Brave Story (ブレイブ・ストーリー, Bureibu Stōrī) is a Japanese fantasy novel written by Miyuki Miyabe. It was serialized in various regional newspapers between the November 11, 1999 and February 13, 2001 before being published in two hardcover volumes by Kadokawa Shoten in March 2003. The story of the novel follows 5th Grade student Wataru Mitani as he stumbles upon "Vision", a fantasy world, after his parents divorce and his mother attempts suicide. The novel is available in the English language by Viz Media.
Brave Story has spawned into a substantial media franchise. The novel was adapted into a manga by Yoichiro Ono and Miyabe herself, who wrote the new story for the manga, which was serialised in Shinchosha's Weekly Comic Bunch. Shinchosha collected the chapters of Brave Story in twenty tankōbon volumes and released them from April 2004 to May 2008. In the manga version Wataru is slightly older and already in high school.
In 2006 the novel was rereleased in two new editions, a three volume softcover version of the earlier hardcover release intended for mature readers and a light novel version marketed for younger readers. These were intended to create interest in the animated film adaption by Gonzo released in Japan by Warner Bros. later that year on July 8, 2006. The film was nominated for "Animation of the Year" at the 2007 Japanese Academy Awards and also released on home video in Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Taiwan and Germany.
The novel was loosely adapted into three video games: Sony Computer Entertainment's PSP game, Brave Story: New Traveler; Namco Bandai's Nintendo DS game, Brave Story: My Dreams and Wishes and Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 2 game, Brave Story: Wataru's Adventure.
Wataru Mitani is a quiet and unassuming fifth grader in Japan. A new student called Mitsuru Ashikawa begins attending Wataru's school, though he is in a different class. There are also rumors circulating about the Daimatsu building, an empty, unfinished building near Wataru's school: witnesses claimed to have seen a ghost wandering behind the building's blue tarps. One day after school, while out with his uncle, Wataru witnesses an old man entering the abandoned building. Wataru follows him into the building and stumbles into the strange world of Vision. In Vision, he is told that the portal he crossed, called the Porta Nectere, opens only once every ten years for ninety days. People from his world are strictly forbidden to enter Vision unless they obtain the status of Traveler from "the gatekeeper". Unfortunately, he is also told he will forget everything of his visit. Upon re-entering the Porta Nectere, he is awoken by his uncle to find that Vision was a dream; Wataru supposedly fell from the stairs of the Daimatsu building. Wataru's uncle brings Wataru home only to discover a terrible truth: the boy's parents are divorcing and his father is running off with his mistress, leaving his wife and Wataru behind. Both Wataru and his mother are shocked, and to add to Wataru's stress, he finds his memories of Vision slipping away. Later, Wataru's father's lover confronts Wataru's mother over who Wataru's father really loves. After this encounter, Wataru's mother attempts suicide by leaving on the gas in the house. Mitsuru visits him, warns him of the gas, and tells him to go to Vision if he wants to change his fate. Wataru struggles to remember, but he finally goes to the Daimatsu building to cross the portal to Vision. Thus, Wataru's journey in Vision begins.
When he arrives in Vision, Wataru meets an old man who calls himself the Wayfinder. He tells Wataru what he must do to change his destiny: Wataru has to collect five gemstones to go to the Tower of Destiny, where the Goddess grants each Traveler one wish. Each stone has a different quality: charity, bravery, faith, grace, and the power of darkness and light. Wataru encounters friends and foes during his adventures, and he ultimately comes to terms with the nature of himself.