5 Centimetres Per Second
Life is hard, it’s full of challenges and obstructions that will always be there. It’s how you adjust to these obstacles and who you are that will allow life to either be a pleasurable experience, or one full of regret and woe. 5 Centimetres Per Second is a collection of short stories presented in a feature film that epitomises the challenges that we must all face when it comes to life, love and the pursuit of happiness.
From the outset of the feature, it’s clear what this anime is to become. It’s certainly not a light hearted, happy tale, if anything it’s the reverse. It’s a slow, long winded tale that takes pleasure in being obnoxious and fragmented. However, this method of story telling lends itself well to the subject matter at hand. The tale centres around Takaki Tono and his relationships with girls throughout his life.
We initially see a young Takaki Tono, who is in a close friendship with a young lady and this friendship is seemingly boundless. With correspondence across the country and frequently being split up due to their parents moving to different parts of the country, their passion and friendship looked like it would never end. However, as with everything in life it must come to and end and the reason for this was not made clear. It would appear that the pair fell in love, but neither were prepared to admit it; yet, as time went on the pair grew up and became ever more distant.
In the third part of this tale, it would appear that Takaki Tono’s young love is due to be wed to someone else. Someone who is the exact opposite of what himself. Takaki is neither happy, rich or successful in life and from what we are led to believe the “other man” is and the pair meet up to reminisce about their past.
The actual story itself is nothing new, spectacular or to be honest, all that interesting. Yet, the way the feature is presented is what makes this tale so endearing. There is a clear break between the three tales and this is shown in odd ways, such as an introduction song half way through the feature and credits in unusual places. But this break in the feature clearly shows the fact that there are three separate stories being shown and then that they are all interlinked.
What really sets 5 Centimetres Per Second apart from many anime is the presentation. It has some of the most gorgeous artwork that I’ve seen in any medium in a long time. The level of detail in the scenery is truly stunning; this is why it’s so clear that people are heralding Makoto Shinkai as the next Hayao Miyazaki. Although the storytelling is no where near the standard of a Ghibli production, the artwork is on par if not surpassing the masters of anime feature films.
It’s a real shame that this release is not on Blu-Ray, as it would look simply superb. However, it’s an understandable decision made by Manga Entertainment as it’s appeal is fairly limited. Owing to the unique style it’s presented, a hybrid between individual stories and a feature film and the subject matter at hand – love and distance.
The voice acting on the Japanese side is very good, there’s emotion and passion throughout the entire feature. The English dub isn’t quite as good as the Japanese version, the voice actors, although passable, are a bit flatter and have less depth. However, both are passable and if you’ve got the feature on in the background having it in English is far more convenient.
» Final Score
5 Centimetres Per Second is a story about love, distance and regret. It’s presented in a truly beautiful way visually and story-wise it’s unique and a little arty. The feature is certainly not for everyone, as a slow and methodical story can turn many viewers off. Yet, it’s stunning to watch and is certainly worthy of being on the vast majority of anime viewers shelves.