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second arc

5 Centimeters Per Second

, subtitled "a chain of short stories about their distance." is a 2007 Japanese animated feature film by Makoto Shinkai. The film was finished on January 22, 2007. The first part of the film was debuted on Yahoo! Japan as streaming video to Yahoo! Premium members from 16 February to 19 February 2007. On March 3 2007, the full length featured film had its theatrical premiere at Cinema Rise in Shibuya, Tokyo. The film consists of three segments: Ōkashō (桜花抄), Cosmonaut (コスモナウト), and Byōsoku 5 Senchimētoru (秒速5センチメートル), totaling about an hour of runtime. As in Shinkai's previous works, Tenmon composes for this film's soundtrack. The DVD was released on 19 July, 2007.

Makoto Shinkai had expressed that, unlike his past works, there would be no fantasy or science fiction elements in this film. Instead, the feature film would attempt to present the real world from a different perspective. Makoto's film gives a realistic view of the struggles many face against: time, space, people, and love. The title 5 Centimeters Per Second comes from the speed at which cherry blossoms petals fall, petals being a metaphorical representation of humans, reminiscent of the slowness of life and how people often start together but slowly drift into their separate ways.

Characters

Voiced by: Kenji Mizuhashi (Japanese), David Matranga (English)

Takaki is the central character of the film. Because of his parents' jobs, he is forced to move a lot. He and Akari become close friends, but begin to drift apart when Akari moves away and they end up attending different junior high schools. In the second arc, he is shown to be an apt kyūdō practitioner and a member of his school's kyudo club.

Voiced by: Yoshimi Kondō (Part 1) and Ayaka Onoue (Part 3), (Japanese), Hilary Haag (English)

Takaki's best friend in elementary school. Like Takaki, she and her family moves a lot. After elementary school, she moves to Iwafune. Apparently she suggests taking a train to Tokyo to see Takaki, but her parents disallow her from going on her own. For a while, she and Takaki keep in touch via post.

A classmate of Takaki in high school. She has been in love with Takaki since he began attending her junior high school, but cannot express her feelings to him. Kanae loves to surf and rides a moped to school. She doesn't know what she wants to do with her future. Her older sister is a teacher at her high school.

Plot

The plot is set in Japan beginning from the 1990s and ending in modern day, with each segment centered on a boy named Takaki Tōno. It is important to remember that the first episode takes place during a time period when cell phones are uncommon and e-mail doesn't exist.

Episode 1: Ōkashō

Ōkashō (Cherry Blossom Extract): Takaki Tōno immediately befriends Akari Shinohara when she transfers to his elementary school. They grow closer to each other due to circumstances; for instance, they both prefer to stay inside during recess due to their seasonal allergies. Because of their similar interests and attitudes, over time they fall in love with each other, although due to their age it's debatable whether they themselves realize it. What is clear is that they form a unique and uncommonly strong bond. They even speak to each other using their given names without any form of honorifics, which is something very unusual in Japan even among people who are romantically involved. (This fact is unfortunately lost in the movie's translation to English and other languages, which significantly reduces the implied closeness between the two.)

Upon graduating from elementary school, Akari moves to Tochigi and Takaki moves to Tokyo due to their parents' respective jobs. The two keep in contact by writing letters, but despite the special feelings that exist between them, they inevitably begin to drift apart. When Takaki becomes aware that his family will be moving to Kagoshima, he decides to go see Akari since they will be too far apart to visit each other at all after he moves. However, when the day arrives, a severe snowstorm continually delays Takaki's trip, and it will be hours before he reaches the station where Akari is waiting for him. The two finally meet late that night and, as they share their first kiss, Takaki realizes that the two will never be together again. Stranded in a shed due to the snowstorm, the two fall asleep talking to each other late into the night. Takaki departs the next morning, and although they promise to continue writing each other, both silently acknowledge that their relationship with the other has effectively been ended.

Episode 2: Cosmonaut

Takaki is now in the third year of senior high in Tanegashima, where the Tanegashima Space Center is located. Kanae Sumida, a classmate of Takaki, has a strong crush on Takaki, but she does not have the courage to express her feelings to him. She spends all the time she can with him, even waiting long periods of time after school so they can walk home together. Any reasonable person would notice how obvious her feelings are for him, but Takaki seems blind to them, regarding Kanae as simply a good friend. Over time she observes that Takaki is always staring off into the distance, as if searching for something far, far away. Despite her feelings for Takaki, Kanae believes that he is searching for things far greater than anything she can offer. As in the first story, this segment concludes with Takaki again leaving his home behind because of his parents' jobs, apparently numb to any regrets for leaving Kanae or anyone or anything else behind.

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. Kanae has presumably also moved on with her life. Takaki still seems to be longing for Akari to the detriment of his lifestyle and his other relationships, including a girlfriend he has been with for three years. Akari, while going through some old things, finds a letter she wrote to Takaki but never sent. She feels nostalgic for those days but has moved on with her life. On the verge of a breakdown, Takaki quits his job and tries to finally begin to take control over his life for the first time.

One day while walking down a road, Takaki comes to a railroad crossing. He passes a woman on the railroad crossing, and he stops on the other side of the tracks when he realizes what a strong resemblance she bore to Akari. He turns around to see that the person on the other side has also stopped and then also begins to turn around, but both are cut off from getting a good view of the other by two trains which cross on the tracks. Takaki waits for the trains to pass, expecting the woman he had seen to be waiting on the other side of the railroad crossing. After both trains have passed, he is disappointed to see that the woman is nowhere to be found. With a slight smile, he turns around and continues on his way.

He realizes that it doesn't really matter if he could meet Akari again now. What he has been longing for is not Akari, but what Akari represented to him: pure, uncomplicated love and the freedom to pursue it. He wants the days back when he was in control of his life, before distance, disappointment, and the realities of adult life had stifled him.

This last scene seems to be symbolic of the entire movie: Takaki and Akari share a brief moment in time together, but before they can act they're separated by things neither of them has any control over. Both Takaki and Akari wait for each other, but by the time they can finally meet again, Akari has allowed herself to move on. Takaki waits longer, but in vain, and finally realizes that he must find happiness somewhere else. Akari didn't love Takaki any less than he loved her, but her circumstances simply allowed her to take control of her life and move on sooner than Takaki was able to.

Staff

DVD release

The DVD was released on the 19 July 2007 in Japan, according to Makoto Shinkai's official website.

The title was licensed by ADV Films and reported for a December 2007 release. However, Amazon.com's original English release date was the 4 March 2008 but then was later moved back to the 25 March 2008. The official Russian release was already in stock in January 2008. On July 11, 2008 ADV Announced that it was discontinuing print of the DVD. There is no word if it will be handed off to another publisher.

ADV has also more recently confirmed that they will also be launching 5 Centimeters Per Second on DVD in the UK.. ADV Anime UK are awaiting authorization to distribute it in the UK following the liquidation of its London Office. There is still much to be confirmed about the release of the movie in the United Kingdom.

Regular Release

  • 5 Centimeters Per Second (63 Minutes)
  • Interview with Makoto Shinkai
  • Theatrical Trailer

Collector's Edition

  • Film strip of selected frame from part of the movie

Disc 1 (DVD)

  • 5 Centimeters Per Second (63 Minutes)
  • Interview with Makoto Shinkai
  • Theatrical Trailer

Disc 2 (DVD)

  • 5 Centimeters Per Second (Animated Storyboard, 63 Minutes)
  • "Oukashou" Yahoo! Japan (Streaming Version, 29 Minutes)
  • Interviews with Japanese Cast (20 Minutes)
  • "One More Time, One More Chance" (Music Video Byousoku 5 cm Special Edition, 6 Minutes)
  • Making Of (Still Gallery, 3 Minutes)

Disc 3 (Audio CD)

  • Original Soundtrack (28 Minutes)
  • Ōkashō (桜花抄) [4:51]
  • Omoide ha Tooku no Hibi (想い出は遠くの日々) [1:14]
  • Shousou (焦燥) [1:09]
  • Yuki no Eki (雪の駅) [2:19]
  • Kiss (Kiss) [3:13]
  • Kanae no Kimochi (力ナエの気持ち) [1:47]
  • Yume (夢) [1:40]
  • Sora to Umi no Shi (空と海の詩) [2:00]
  • Todokanai Kimochi (届かない気持ち) [1:41]
  • End Theme [2:52]
  • One more time, One more chance PIANO ver. (Bonus Track) [5:00]

Reception

It has been reported that there was a huge line up in front of the theater 2 hours before the ticket selling started. The stage greeting which featured Makoto Shinkai was sold out. It also won the Lancia Platinum Grand Prize, the Future Film Festival for best movie in animation or special effects. It won the Award for Best Animated Feature Film at the 2007 Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Theme song

The song was also the theme song of the 1996 Japanese movie Moon and Cabbage. The reason Makoto Shinkai chose such a famous song was that he wants to evoke images of everyday happenings, and choosing a song that "everyone knows about" would add realism to the movie.

References to other Shinkai works

In a brief scene in Episode 1, "Ōkashō", Akari and Takaki encounter a cat named Chobi and talk about another cat named Mimi. This is a reference to characters which appear in one of Makoto Shinkai's earlier works, She and Her Cat.

In the second arc, viewers can see a tall, thin tower that is similar to The Place Promised in Our Early Days. Also, the first and third arc contain a railroad crossing similar to Voices of a Distant Star. Both movies were written and directed by Makoto Shinkai.

Notes

External links

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