As it is most reasonable, anime films have less content compared to the series, because of their limited size. But when the pace of the story is carefully crafted, then even an hour-length movie can have more meaningful content than one would initially expect.
I’m Satoshi Furude from Anime Monogatari and this month’s review is a little more special and unique than my previous ones. This review is about the beautiful story of the anime movie “5 Centimeters per Second”.
As I just mentioned, anime series have longer duration than movies. Depending on the number of episodes, a series with 12 episodes lasts about 4 to 4.5 hours and a series with 24 episodes lasts about 8 to 9 hours. The movies usually last about 1.5 to 2 hours, and they are usually more expensive. We often take for granted that their animation and music quality are more excellent than regular episodic series. But how much can one enjoy a story in just an hour and a half? How fast can one “get into” the plot and how fast can one bond with the characters?
This movie is just an hour long (!) and it is divided in 3 parts. At the beginning, I thought that those 3 parts were 3 separate stories, but I quickly realized that those 3 parts are parts of one whole story, where each part covers a specific time period of the main character’s life.
The pace and the way this story develops fill this movie with content and within an hour the viewer smoothly learns about all the events happening and all the backstories and character development that are needed.
The story is about Takaki Tōno and Akari Shinohara, two Junior High students who quickly become friends because of all the common things they have. But one day, Akari moves into another town with her parents and so the two friends lose contact from each other. They only talk through letters that they send frequently to each other. As time goes by and because of the distance between them and the letters they write to each other, some feelings develop between the two. This is a beautiful, emotional, slice-of-life love story which shows that things in life always change without human control, whether you’re a child or an adult.
Regarding the movie’s soundtrack, I don’t have much to mention as they are very few and the tracks don’t stand out very much.
The movie shines with its voice characters. The (few) actors did a very good job, but the thing that stands out most of all was the narration. All 3 parts had a different–almost–narrator who was heard clearly, and besides the beautiful narration using poetic phrases and images, the viewer is placed inside the story’s emotions.
The animation is not exceptional, but it is quite good. I have seen better character design in other movies, but that doesn’t mean that the character design in this one is bad. What attracted my attention was the background design. Besides the fact that the setting was very detailed, the design they used in many scenery scenes was uniquely impressive. In particular, there is a scene where the main characters are sitting on the top of a hill, and while the night sky over their heads is heavily clouded, there is an opening in the clouds where you can see clearly many stars, while at the same time, far away where the black clouds are, lightning is falling quietly. That scenery is amazingly magic and it immediately became a desktop image on my computer.
I know that compared to all those positives I have already mentioned, my enjoyment rating is quite low. That probably has to do that I don’t like emotional stories that much. I love sad stories, but mostly when they are about sad feelings and not so much about love feelings.
A flaw I had to deal with in this movie is that I had to do a further research so I can totally understand some details in the story. The last part closes smoothly and beautifully, but I personally expected more from the ending.
Nevertheless, this movie is a diamond where all anime fans must watch. All of us have lived to some degree the situations the main characters went through, so everybody can share their feelings and will bind with them at least to some extent. Even if you don’t like emotional stories, you will enjoy the beauty of this story. And, why not watch it? You have nothing to lose. It is only an hour long….
Have you watched “5 Centimeters per Second” yet? What are your favorite anime movies?
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