and new details in the story, there was one thing I wasn't expecting while reading through it.
This thin piece of white thread (sorry, don't know the name for it!) that's clipped into the middle of the book! I never noticed it when the book first arrived. Otherwise I would have used it as a bookmark. I don't think I've seen many hardback novels that come with such a little feature so that's another plus towards quality.
Now without further ado, here is the second part of Makoto Shinkai's novelised version of "5 Centimetres per Second" which is divided into 3 chapters and 49 pages. Just one last story left before it ends so I'm reading through the book ever so slowly, imagining and digesting every word. Yeah, I like this movie that much.
- Instead of opening with Takaki's dream, we see Kanae is out surfing, enjoying the morning sun. Kanae narrates she's been practising for half a year and hasn't even managed to balance herself on the board once yet. She lies there thinking it would be great if she could obtain happiness just by floating around. She ends up falling in the sea and unwillingly drinking some water.
- After washing down her naked body and changing into her school uniform, her sister arrives to collect the board. They agree to go practise again after school before going their separate ways. Kanae rides to school on her moped. There's an explanation about how the island didn't have cars and there weren't many buses so all students had to get their moped licenses at the age of sixteen.
- On the way to school, she thinks about her troubles. The first was whether she should stick to bodyboarding or not because she hasn't been able to stand up on her surf board so far. Her second problem was confessing to Takaki.
- Kanae thought Takaki was wonderful with the serious look he had when practising archery. When he greets her that morning, she could barely hold back her little squeal of delight. To her, he was so kind and had a calm deep voice. They had known for five years and Kanae now only has half a year left to confess before their graduation.
- Kanae was in the third class group where students either enter the commerce field of work, move onto a specialist school or stay on the island to work after graduation. Takaki on the other hand was in the first class group which was for anyone going into higher education. When Kanae thinks about how Takaki will be returning to Tokyo, the delicious lunch before her lost its taste.
- After being teased by her friends, she goes out to buy some yoghurt. On the way, she sees the pictures of rocket launches from the past. She's seen quite a number of launches already but wishes that one day, she could watch it together with Takaki. He probably haven't seen one before in the five years he's been on the island. In the movie, we only see the pictures so, perhaps this scene of her passing in the corridors thinking was cut out?
- Takaki is really the centre of all her troubles and she doesn't want to stay this way forever. She decides she'll confess her love when she successfully manages to stand on her board again.
- The third problem that troubled her was her future plans. She was unsure about what to do. If Takaki was staying on the island then she would have been able to come to a decision immediately. She would find a job and work on the island.
- Other troubles included her skin tan. She didn't want to have skin that was darker than the guy she likes. Kanae wishes she had a bigger bust and was also fit and clever just like her older sister.
- Remembers when Takaki moved to Tanegashima on the first day of second year junior high. She was surprised at how calm he was, smiling and introducing himself in front of the class. If it was her, she would have acted the exact opposite way and that was what made her want to know more about him.
- There's no mention of Kanae studying hard to get into the same senior high school as Takaki.
- If she was lucky, Kanae would be able to travel home together with Takaki once per week. When she was unlucky, it was once every fortnight. Takaki didn't go to the convenient store at first but it soon became a habit. There, Takaki would always buy dairy coffee. When Kanae was with him, she would always be stuck about what to buy because she wanted to pick something that would make her look cute in front of Takaki. When Takaki heads out first, she gets disappointed that he's not next to her any more and would just grab a yoghurt so that she can hurry out.
- Back outside the shop, Kanae would always see him typing an e-mail to someone on his mobile and every time, she would also wish it was her that Takaki writing to. Then she thinks to herself that in the future, she will pay full attention to her lover and never use her mobile before him so that he doesn't have to worry who she was contacting.
- The next day, Kanae was summoned to the advisory room. She was embarrassed because Takaki and her sister must have heard it over the speakers.
- As Kanae sat opposite the teacher, she couldn't help but stare at the choices on the form, looking to stay on the island or move to Kantou (i.e. Eastern Japan, Tokyo). Then she imagined what the various places in Tokyo were like. Shibuya full of gangs and high school girls selling underwear. Emergencies occurring twenty-four hours in Yokoyuki. Tall high rise buildings... Then she sees Takaki holding hands with another girl who had her hair dyed. Kanae shuts off her imagination.
- Whenever Kanae sees Takaki typing on his phone whether it was in the parking lot, next to the vending machines or just any other place, it was always as if she heard the words, "This isn't the place" from him. These were the same words she would think of when she was surfing.
- On the way home that afternoon, her moped had made some stuttering noises at the parking lot. She had waited some time, hoping for Takaki to appear but he never did. As she drove her way home, a path that Takaki also took, she thought to herself maybe he would appear behind her if she slowed down or maybe he was home already. When she sees his bike, she couldn't help but make her way up the grassy hills even though she knows she shouldn't be meeting him like this.
- When Kanae hears Takaki was happy to see her because he had missed her at the parking lot, her heart suddenly beat faster as she wondered if he was telling the truth or not. Then as always, wherever she saw Takaki, those same words "This isn't the place" came to mind again and calmed her down. However, she was happy she was sitting so close to him, hearing him talk about his troubles. She looks at him as he was staring out at the village lights like a helpless kid. She liked him even more now.
- Suddenly, she had the urge to thank someone for letting Takaki be in this world be it his parents or God. She just wanted to thank someone for his existence. That's why she takes out the questionnaire asking about her future, folds it into a paper airplane and prays before sending it into the skies. Takaki's words gave her power.
- When Kanae got home late afterwards all soaked, she got into trouble with her sister. She goes to take a bath and looks at her muscular arms. She didn't mind them but wishes they could be as soft as marshmallows. She goes onto thinking about what Takaki said to her earlier as she quietly says Takaki's name aloud.
- After passing the giant space rocket on their way home, it had suddenly started pouring rain. Soon they were outside Kanae's home. Kanae could feel her heart beating faster as she saw his drenched shirt clinging tightly onto his body with the lights from her home reflecting off it. Takaki:
Sorry, you got all soaked in the rain today.
Oh no! It's not your fault. I was the one who came to see you.
But I'm glad we talked. Well see you tomorrow. Be careful you don't catch the cold. Good night.
I will. Good night, Takaki-kun.
Happily, she repeats "Good night" to Takaki again in the bath as she recalls the conversation.
- There's no mention of Kanae talking to her puppy Cub outside. Takaki isn't typing his unsent e-mails or talking about his dream and how he was trying to get closer to the secret of the world.
- Afterwards at dinner, Kanae tells to her sister about what happened at school. Her sister advises she should just take her time thinking about the future.
- That night, Kanae had a dream. She was walking along a brightly lit beach holding her puppy Cub. The sky was filled with stars of all different colours and it looked as if a galaxy was hanging there. Then in the distance she saw a familiar figure walking along. Suddenly she found herself turning into a child as she thought, "He will be an important person to me." She changed again, this time into an adult around the same age as her sister and thought, "He was such an important person to me." By the next morning, she had forgotten about the dream.
- It was morning and Kanae was heading out to surf again with her sister. Kanae describes how she thought her sister was sexy when she was driving the car - her slender fingers on the wheel, the morning sun shining on her black hair and the fragrance coming from it. Even though they used the same shampoo, Kanae felt her sister smelled nicer.
- Kanae's sister doesn't ask her about her plans for the future.
- As they drove along, Kanae asks about her sister's boyfriend, Kobayashi. Her sister is a little surprised by the question but answers they broke up long ago. She had marriage in mind but it didn't work out in the end. Kanae continues and wanted to ask why they broke up but instead, asks if she was sad. Her sister answers yes because they had gone out and lived together for a few years. Unfortunately, their emotions had no common goal. In other words, they had different thoughts about where their relation was going. She did try desperately at one time to make her boyfriend have the same thoughts as her but it didn't work out.
- The same words "no common goal" are repeated in Kanae's mind before she asks if her sister had a boyfriend during high school. She laughs and says no, just like the present Kanae.
- It's been two weeks since that rainy day. During that time, Kanae hadn't travelled home together with Takaki and neither has she managed to stand up on her surf board.
- After the talk with her sister, she makes up her mind to do whatever she can, one thing at a time and remembers Takaki's words from that night. He too was just doing what he could.
- When she finally manages to stand up on the board, she felt as if it was the moment she had been waiting for in her seventeen years of life.
- That afternoon while at lunch, Kanae wasn't paying attention to her two friends because she was too busy thinking about Takaki and whether she should just skip surfing practice and wait for him. There weren't many days left before the exams so club activity times were shortened. Kanae could feel the tension but her friends could see she was happy and asks if something happened between her and Takaki. She smiles knowing what could soon be happening.
- After her classes, Kanae had dropped by the toilet before going to the library to gaze out the window while waiting for Takaki. She thinks back to what she looked like in the mirror. Her hair had been cut to shoulder length because of surfing but, it was also partly because she would be embarrassed if people compared her with her long haired sister. Looking at herself, she was disappointed at the size of her eyes, shape of her eyebrows, her lips, height and bust size. She just hopes there's a part of her that Takaki likes.
- She was excited waiting in the shadows near the parking lot but when Takaki spots her, she felt as if she was up to no good.
- Usually it would be almost night when they travelled home together but this time, the sun was only just setting. An uneasiness fell over Kanae as the convenient store looked different before her. This time, Kanae didn't hesitate about what to buy. She went straight for dairy coffee which kind of surprised Takaki.
- Exiting the convenient store, the world looked as if it was divided into light and shadow. They were in the light area when they left through the automated doors. However, as Takaki moved towards the parking spot in the shadows, a sudden surge of loneliness came through Kanae. She tugs on the edge of his shirt. She had to confess now or never.
- Taking his time, Takaki slowly turned around and asked her what was wrong. Kanae could once again feel the words, "This isn't the place" from him again. His voice was different. It was still quiet, kind yet cold. Kanae lifts her face to look at Takaki. He wasn't smiling at her and there was a strong will in his eyes. Kanae couldn't confess. It was as if she was rejected with the words, "Don't say anything".
- Kanae and Takaki were walking home side by side now. Kanae was trying to keep close but not too close, just a step away. Takaki's strides were bigger as if he was angry but his expression looked the way he usually did. Kind and calm. She started to wonder if the look she saw outside the convenience store was just a lie but she knew it wasn't. Suddenly, she found herself asking many questions. Why were they walking in silence together? Why is he so kind to me? Why do I love him so much? Tears started to stream from her eyes. When Takaki says her name sadly, it upsets her even more. The tears wouldn't go away.
- As Kanae cried, all of nature suddenly became quiet and the rocket was launched into the sky. Both Takaki and Kanae gazed at it. The tower of smoke it left behind was as if it tore the sky into two. The loud cry of the launch could be heard fading away into the distance.
- After the smoke had cleared, the sky was bluer and stars began twinkling in the skies. The two continues their walk home. Now Kanae knows what Takaki had always been thinking in his heart. He had always been looking for something in the distance. Something that Kanae will never be able to grant him. She also knows they will never be able to be together.
- Doesn't mention he never looked at her.
- By the time they reached Kanae's home, the shadows had faded away into the night. The moon looked like it was cut in half by the telephone lines in the sky, just like Kanae's day was. The Kanae before she could ride the waves and the Kanae after. The she who didn't understand Takaki's heart and after she did. The yesterday and the different world she will be living in tomorrow.
- Curled up in her futon in the darkness of her room, Kanae cried loudly as she gazed at the puddle of moonlight that beamed through the windows. She didn't have to hold back. Even though she will be living in a different world, she will still always always love Takaki.
I think Shinkai managed to portray a much cuter Kanae here than he did in the movie. I laughed when she was running that stereotyped image of Tokyo through her mind in class. We gain such a better understanding of all of her actions in the movie through the details in the novel that it makes "Cosmonaut" so much more powerful. Take for example, the reason why she would spend so much time picking something to buy at the convenient store every time she is with Takaki.
As a result of this, I feel the scene where Kanae fails to confess her love has a much greater devastating impact. If I never read this novel, I wouldn't have noticed it was Takaki's cold voice and look that stopped Kanae before she could confess. The impression I had from the movie was that she stopped because she had come to realise Takaki never laid eyes on her at all (and the longing for something far away). However, now that I watch that scene again closely, Takaki really isn't smiling and has that cold look in his eyes. Harsh. Very harsh. He really knows how to rip Kanae's heart to shreds.
On the hand, I think there are several parts of the story that helps soften this bitter moment in Cosmonaut.
First we have the dream Kanae had that night. Takaki fairly much gave her false hope after telling her to take care not to catch the cold. The dream basically prepares the reader for what was going to happen later on.
This is followed by the sudden silence of nature and the trailing smoke from the rocket launch after her failed confession. It was as if the world was crying for her from the atmosphere that was created.
And last but not least, the description of the moon split in half and the moonlight shining into the dark room as if comforting her.
From all this, I think it's good to presume that Kanae will be able to recover fairly quickly. Faster than Takaki does from his separation with Akari. Yet, I doubt she will look at another launch the same way again. She did, at the very early stage of the story, wanted to view a launch together with Takaki for once after all.
This is in my opinion, the better version of Cosmonaut. Now don't forget that you can read the comparison for "Oukashou" if you haven't already!