~The speed at which the sakura blossom petals fall…Five centimeters per second~
I’ve finally got a chance to see a film by Makoto Shinkai and I was impressed. Without question, the animation is too gorgeous for words, but the story itself is lacking. Though, it was beautifully scripted with detailed emotions, smart words and lots of description, outside that box it seemed to be empty. I guess I was simply hoping to seem more substance between the three characters and although they were all evidently shy and kind people, they also seemed a little boring. I do admit, the two “actual” lovers, Tono and Akari, still managed to capture my heart and it did pain me to see the love grow apart. I guess you could say that the film evoked many different emotions from me.
The film was meant to demonstrate how easily and fast you can fall in love, but also the hardships of drifting apart. This story was branched out into three arcs, all demonstrating a different point in a relationship. In the first arc, we learn about how transportation could be an evil thing when it snows and you are trying to get to your lover. Akari and Tono are meant to be just friends, though ever since Akari had moved away they started to drift apart. Tono soon discovers that he is also going to move away within a week to an even farther destination than Akari, so he decides that he needs to see her one last time. However, on his way to where she lives, the trains continue to get delayed and his mind is filtered with ideas that she won’t be waiting for him when he finally arrives. As for the second arc, at first I wasn’t actually sure if it was a whole new female protagonist, but much to my surprise it was, which kind of through me off when I discovered this after watching the film. Though, it makes a lot of sense because she didn’t look much like Akari at all and she surfed a lot. Anyway, her love problem is that she is in love with Tono, although she never had the courage to confess this to him. As for the third arc, it is set in the present, all of them have gone separate ways, but fate just might give them a re-encounter.
I probably would have to watch this film again to understand it completely. I’m the type of person who would miss there stop on a bus only because I enjoyed watching the landscape go by as time did as well, which is in a way what happened with this film. I got too caught up with watching the beautiful images to grasp really all that they were saying. So, I would want to watch it again and pay more attention to the real storyline. However, I don’t really think my opinion on saying that the story was weak would change. The characters were also dull as I mentioned, they also make the story a bit unbelievable because for example, in the first arc they are supposed to be thirteen. Yet, not only do they act far more mature than they are, but also the way their love is portrayed is in such a way that is too serious. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the romance genre, but as a fan I felt there wasn’t enough demonstrations of the joyful times in a romance, though at least the devotion was there. Also, at least all the relationships or lack there of one turned out to be cute. Though, this does bring me to the conclusion that the art is really the only thing that holds this film together, but at least that’s something!
Although, I have mixed feelings towards the film, I still am excited to see more of Makoto Shinkai’s work. Each of his films and one OVA do seem to be basically the same concept of either a friend or a lover drifting apart with what I would imagine a bittersweet ending, but I’m sure they share their differences as well. I’ve actually read the manga of Voices of a Distant Star and reviewed it long ago and I did enjoy the story, so I’d like to see how that turned out animated. As for 5 Centimeters per Second, I do recommend especially to someone who has already seen his work and enjoyed it, but I would also recommend it towards someone who doesn’t particularly care for a story, but would rather watch a film for the aesthetic parts.