5 Centimeters Per Second

By bluemist on August 19th, 2007

Byousoku 5 Centimeter
“a chain of short stories about their distance.”

Again, Makoto Shinkai blew me away. He is really the master of “wide open spaces” in animation. It is not so much the attention to detail as it’s really the cinematic scope of what he draws. The backgrounds have this sort-of emotion that conveys the beauty of this world, whether it may be a rural or a city setting. And so as you enjoy the sights and sounds of his new OVA offering, we also see very simple but heartfelt stories about three characters and their distance between each other.

5CM is a three-episode tale of three people, a guy and two girls, and how distances can make or break love and friendships. We start with two childhood friends, Takaki and Akari. They were very close to each other, but then after elementary school, they have to part ways. Akari moved to some town in Tochigi, while Takaki went to Tokyo. They still contact each other by letters, but then Takaki’s family will move much further away to Kagoshima. So Takaki agreed to meet her before that happens. It’s quite a long multiple train ride between Tochigi and Tokyo, and harsh snowy conditions delayed Takaki’s travel. Eventually they meet up, albeit late, and a very heartful reunion for the two. Takaki promised to still keep in touch, but eventually the letters dried out.

The second part is about Takaki, now in Kagoshima, and Kanae, a classmate who feels for him. They became close friends but Takaki still feels distant sometimes, as if he looks on to the horizons often. Kanae was trying to build up her courage to confess to him, but Takaki still thinks about Akari who is very far away. Takaki plans to go back to Tokyo to work after graduation, leaving Kanae behind.

The final part is about Takaki and Akari, now grown up. Akari is actually engaged to another man by now. Takaki has a girlfriend and have been exchanging text messages, but then she finally told him that their lives are so apart that their love for each other can’t work anymore. The anime ends with a music video-style piece, with the song “One more time, one more chance” by Masayoshi Yamazaki.

Can I say HD FTW? This is a prime example of why DVD can’t satisfy me anymore. This would have been so beautiful in high-definition, and it really shows in the preview. The downloadable teaser in the website is actually 720p, but then the original release is of course 480p in DVD. There seem to be no plans (yet) to bring this to either Bluray of HD DVD, and so my I’m quite sad to not see the whole thing yet in it’s real cinematic glory. Oh well, as if I already have an HDTV…

Seemingly this is also the only anime from Makoto Shinkai without a fantasy setting. It is very down-to-earth, but then again so were Beyond the Clouds and Voices of a Distant Star aside from the science. And… do you notice that all his works are about “distance”? Distance relationship stories really strike a tone on me for some odd reason, maybe because the longing for each other is so strong when people are far apart. This is a very effective and affective anime especially for someone who might miss a loved one from far away.

A pretty somber but emotional piece this is. I feel bad for Takaki and Kanae, they were pretty much broken by the end of the anime but I think it is implied that they should be able to move on after this. The whole anime is just within a span of an hour, and yet it has created very fleshed-out characters that you can somewhat relate to. Plus the animation and sound really livens up the emotional level, and so this is mighty fine viewing. Definitely a must-see.


Posted By: Wrong On: August 19, 2007 At: 2:07 pm

Please watch it again properly.

Starting even in the second story they have never anymore communicated with each other. It was said then when Takaki was typing e-mail messages to basically no one.

And before even going through the railroad tracks in the ending part Takaki has already moved on. (The first part in the 3rd story in where He was doing his freelancing works in his apartment.) His main frustration in the 3rd story was His job. Not Akari.

They basically just remembered each other when Takaki was reading about the Space Shuttle and Akari seeing the letter that she wasn’t ablt to give Takaki when they last met in the first story.

Sorry but I think you should go to some forums to read about this, especially about the third part which is hard to understand a little because its a little fast paced.

Posted By: bluemist On: August 19, 2007 At: 3:46 pm

I don’t need to tell those ‘details’…

Posted By: takumi2k4 On: August 19, 2007 At: 4:16 pm

Are you sure it’s not out on any HD format? I found an HD raw in the usual channels, and it really is in HD. It doesn’t seem to be upscaled or anything like that, so I don’t know how it was made, but I’m sure as hell it is in HD, there’s no visual artifacts or anything like that when I play it on my 16:10 monitor.

But yeah, you definitely should try and see it in HD, it really looks amazing.

Posted By: Norman On: August 19, 2007 At: 4:48 pm

The 1280×720 raw lying around is definitely an upscaled DVD, [Q-R] released that raw I think.


I think Takaki was still writing those emails TO Akari, but he never sent them. That’s just my opinion though…

=) A good film, nonetheless.

Posted By: omo On: August 20, 2007 At: 3:18 am

The last part, yeah, is actually Takaki and his present girlfriend who exchanged messages. It’s got nothing to do with Akari.

And yeah, the 720 raw is upscaled. It still looks gorgeous though. The closest thing to HD you can get is seeing it in theaters (hopefully soon in the US).

Posted By: air On: August 20, 2007 At: 2:38 pm

>>The closest thing to HD you can get is seeing it in theaters (hopefully soon in the US).

It’s playing at the Asian Film Festival of Dallas on the 30th, and I’m definitely gonna be there. Hopefully more theaters will play it.

Posted By: Bunnyman On: September 02, 2007 At: 8:13 am

wat the first guy says is wrong. they have communicated with each other with letters and phone. even bunny says soo!!!
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Posted By: PrometheusRising On: September 09, 2007 At: 8:40 am

I love 5 cm/s. It’s incredibly beautiful and it really demonstrates Shinkai-san’s extreme meticulousness in his artwork.

And yet, at the same time, 5 cm/s affects me quite a bit because I’ve had to say good bye to the girl I love too..

Posted By: aaron thomas On: August 31, 2010 At: 4:54 pm

This anime really had me especially when akari and takaki said that they both had the same dreams it felt like what I was going through as I broke up with my ex its soo loving….. love the hell out of it can’t get enough..

Soo good it had me crying+(

Posted By: Xj Shiya Yunohiro On: April 25, 2011 At: 1:25 pm

moral lesson:
long distance relationship doesn’t last long..
even the promises and vows..
it will wither 5cm per second like a sakura petals falling from it’s tree.
but then again, i guess its up to the humans involved in the relationship.. if they don’t do anything, then the love will just wither..
a really heartbreaking but gorgeous movie.. got depressed after i watched this.. ^_^