5 Centimeters Per Second is a 2007 anime film Written, Produced, and Directed by Makoto Shinkai. Shinkai established himself rather well, 3 years prior to '07 with his film The Place Promised in Our Early Days and then, 2 years before that, he burst onto the scene with Voices of a Distant Star. That having been said, Makoto Shinkai already had many years of due diligence in the animated world which he brought to this masterpiece 5 Centimeters Per Second.
What makes 5 Centimeters so uniques right out of the gate, is its episodic format. It consists of three stories about the same characters at different times in their life. For the sake of genuinity, I am not going to hit up wikipedia or anything for titles and details. Also, my goal here is not to rehash the whole film, but to give my thoughts and critical take on the execution.
Shinkai delves into some very real, and very deep themes with this film. The first story is about a boy and girl who meet in school and become very close. The girl moves away, but they keep in touch through letters. This is a very important time in our lives. When the decision to act or not act can follow us for the rest of our lives.
The second story in the film touches on a situation that many of us have been through. The boy from the first story is pursued by another girl, but he has his sights set on the one who moved away. Over the last 10 years, I have watched an uncountable amount of "slice of life" anime and I always pay attention to the accuracy and consistency with human emotions. Shinkai goes above and beyond, making you truly feel and think as though you are going through the motions of what you are seeing on screen.
The third and final story is the shortest of the three and is simply a glimpse into the future of the three characters from the film. I am green with envy towards anyone who was fortunate enough to see this film in a theater because the way Shinkai ends this opus is basically by causing the audience to completely rethink their lives. To be sitting in a dark theater auditorium with the credits running...it's as if the film puts you into a state of reflection that is so necessary in our world today.
Subtle, genuine, and moving. "5 Centimeters Per Second" goes on my shelf as a piece of priceless art. Lest I forget: the cherry blossom tree scene in the first story is worth the price of the movie.