Five Centimetres per Second is an anime written, produced and directed by Makoto Shinkai, which follows a few key characters through three short episodes on a journey through life. The total runtime of all three episodes is around an hour, though when I watched it, it felt longer. This isn’t a fault in the story telling, more that the scenes are not fast paced or hectic, but take their time to tell you what they need.
The story spans from the start of the 1990’s till around 2008, which was present day at the time of release. Each episode is centred around Takaki Tōno, and the first of which starting at a time when cell phones were uncommon and the internet was something still used mostly by businesses and universities. As such, the early plot touches on the difficulties of staying in touch with someone that you care for at this period in time.
Unlike most Anime out there, Five Centimetres has no Sci-fi or Fantasy elements. It is grounded deeply in the “everyday” and flourishes in the simplicity, beauty, and pain that this brings. With stunning detail put into the characters and backgrounds, it’s easy to lose yourself in scenes driven by narration, and pure depth of emotion. It would be fair to say that in terms of style and story-telling that Five Centimetres is close to being a master piece.
This is a view shared by many it would seem, winning the Lancia Platinum Grand Prize at the Future Film Festival for best movie in animation or special effects among other awards, and with The Japan Times’ Mark Schilling commends Shinkai saying that he is better than Miyazaki “at piercing the veil of the everyday to reveal a poignant, evanescent beauty most of us notice only in rare moments.”
That all being said, it’s a story that I came out of not knowing how to feel. It’s not a story that sensationalizes love, romance, and drama, but feels very real, and very close to home. It’s a story that could happen to anyone, it could literally be your story that you are watching, and that hits home. So when I finished Five Centimetres, my literal reaction was an audible, “oh”.
It has taken over a week to reflect on my feelings on this Anime, and as you have probably guessed, it is one that I would highly recommend watching, but be prepared for some self-reflection when you do.
In a departure from my usual style, I will not be posting the opening of the anime, as it doesn’t have in the traditional sense. If you want to know what I mean by this, you’ll have to watch it, as I’m afraid the answer is a spoiler.
So with no intro to leave you, here’s a nice piece of promotional art.