There are movies, then there are Shinkai, Makoto movies. Vibrant and brilliant takes that involve love, tragedy, and usually a supernatural element. However, that last bit doesn’t ring true for the 2007 film 5 Centimeters Per Second. A wonderful, mature tale of two crossed lovers who, under the victim of circumstance can not be together. Shortly losing their way, longing for one another but swept up in life.
5 Centimeters Per Second follows the two mains, Toono, Takai, and female counter Sumida, Kanae. Two loners used to jumping from school to school due to their parent’s work they quickly realize they are one in the same. Attaching to each other the two grow closer with each passing day, ignoring the world that exists outside their relationship. They grow so close they quickly draw the teases from other classmates, but even so, they remain true to each other, vowing to be by each other’s side for as long as they could.
Note this is a Makoto film so, that time was cut short.
Being once again forced to move Kanae leaves her loved Takaki behind heading north from Toyko to a more rural town. Though damned not to lose touch 6 months after moving Kanae sends a letter to Takaki, starting a pen pal repertoire that leads up to Takaki traveling hours out of his way to see her one evening. Though that meeting wasn’t by chance, Takaki had learned he would be moving shortly after as well, even farther from his love then the hours that already exist between them.
5 Centimeters Per Second is a harsh and real look at what it means to be in love, to live your life, and ultimately be apart from someone who one deeply cares for. It is a take at long-distance relationships and how they reflect among people and those around them. As time passes fond memories fade filled with new relationships, responsibilities, and just general life.
The film does a wonderful job at painting these narratives while also remaining ascetically a marvel. Even though it is one of Makoto’s older films, releasing in 2007. It is packed full of his on-point angel and animation style. Matched with one of the better soundtracks to come out of a film in recent memories 5 Centimeters Per Second is truly a masterpiece of the film industry and in my opinion, out of the three Makoto films I have seen (this one, Weathering With You and Your Name) is his best work tackling a hard and raw concept but hitting it almost perfectly.
Personally, I am not much of a film guy. The amount of live-action series I have seen compared to the average American I’d assume is sub-pare. This bias carried over to the anime world. My bird brain struggles to focus on anything more than 20 minutes so the idea of sitting for two hours focusing on one thing is an order too tall for me. But over the past couple of months as I’ve slowly started watching more and more animated films I’ve discovered that some of them can paint this story of pain and struggle much like their show counterparts. It is a lot like one-shots, at the start I found them rather dull, lacking development due to their short-run but over time I have discovered a charm in them that only a one-shot can fill.
To put it simply 5 Centimeters Per Second is a fantastic movie and a work of art in its own right. It is a tale that many have struggled through, spending those summer holidays longing to get back to school for that crush one likes a little too much, only to find her gone, moved on to another town and another life. Makoto as always lead a talented team to a near-perfect finish line as director and left an impression on me that I know will last a while.
As always, thanks for the read!