Review: 5 Centimetres Per Second

© Makoto Shinkai / CoMix Wave Films

Release Date: 19/08/2009
Genre: Anime, Drama, Romance
Subtitles: ENGLISH subtitles
Runtime: 63.0 mins
Format: DVD, Region 2 & 4 (PAL)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen Full Height Anamorphic

5 centimetres per second. That’s how far and fast one cherry blossom falls. If you think that is a lovely and romantic idea, then that is what you’ve got in store for you should you watch “5 Centimetres Per Second”.

Rather than a movie, “5 Centimetres Per Second” is a collection of 3 short stories. The first story introduces us to Tono Takaki, who you could say is the main character as he is in all 3 stories.

When he was younger, a girl joined his class at school and they quickly became friends. Takaki and his new friend Shinohara Akari became the subject of teasing by their classmates because they were so close. One day, after many years of friendship, Akari had to tell Takaki she was moving. 6 months after the move, Takaki received his first letter from Akari.

They wrote to each other for a while, the Takaki decided to plan a trip to see Akari. He took the train, and not long after its departure it began to snow. What should have been a 2 hour trip turned into about 5 hours. Every stop ended up with a 10 minute delay, and at one point the train stopped in the middle of nowhere – sitting there for 2 hours. Every delay made Takaki worry more, because he knew Akari was waiting for him and it was getting late.

Finally he got to his destination. Walking into the train station, he found Akari sleeping in her seat near a heat stove. He woke her, and they had some food and drink before being moved on by the station master who was closing for the night. They walked through the snow and eventually paused under a large cherry tree that Akari had mentioned in her letters. They shared their first kiss there, and decided to spend the rest of the night in a nearby shack. The next morning Takaki went home again with Akari waving and watching from the station.

The second story shows Takaki in a new school, as he had to move too. He texts someone on his phone a lot, and it’s safe to assume that someone would be be Akari. He develops a casual friendship with another girl (named Kanae) in his class, who has a big crush on him. She likes sports, and her older sister taught her how to surf. Her sister is also a teacher at the school. They accompany each other home after school, as Kanae’s place is along the same route as Takaki’s.

Kanae one day works up the courage to admit her feelings to Takaki, but when it appears a though she may have missed meeting up with him after school to make the trip home, she gives up and leaves on her own. On the way she sees Takaki’s scooter sitting on the side on the road, so she stops to go looking for him. She finds him sitting on a hill, texting that all-important person yet again. They go home after a while, and Kanae spends her night crying having realised that Takaki is in love with someone else.

The third and final story shows us an all grown up Akari and her parents, whom she is assuring that she’ll be alright. They are waiting for a train which Akari is taking to what I assume is Tokyo. She is also sporting an engagement ring, and appears to be very happy (as you would be). However, it does not seem as though Takaki is the reason for this. We see him walking around the city alone, appearing to be somewhat depressed. He enters his apartment (where it’s clear that he is the only person staying there), settles down and receives a text from an unknown lady saying they love him. Akari is seen walking happily from the train station on the arm of an unknown man.

The tag line for this venture is “a chain of short stories about their distance” and I see how. Takaki and Akari meet, become friends, get separated, rekindle their friendship which turns into love, and over time they grow apart. It’s a lovely reminder to us that even if we had similar circumstances in our lives such as those in the story, things may or may not work as we would hope. But we can still appreciate what we have, enjoy the beauty of every day life that surrounds us, and take joy in the fact that there is someone who loves us even if we don’t see it.

“5 Centimetres Per Second” is a beautiful set of stories, with animation and life reminders that are just as beautiful. It would be the perfect addition to your collection if you enjoy love stories of any proportion.

Perhaps you’d like to buy it from our Amazon store?

Review product was provided by Madman Entertainment, and does not affect the outcome of this review.

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