Takaki Toono and Akari Shinohara, two very close friends and classmates, are torn apart when Akari's family is transferred to another region of Japan due to her family's job. Despite separation, they continue to keep in touch through mail. When Takaki finds out that his family is also moving, he decides to meet with Akari one last time.
As years pass by, they continue down their own paths, their distance slowly growing wider and their contact with one another fades. Yet, they keep remembering one another and the times they have shared together, wondering if they will have the chance to meet once again.
Byousoku 5 Centimeter was completed on January 22, 2007. The first of three parts was available for streaming on Yahoo! Japan exclusively for its premium users between February 16 and 19. The complete film was released on March 3, 2007.
The film won the 2007 Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
From Makoto Shinkai (Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days) comes 5 Centimetes per Second, a movie that tells the story of two childhood friends in love, and how they try to keep their relationship going through hardships that life throws at them. Throogh three small stories, or episodes as they're called, we're told the tale of how they grow up and farther away from each other.
The movie tells of a love that's slowly torn apart because the lovers move further away, both in heart and home. It's underlying themes are beautifully incorporated into the story; about growing up, letting
go of an unreachable past, and taking control of one's own life. Though they're not necessarily very obvious throughout the movie, the final scene symbolizes these themes, and what the main characters decided on in the end.
The character we follow through the movie is Takaki Tohno, and we get to see how he looks on the events that unfold as a child, a teenager and finally, and adult. We see how he develops through these stages of life, and how it all relates to his childhood friend and love, Akari Shinohara.
The emotions are protrayed in an incredibly beautiful and realistic way; how they portray the love between Akari and Takaki, how they portray the girl who has a crush on Tohno during his high school years, Kanae Sumida, and finally, how they portray their development from children to adults all makes them characters you'll place your heart with. They're characters you'll love, feel sad with, and you'll wish for them to live happily.
The animation quality is astounding, from the detail in backgrounds to the astounding ligthing effects and camera angles that help bring the mood of the scenes to a level different from mostly anything else. The only beef I have is that the characters' faces lost a bit of detail from time to time, but aside that the movie is a visual pleasure that goes beyond pretty much everything I've ever experienced.
Tenmon, who's made the soundtrack to other Shinaki films, does an astounding job on the soundtrack for the movie, with piano pieces that effectively and beautifully amplifies the mood of the movie, be it melancholy, calmness or nostalgia. However, if you don't like piano soundtracks, chances are you'll not like it, since it's mostly the piano that's used throughout the movie (I love them though, and that's what made me give it a 10).
The seiyuu also do a marvelous job of portraying the characters, their emotions and age. I've only watched the Japanese version of the movie, so I can't say anything about the quality of the English voice acting. But I'd recommend it in Japanese anyways =)
5 cm per Second is a movie that takes a story of growing up and makes it into something that cannot be described as anything less than a masterpiece, with astounding themes, storytelling, art and sound. If someone told me I could watch one movie before I died, I'd undoubtedly choose this one.
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I'm...confused. I wanted so much to enjoy this movie. I was absolutely sure that this was going to be one of those works of art that leaves you breathless, sitting there for minutes, maybe even an hour after it finishes, just trying to take it all in.
If you love this movie, you will most likely hate me for this review. Call me someone with a heart of ice, whatever you will. I am simply expressing my thoughts on it.
I'll break this into a two-part review. The first part will be my thoughts, written as I think of them, the second part an analysis
with numbers for those who prefer it that way.
Oh, I am sitting here, after watching the movie, but it's not out of awe, it's out of bewilderment because despite all the reviews and recommendations from ,everyone that proclaim it the best movie ever, that the message of it is poignant and beautiful...I can't say that I fully agree. Maybe it's because I'm a heartless robot who has never felt love before, you would say, but no, I've cried and felt emotional at even the smallest hints of feeling, and I've most definitely been in love, known what it's like to feel heartbreak, desolation, the chill when you know the person you love will never share your feelings. But for some reason...I couldn't relate to this movie, try as I might.
Why did this movie completely fail my expectations? I'm still trying to make sense of it as I write this review. I'm a bit disappointed in myself, because it seems everyone else except for me was touched by this anime while I appear to be some stone-cold freak of nature. I had the tissues ready, the feels shield up, the family relocated to another room so that I could peacefully watch this and take all the dialogue in.
The most outstanding issue in 5 Centimeters per Second, for me, is that I don't feel that there was enough character development. I understand. Toko is in love with Akari, and in the first part, she reciprocates his feelings, but they can't be together. Yes, that is sad, but the way it was expressed just didn't seem to impact me. At the end of the movie, I don't know anything about them except that they're star-crossed lovers who, unfortunately, can't be with each other.
The movie does have wonderful messages in it. You have to move on from the past, learn to let go, and know when it's time to move on. However, I don't think that message is unique to this movie only. I've seen it expressed many times before. The story is interesting, but I think it needed a lot more plot and character development.
Yes. We can relate to the characters as they experience loss, heartbreak, falling in love for the first time. But for some reason, I didn't feel as though there was enough effort put into making the watchers really connect, to strengthen that link of empathy. I appreciate the symbolism used in this anime. The messages are indeed deep and something that many can relate to, but in my opinion they were not conveyed in the right way. I also think that some of the lines from the movie are elegant...Overall, this anime seemed to have all the elements to be wonderful, but for me, they didn't come together.
And for you data analysts out there, have a breakdown by numbers:
Story :: 7
It started out promising, but spiraled into something a bit boring and, at least for me, terribly predictable. The story is well-thought out and I liked how it was broken up into three parts, but it moved very quickly, and at the end I found myself shocked that there wasn't something more. It would have been much better if even half an hour was given to plot development. The way the story is played out is in soft hints of emotion, feelings that can be easily related to, and in a relatively tranquil way, but because of this, I felt that it was difficult to find the actual point of the plot. When the movie ended, I sat there and asked myself, "so what?". The answer was simply that "We have to learn when and how to move on". I was hoping that I would have been able to think of more. I appreciate, though, how it was portrayed realistically throughout, with nothing cheesy or sugar-coated.
Art :: 9
Ah, but I do have to say, the artwork in this movie is outstanding! The backgrounds, lighting, climate, everything. I was spellbound by the gorgeous landscapes that were concocted, with the perfect touch of surrealism and fantasy at every part. You see a routine town setting, and then look up at the sky...a nebulous wonderland, full of stars, conveying the idea that there really is no boundary to where we can go. I can't give this category a 10, however, because the people were somewhat disconcerting amongst all this scenery. I didn't feel as though as much effort was put into drawing them, and they looked a bit odd at times.
Sound :: 9
I play the piano, so all the piano songs in the background stood out and they really did provide a lovely backdrop for the movie, which is peaceful and not full of action or drama. The background music could most certainly put me at ease in any situation. I also appreciated the realistic sound effects, reminiscent of the sounds in a Miyazaki movie. It's clear that a lot of effort was put into this movie.
Character :: 6
These characters should be relatable. At times, I felt like I could relate to them. However, they were greatly lacking in personality development. Maybe, though, it's the point of the movie. As was noted in an article that I read some time ago, if the characters in a work of art are relatively simple, we use them as blank canvases on which to paint our own emotions. I think I would have appreciated a bit more character structuring, though.
Enjoyment :: 6
Like I said in the beginning of this review, I sat there the entire move trying very hard to like it. At some points, I did. I could appreciate the messages, clear or somewhat hidden, that were being given. However, for most of the movie, I was bored, as though I was waiting for something to happen. Maybe this is because I thought it would be a lot more sad than it turned out to be.
Overall :: 7
The messages in 5 Centimeters per Second are beautiful. I believe that they should have been conveyed more through character actions than through them having to tell a story to us using words. As I continue through my life, perhaps I will encounter scenarios that will make me think of this movie. I would still recommend that people watch this movie, because there are lessons to be learned and chances are that they'll enjoy it much more than I did, looking at the sheer amount of 10s that this movie has received. Until then, I'll continue pondering this movie, and why I, usually so quick to empathize with others and share emotions, was not moved by this piece. If my opinions change, I will be back to write another review. As was the message of Howl's Moving Castle, hearts can change, and people can too.
I happened upon this anime in several anime fan sites as it was considered one of the higher rated animes even until today. Reading how some people said it rivaled works that of Miyazaki, I had high expectations for it. But unfortunately it was a total letdown.
The only thing I really enjoyed about the movie was the animation quality and detail that was put into the movie. The animation was just simply beautiful from the vividness of the background to the fluid motion of characters but then, sadly, the praise ends here.
The story and the characters were very anti-climactic as no real progress is met
by the characters with one another. This is however how the creator of the story wished for it to be i think as the title is named "5 centimeters per second". It was a collection of short stories about human distance. I'll say though that the concept and execution were nice but the story itself was lacks proper closure as it presents the audience with the concept but then leaves it at the presentation with no real conclusion. The story began as a cultured glass of wine then slowly transforming into wine in a box. The depth slowly filled in as the stories progressed. They were written just so that a concept could be brought to stage and left there to be a static attraction for the audience.
So if you're looking for a totally artistic and visually pleasing feature with no real concern for a happy ending with much depth in the end then give this one a looksy.
Makoto Shinkai is a fairly big name in the industry of anime films. The mind responsible for Voices Of A Distant Star and The Place Promised In Our Early Days among others, he has made his name for creating absolutely stunning landscapes, coupled with beautiful animation, set to simple stories of romance. And amongst his movies, 5 Cm Per Second is often hyped up to be the best.
Now, let me get this out of the way now: The visuals in 5 Cm Per Second are nothing short of amazing. Shinkai creates some of the most brilliant landscapes I have ever seen. He emphasises the seasons
with absolute perfection, bringing out all the most beautiful aspects of Spring, Summer and Winter (Fall is not pictured in this movie), making an incredibly immersive experience. Coupled with some of the highest-end animation I've ever witnessed, the visuals are probably the single biggest draw of the film, and I seriously recommend that you watch this in the highest quality that you possibly can.
The story is separated into 3 acts, the first being about two childhood friends, Takaki and Akari, who were separated by distance. They keep in contact, but as one of them is about to move elsewhere, the other makes a journey to see them one last time. The second shows Takaki in high school, and is told from the perspective of another girl who is desperately in love with him. The final act shows Takaki and Akari as adults, showing the epilogue to their love separated by distance.
The story, in all honesty, is very lacking. The actual plot of them is pretty much summed up in the above paragraph, with the rest of it simply being character interaction and focus on the scenery. This could actually have been the formula for a brilliant movie, but the problem is that the characters all fall completely flat. Not a single one gets any development, and we barely get any feel whatsoever for their personalities. Rather than putting any focus on the characters, the movie only really cares to use landscapes to convey emotion rather than giving us anything remotely human.
Now, this may make it sound like this movie is bad, but to tell the truth I can't really bring myself to say it is. The story and characters may be completely 2-dimensional, but the story overcompensates with enormous production values, and it actually works. Hell, if you're the kind of person who generally likes love stories then you'll probably really enjoy that side of it as well. In essence, it's good if you're into that sort of thing. Even if you aren't, I'd still recommend watching this just for the amazing depth of the environment Shinkai builds.
However, one thing that should not go unmentioned is the song at the end of the movie, "One More Time, One More Chance" by Masayoshi Yamazaki, which is quite possibly the largest concentration of pure, unbridled tearjerker ever compressed into a single song since Johnny Cash performed Hurt. The soulful voice, combined with the beautiful imagery and shots of the couple in their young adulthood bring home the entire plot perfectly in a way that will have you crying your eyes out in no time.
Overall, 5 Cm Per Second is overrated, but generally entertaining and far from the worst way to kill an hour or so, and if you're a fan of romantic stories then you'll absolutely love it.
Final Words: A must-see for fans of romance, and a great example of scenery porn for everyone else.
Despite a wide variety of styles and settings, many of the most successful romance animes have one thing in common: they inspire us. But what is it about these shows that tugs at our heartstrings? The answer might be simpler than you think.