Byousoku 5cm – Makoto Shinkai is an anime god.

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You probably still remember my recent post about the animated film Beyond The Clouds–well, this is a brand new movie from the same director and animation studio! Byousoku 5cm, literally meaning 5 Centimeters Per Second, just came out in Japan this September. The art is absolutely fantastic (as you can probably assume by the fact I posted 65 screenshots of it. *_*), there is some definite improvement in the quality of the art since their previous project, Beyond The Clouds. The art is extremely colorful and extraordinarily detailed at times. You’d almost swear you were looking at the real thing in some scenes!

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Aside from the noticeable improvement graphically, I found the story in 5 Centimeters Per Second was much more dramatic and engaging than Beyond The Clouds. The story is split into three chapters, each centered around a boy named Takaki Tono. Because of circumstances beyond his control he has been forced to spend his youth constantly moving from city to city. Takaki’s relationship with his close friend Akari Shinohara is very central to the plot.

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Episode 1: Okasho

Upon graduating from elementary school, Takaki Tono and his close friend Akari Shinohara drifted apart. Akari moved to Tochigi Prefecture due to her parents’ jobs, while Takaki attended a junior high in Tokyo. The two kept in contact by writing letters, but despite the feelings that existed between them, the only thing that persisted was time. When Takaki became aware that his family would move to Kagoshima, he decided to go see Akari since they would be too far apart to visit each other after he moved. However, when the day came, a severe snowstorm delayed Takaki’s trip, and it would be hours before he reached Iwafune, where they promised to meet.

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Episode 2: Cosmonaut

Takaki is now in the third year of senior high in Tanegashima, where the Tanegashima Space Center is located. Kanae Sumita, a classmate of Takaki, has feelings for Takaki, but she does not have the courage to express her love to him. She later observes that Takaki is always staring off into the distance, as if searching for something far far away. Even though she loves Takaki she understands that he is searching for things far greater than what she can offer.

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Episode 3: Byōsoku 5 Centimeter

It is now 2008, and all three characters have gone their separate ways. Takaki is now a computer programmer in Tokyo, and Akari is preparing to get married. One day, Takaki goes out and sees the face of a familiar-looking woman at a railroad-crossing. He tries to look back, but a passing train obstructs his view.

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The movie is very subtle in it’s presentation, but it is very rich in emotion and depth. I could very much feel an actual love between the characters in the story. That isn’t something that can often be said of an animated film. It was easy to relate the characters’ actions and emotions–Takaki, in the second chapter had a girl that loved him right by his side the whole time, but he couldn’t acknowledge her because he just couldn’t let go of the past. The movie quite much had a theme to it that dwelling on the past will only be damaging in the future.

From the art to the story right down to the characters this is a truly breathtaking film that anyone, regardless of interest in anime, could walk away with a part of themselves forever changed. This movie is pretty much required viewing for anyone with any interest at all in Japan and it’s unique culture.


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  • http://ariaanime.ikimashou.net Akiraman

    I have watched the first episode and am deeply impressed looking for time to see the other 2 episodes.

  • http://www.nerdculture.org Stephen Belanger

    I very much enjoyed the second episode, it had very intricate characters and there was some amazing animation like the surfing scene.

    Though all the chapters are certainly incredible, that particular one just stuck with me.

  • akai

    I am in Australia and I am desperate to know when the DVD of Byousoku 5CM will be released. If you have any info, please contact me by my email.

    ry.oma.echizen@hotmail.com

    Thanks.

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