Title: 5 Centimeters Per Second
Genre: Drama, Romance, Slice of Life
Summary: A tale of two people, Tono Takaki and Shinohara Akari, who were close friends but gradually grow farther and farther apart as time moves on. They become separated because of their families yet continue to exchange contact in the form of letters. Yet as time continues to trudge on, their contact with one another begins to cease. Years pass and the rift between them grows ever larger. However, Takaki remembers the times they have shared together, but as life continues to unfold for him, he wonders if he would be given the chance to meet Akari again as the tale embarks on Takaki’s realization of the world and people around him.
Review: I want to start off with the things that made me smile about this anime before my post turns into emotional drivel. The style they told 5 Centimeters Per Secondin really stood out to me. I actually felt as though I was going through Tono Takaki’s stages of life. It did pain me to see how the story unfolded and I clench my teeth trying to hold in the manly tears takes a breath. Sorry, let’s start with the happy points first.
Opening with episode numbers (split into three) really gave the feel of a slice of life. The extraordinary art style absorbed me into the world of cherry blossoms. The art style adapted wonderfully between the fond memories and harsh reality. I felt as though the creator wanted people to see the strong divide between fantasy and fact. And that he did. That. He. Did. I couldn’t believe how much the art alone kept me watching. This has easily become one of my favorite anime art styles. It was as though someone painted a scene, computerized it, and still managed to make it look natural. Everything flowed in unison.
I would also post sceenshots of the soundtrack, but I don’t think they have come out with technology quite yet. So take my word for it when I say this movie had a soundtrack that was a blessing to my ears. I am a huge fan of the piano and the ending theme made my night. It’s melancholy melody took me to another world. The lyrics to One More Time One More Chance really spoke to me and fit the movie perfectly. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the piano version as well. Even if you don’t know the lyrics you can feel the passion and heartache the composer is trying to convey. This song single handedly made me think about my life choices and goals.
Let us move onto the toughest part of the review, the story. The most beautiful part of the film, but also the most tragic. Without spoiling too much I want to say that you shouldn’t expect anything from the first couple minutes. It isn’t until episode two you learn that things aren’t so bright in Japan.But this is what made the film so magical. Anyone could have done a film about two childhood friends that eventually come together and live happily ever after. 5 Centimeters Per Second took the elements of fiction and fact and brought them together in one of the best pieces I have seen this year. While you can still see the bond between these two friends, you realize that life doesn’t just “work out”. The struggles Tono had to go through felt so real that I began to wonder how often this actually happens. Watching two friends get torn apart by issues they can’t avoid was heart wrenching.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through such a heart break. It wasn’t only the overall story that got to me either. Every little scene of the movie had great significance. At no point did I think there was a pointless scene, or useless dialogue. The way the split up the movie into three episodes was a brilliant idea as I said earlier. Going through the key moments of Tono’s life while filling in the blanks made me really attached to all the characters. This is probably the best way to describe what I felt after watching it in its entirety:
[5 Centimeters Per Second] always helps me put life into perspective. It really gets me because it’s so simple, but to me it means so much.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. The simplicity kept the story relatable while the events made it memorable. As you can tell, there were so many events that stood out to me I went screenshot crazy. After watching it just once I can recite some of the lines during my favorite scenes. Some may find faults in the story (as did I) such as “Why didn’t they just drive to each other when they were older?”, “Why can’t he move on?” or “What made them stop writing letters considering they still check constantly?”. I asked the same questions. The only thing I can say to that is life happens, and the memories the two share are irreplaceable. Despite the heart break and sadness that engulfed the movie I feel that this is the final message everyone should remember…
Final statements: I can’t say that the anime made me feel warm and fuzzy inside in the end, but it was worth watching. I just hope that those who watch this realize that it isn’t always about the ideal life, but rather realizing what it is to lose something you love. Cherish the fond memories of times past. A journey through the life that is a must see.