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5 Centimeters Per Second
5 Centimeters Per Second
Actors: Kenji Mizuhashi, Yoshimi Kondou, Satomi Hanamura, Ayaka Onoue, Risa Mizuno
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Anime & Manga, Animation
UR     2008     1hr 5min

Beginning with the lyrical image of cherry blossoms falling at five centimeters a second Makoto Shinkai paints a breathtakingly vivid tableau of young love desire loss and hope. Told in three breathtaking chapters we follo...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Kenji Mizuhashi, Yoshimi Kondou, Satomi Hanamura, Ayaka Onoue, Risa Mizuno
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Creators: Makoto Shinkai, Jin Ho Chung, Joey Goubeaud, John Ledford, Naomi Toda, Steven Foster
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Anime & Manga, Animation
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Adv Films
Format: DVD - Color - Animated,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/04/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 5min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 13
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese, English, English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Profound anime!
M. Yang | Tokyo, Japan | 01/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I never thought that this anime would move me the way it did. I guess I watched it not really expecting much, but it really helped me reflect on my life and how my interactions with everyone has had an affect on who I am.

The title refers to the speed at which Sakura flower petals fall from the the tree. The petals are like us, falling from the tree of life. As we fall, we encounter all sorts of people. There will be people who we will fall in love with, however by the time the petals(us) reach the ground we don't know who will be beside us.

Its done rather well. I've never bought an expensive collectors version of any movie, but I went out right away and bought the collectors version. Hopefully, the dub is done well and the special features will also be included."
Falling Cherry Blossoms
Daitokuji31 | Black Glass | 05/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Once upon a time I used to watch Japanese animation fairly often, finding it an entertaining and easier method to improve my Japanese listening skills than watching live action films since a good portion of the medium is aimed at younger audiences. However, seven years or so ago, I grew tired of watching it, not so much because of the medium itself, but because of a number of the more obsessed, obnoxious fans with whom I did not want to associate or be associated with considering the fact I was beginning graduate work in Japanese studies.

Anyway, it has taken me over half a decade to watch some "older" shows such as Azumanga Daioh and more recent efforts as Kon Satoshi's Paprika. While I do not enjoy the medium as much as I did before, I found these works to be refreshing during high periods of stress, so, at a glacier's pace, I am checking out some random titles with the most recent being Shinkai Makoto's 5 Centimeters Per Second.

What initially drew me to the film were the screen captures on the back of the DVD box which challenged the artistic level of almost every other animated film that I have watched, also, I was attracted to the film because it is a simple love story between a boy and a girl who are separated because of matters beyond their control, meaning, there is no magic, giant robots, space cowboys, or what you.

5 Centimeters Per Second centers on the life of Tono Takaki, a melancholy, taciturn young man whose only friend in elementary school is a girl named Shinohara Akari, who, like Tono, is sickly, quiet and of a bookish nature. Quickly the two become glued together, and despite being teased by classmates, find in each other's presence what they lack in their own beings. However, because of their fathers' jobs, they have to move often and are soon separated from each other. They write each other often at first, but can their relationship remain as strong after Tono moves to Kagoshima?

5 Centimeters Per Second is not one cohesive film, but instead a collection of three short episodes depicting the life and growth of Tono from elementary school, to high school, to the workforce. Although he meets others, such as Sumita Kanae who falls deeply in love with him, Tono's love always belongs to Akari with the result that Tono is always a distant figure looking for the one to make him whole again; however, such quests are not always successful. A quiet, sad film meditating on relationships, time, space, distance, and nature, 5 Centimeters Per Second should appeal not only to anime fans but hopefully fans of romance films as well."
5cm per second...
Mitsuki Shiroi | 02/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

""They say it's five centimeters per second."
"What do you mean?"
"The speed at which the sakura blossom petals fall... Five centimeters per second."

I've watched many anime movies, Hayao Miyazaki rating amongst my favorites, but Shinkai absolutely beat Miyazaki with this one, if you ask me.

5cm per second is the perfect portrayal of every day life. How many of us has had friends, even first loves, and thought they'd be together forever, only to have time pass by until we can barely remember their faces? How many times have we passed by someone and thought it might be someone we recognize?

The story is absolutely magnificent. Takaki and Akari, both children used to transfering, find each other after Akari transfers to the school that Takaki attends. Because they both prefer being inside, spending time in the library, they grow closer and closer, until even their classmates make fun of their supposed relationship.

But unfortunately, what could have been comes to an abrupt ending when life intervenes and Akari is forced to move all the way to Iwafune. And the story continues with Takaki's point of view, how time and distance rips him up from the inside. Because he'll always be looking towards some far distance place, having dreams about Akari.

She's the one for him and the fact that they're not together places him into a position where he's always troubled and where he doesn't even notice the other girls that do love him and are closeby.

It's breathtaking. The animation is magnificent and fantastically executed. The lighting and the backgrounds were just breathtaking, while the soft piano music that played in the background wasn't distracting and only added to the entire effect of the movie.

Trust me when I say that this is one worth to watch. And if you've downloaded it, it's definitely worth the 22 bucks to have the actual DVD.

Superb. And that's something I don't say often."
A Reply to Mr. Jonathan Lane's Review
Suzanne | Oklahoma City, OK United States | 07/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"*While I normally don't post a review by replying to another one I thought it would be most productive to respond to Jonathan's negative criticisms of this film since most of my praise for it acts as a counterpoint to his critiques.*

Wanting Shinkai to be "the next Miyazaki" is placing unnecessary preconceptions and restraints on a director who is a unique artist and not like Miyazaki at all. Miyazaki has succeeded because he's made Eastern fairy tales and fantasy palatable to a Western audience to which these things are often foreign. His style lies more in the narrative than in the aesthetics (though he doesn't exactly skimp in that area). Shinkai in terms of style, form, content, aesthetic, focus, etc. is nothing like Miyazaki.

As for the so-called "pacing problem" I agreed wholly that Promised was badly paced. But Shinkai's problem is that he couldn't decide what to focus on and how to weave the narrative together. There are two solutions to this; you either maintain a tight control over the flow of the narrative and the characters within it, or you sacrifice narrative pacing for aesthetic pacing. That's what he's chosen to do with 5cm. So the claim that 5cm has bad pacing is completely incorrect. Shinkai is not going for narrative pacing here, but aesthetic pacing. This is a classic technique of Asian art. You can see it in classic Asian film such as Ozu, Mizoguchi, Hsiao-hsien, and Ming-liang. Shinkai achieves this through his minimal focus on narrative, ellipses, pillow shots, musical montages, etc.

As for the music, I also disagree and think this film is another leap forward for Shinkai. There are several views when it comes to the best application of music for film, but one I like is Kurosawa's view that music and film go best together when both pieces are missing something; when a piece of music is missing something or a scene is missing something. That way putting music and film together 'completes' the other. I agree in Shinkai's previous films the music was more individual, more distinguished. But I think his application of more 'passive' music in 5cm is much better. And I rather liked how the ending theme compliments the film that came before. It might not be as superficially pretty as other music Shinkai has used (I think it's quite beautiful, but tastes will differ), but I think it fits much better in the context of the film.

The complaint that this is just a gooey romance rehashed from Promised isn't really fair from someone who's not attempting to conjure up an original and "surprising" narrative. If anything, the film is attempting to get to the emotions associated with the story more than presenting the story itself. Or, put another way, the minimal narrative opens a window into a river of complex emotions associated with such a simplistic and common idea as a youthful romance. Yes, this film is just a variation on his last two, but to criticize Shinkai for that is unfair. Yasujiro Ozu, one of the greatest directors ever, often repeated simplistic storylines using the same actors with even the same character names but just in slightly different circumstances. He did this so as to illuminate a different emotion, aesthetic, or theme each time. And by slightly shifting the content around, his oeuvre forms a kind of Cubist art where you get to see the same thing from different angles.

Shinkai is doing the same thing by using the same basic idea and slightly manipulating it with each effort to get something different out of it. You can't really do this switching to a completely different story, because then the pattern is broken. You can not like this approach and claim that it's just the same thing over and over, but to do so is to miss the point badly. Shinkai has finally honed his style enough that he seems to be aware of this. When he began, I thought he would end up going the more Miyazaki route of making sci-fi, fantasy, romances that fit more into a Western mold. But I'm rather glad that he's gone the opposite route and taken his films in a direction that's much closer to classic Eastern art. Because afterall, we have a Miyazaki, why do we need another one? Especially when there aren't enough artists like Shinkai in anime.

But even more than his Asian predecessors, Shinkai's films have come to resemble those of the reclusive, enigmatic, American director/poet Terrence Malick. After watching 5cm I was actually reminded vividly of Malick's Days of Heaven, which also features a minimalistic narrative that's used as simply a means for momentum on which the breathtaking visual aesthetics take over. This results in film that's the visual equivalent of poetry, and 5cm does indeed play more like a visual tone poem than a narrative driven film.

With 5cm I humbly think that Shinkai has crafted his most complete film to date. A stunningly gorgeous film filled with a rich melancholic tone. The kind of film to watch on a rainy day in a relaxed mood. It's a quiet and graceful film, a humble chamber piece set to a minor key; the anime equivalent of a Schubert Lieder. The 4 star rating is only because as much as I like 5cm, I still think Shinkai is capable of even better.