REVIEW: ‘5 Centimeters Per Second + Children Who Chase Lost Voices’ (Light Novel)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Makoto Shinkai has become an absolute legend in the anime industry, known best for the worldwide blockbusters Your Name and Weathering with You. Before he made box office record-breakers, however, he worked on a few smaller titles such as 5 Centimeters Per Second and Children Who Chase Lost Voices. The films’ novelizations (the former written by Shinkai and the latter by Asahi Akisaka) have finally been released in English in one package by Yen Press, with translation by Taylor Engel and cover art by Shinkai.

5 Centimeters Per Second follows the life and relationships of Takaki, a young Japanese boy. The novel showcases three distinct parts of his life and how the relationships he has affects him and those around him.

Children Who Chase Lost Voices follows elementary schooler Asuna, a loner that struggles to find her place in life. After a chance encounter with a young boy seemingly from another world, she is thrown into an adventure that will teach her about herself and the world around her.

Though the two novels don’t necessarily flow well together, you can tell they are both originally written by Shinkai. Plus, they’re both relatively short (5 Centimeters Per Second is under 100 pages and Children Who Chase Lost Voices being under 150), so it’s nice to have them together in one package.

5 Centimeters Per Second is undoubtedly the standout title of the two. Though both stories are great, Shinkai really shines when he focuses on more realistic romances with the occasional fantasy twist.

By focusing on the life of just one person, Shinkai is able to tell a truly moving and heartbreaking story in 5 Centimeters Per Second. Takaki’s life is nothing really extraordinary or special, and this is what makes his story so great. The struggles he goes through throughout his life feel incredibly relatable and realistic and are enough to bring a tear to any reader’s eye.

Though 5 Centimeters Per Second definitely steals the combo’s spotlight, that doesn’t mean that Children Who Chase Lost Voices isn’t good. I found myself unable to put Children Who Chase Lost Voices down once I started it, finishing the entire light novel in one sitting.

Shinkai might not be the best at creating deep, fleshed-out fantasy worlds, but he doesn’t really need to be. While I can’t say, I ended up being a huge fan of the fantastical creatures and world featured in Children Who Chase Lost Voices, the human characters were enough to grab my attention and keep me interested. Shinkai knows how to write a good character, and luckily, Akisaka does a great job translating his story from screen to page.

While you might get a little more out of these novels if you have already seen the films they are based on, you can go into the light novels completely blind and still have a great experience. If anything, reading 5 Centimeters Per Second + Children Who Chase Lost Voices will make you want to watch the films (or give them a much-needed re-watch).

Fans of Shinkai’s films or those that love a good romantic tear-jerker will love 5 Centimeters Per Second + Children Who Chase Lost Voices. Both stories included in the combo are fantastic and grab readers’ attention from beginning to end.

5 Centimeters Per Second + Children Who Chase Lost Voices is available now wherever books are sold.

5 Centimeters Per Second + Children Who Chase Lost Voices
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TL;DR

Fans of Shinkai’s films or those that love a good romantic tear-jerker will love 5 Centimeters Per Second + Children Who Chase Lost Voices. Both stories included in the combo are fantastic and grab readers’ attention from beginning to end.