Breathtaking Visual Poetry-5 Centimeters per Second

5-centimeters-per-second

I had a hard time figuring out, how to start this Article. Sitting Motionless, staring into the countless pixels of my laptop’s screen, and thinking about the masterpiece I witnessed a few minutes ago. It makes you wonder, What life is? Is it really so utterly heart breaking lik 5 Centimeters per second is .

The Answer to this question is, yes It is.

To Start the article, just close your eyes for a few minutes, stop thinking about anything, clear your mind of any thoughts. Think of the one you love. And if you proclaim that you do not love anyone, stop lying, because Love is the only Human emotion, which everyone can feel. So Go on and close your eyes.

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Now Read this …

“And right then it felt like I finally understood where everything was, eternity, the heart , the soul. It was like I was sharing every experience I’d ever had in my past 13 years. And then, the next moment, I became unbearably sad. I didn’t know what to do with these feeling. Her warmth, her soul. How was I supposed to treat them? That, I did not know. Then right then, I clearly understood that we would never be together. Our lives not yet fully realized, the vast expanse of time. They lay before us and there was nothing we could do. But then, all my worries, all my doubt, started melting away. All that was left were Akari’s soft lips on mine.”

This single quote describes what you witness in Makoto Shinkai’s 5 Centimeters per Second, the hour long animation feature is so heartbreaking, that many people have thrashed the movie for years for its ending. But For me, the movie is one of the best portrayal of real love on the silver screen.

Not to forget the visual beauty the movie is, it has been widely regarded as 5 wallpapers per second jokingly, need I say more.

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You might not have heard about Makoto Shinkai, if you haven’t then go and read about him. He is often regarded as next Miyazaki and it is rightly regarded so.

Makoto Shinkai’s 5 Centimeters per Second is about young innocent love, two pure souls coming together on the same plane and the most important theme the movie deal is with distance, that how two souls drift apart and the distance between them increases. How increasing distance causes two people in love to get to move on.

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The Plot has simplicity dripping through it. The simplicity of the plot makes us compare with the movie. And since the plot is so simple the movie needs something else to ride on so that it can grip the viewer from the first scene to the last after an hour. And that role is portrayed by the visual beauty of each and every Frame of the movie. Every second of the movie is an art piece in itself.

- 5 CM Per Sec (2007) 秒速5センチメートル

The Special thing about Shinkai’s work which is strikingly visible in 5 Centimeters per second is the detailing of every frame. He details every thing, even the seemingly unimportant things in the frame. The lighting, the reflection of water or metal surfaces, the seemingly unreadable writing on the boards and stickers pasted faraway in the view. The Lens Flare from the lighting is used throughout the movie beautifully. And the falling snow is drawn perfectly. The Folds in the papers, the things lying across the tabletop, the haphazard things lying around the room. The Detailing in every scene makes you wonder and grips the viewer’s eyes to the screen the whole time.  The portrayal of love in the movie is the brutally honest truth of life which we need to accept.

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Then there is the emotion lying behind the movie, the power of raw emotions is there to behold in Shinkai’s work. He is not afraid of crafting raw emotions in his story and that is observable in 5 Centimeters per Second.

The Soundtrack of the movie From Tenmon is heart warming with marvellous Piano pieces.

The Movie in my opinion deserves 8.5/10

If you like what you just read, just go and buy and watch the master piece. You won’t be disappointed, i will take guarantee. And for those who have already witnessed the great piece of art, for further much deeper analysis on the metaphors and plot details and imagery,  read further.

Spoilers Below

Makoto Shinkai’s 5 Centimeters Per Second is divided in three episodes or as the DVD cover of the movie suggests “A Chain of short stories about their distance”

Episode 1

The First Episode named ‘The Chosen Cherry Blossom Falls’ This episode introduces us to our main characters and our protagonists well.

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The story is about Takaki Tohno and Akari Shinohara and how they drifted apart after they passed their elementary school. Akari moved to Tochigi Prefecture due to her parents’ jobs, while Takaki attended a junior high in Tokyo. And when Takaki comes to know that he is moving further away, he decides to go and visit her to her town by riding the train. 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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Imagery

The sequence in the train waiting for hours to reach Iwafune is brilliantly portrayed, as Takaki tries to reach Akari, we are shown in a sequence a bird flying across the sky. The Bird is also trying to reach and touch the sky seemingly impossible task. This small comparison shows and proves us far earlier that it is not going to work for them but just like the bird he keeps trying.

The episode is mostly narrated by Akari’s letters, reading them we are also shown Takaki trying to write his feelings in the letter but failing to do so. he writes a letter at last and decides to give it to her in Iwafune, but fails to do so because the letter flies away because of storm winds. In another sequence when it is already quite late and he is sitting in the train, he wishes Akari to leave him behind. Finally he meets her and the unshed tears are strewn loose. The Emotions are heartbreaking and as they kiss beneath the cherry blossom tree, Takaki narrates that he knows this is not going to work and speak what i quoted above. As he leaves in the train we are again shown a metaphor as two birds fly away, seemingly together but yet again a little far away from each other.(Pictures Above)

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Episode 2 and Further Imagery

As the next chapter starts we are again shown two birds as they descend and are then shown Takaki as he looks far and sitting beside him is a girl who looks just like Akari, but her face is shadowed. The scene implies that the distance between them has been further increased but he still remembers her.

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The Second Episode aptly named ‘Cosmonaut’ have a shift of narration as the narration and main character shifts to another character. Kanae Sumida, a classmate of Takaki, (in Tanegashima, where the Tanegashima Space Center is located) has special feelings for Takaki, but she does not have the courage to express her love to him. She rides with him home daily in their scooters. She is unsure of her carrier as we are shown her having troubles in determining what to do. She is a surfer and was good at some time but for some reason, can not surf now. She keeps on trying but can not to the two things she regards most important in her life. We get to know that the reason is that she worries too much and in a sequence she finds Takaki sitting and staring in darkness and to the stars.  And as she finds out that even takaki is unsure of his future. She stops worrying and is successful in riding the wave after six months.

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Throughout the episode we are shown various posters and in one scene are shown a huge train carrying a NASDA (a space organisation in movie) shuttle. Takaki and Kanae are amazed by the huge size of the shuttle and we are told about the trip the shuttle is going for a trip far outside the Solar System and Takaki contemplates

“It must really be a lonelier journey than anyone could imagine. Cutting through absolute darkness, encountering nothing but the occasional hydrogen atom. Flying blindly into the abyss, believing therein lie the answers to the mysteries of the universe.”

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Shinkai again uses metaphor and imagery, as Takaki is still looking for Akari and is searching for the answer to his mysteries. Takaki and Kanae both are in a way “Cosmonauts” they are looking for answers and they are on a journey for a destination far away and their journey seemingly impossible. As Kanae stops worrying and be scared, she literally ‘launches’ and tries to tell Takaki her feeling but is interrupted by the launch of space craft. As Takaki and kanae looks at the breathtaking sequence of launch, Kanae realizes and in the end decides not to say anything, she remarks

 “I see why now Tohno-kun is different from the others. Like the rocket shooting off into space, on the loneliest journey to the far end of the solar system. Because he’s always looking at something beyond me. He can never see me. I cried myself to sleep, thinking of him.”

Edit: Another scene involving imagery that i want to speak about is the one involving paper plane of future plan survey which Kanae forms after she finds out that Even Takaki is confused about his future, she gets her form out and stops worrying about her future, she decides to take everything one by one and thus flies the paper plane of their dreams and it keeps on going up and up.

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Episode 3 and Moving On

As Episode three starts again aptly named ‘5 centimeter per second’, we are shown that Takaki has moved on , we are shown a cleaner Takaki, working on a computer and as he looks at cherry blossom leaves flying inside the window falling at 5 Centimeters per Second. We are shown Akari with a ring on her finger showing she is engaged and about to get married, while Akari has moved on, Takaki is unable to move on as he dives deep in depression he leaves his job and enters a department store, there with the song blaring in the background he looks at a space magazine and he reads that the Space mission was successful and while he was not. As Akari and Takaki narrates the vision they had last night the end song starts in which we are shown glimpses from their past and as the song ends. Takaki looks at a women similar to Akari, they are both travelling in the opposite direction and as he looks back, he is sure that she will also look back, but a train come between them and as the train passes there is no one there. Smiling Takaki turns back and moves on.

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Because in the end that is what life is about, its about looking forward and moving on while still remembering the good bits from the past.

EDIT: 12th January,2016 – I just found an interesting thing from a fellow WordPress blogger cahlasem, after researching a bit, i found out that this post is dated back to 2007 on 4chan/a/ , so the calculation may not be correct today as the numbers have changed and also it involves only walking so anyway this is the post

“I always thought the 5 cm/s is a reference to the speed at which cherry blossoms fall to earth.

Today I was curious what the average speed of a human at it’s life is. Didn’t even think of the anime at this time.

Found out the average distance a human travels in a life is 120.000 km. While the average time to travel this distance is 76 years (average age – baby time – unable to move time)

Guess what

12.000.000.000 cm / (76*365,25*24*60*60)s = 5.0033 cm/s

Now his whole “at what speed must I live to be able to see her again?” stuff starts to make sense”

That is interesting, isn’t it.

“The movie is named 5 Centimeters Per Second for the speed at which cherry blossom 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.”

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5 thoughts on “Breathtaking Visual Poetry-5 Centimeters per Second

    1. Thanks for reading my post, it feels good to know that such good bloggers are reading my posts. If you watch the movie, do tell me about your opinions. 🙂

    1. Thanks Vin, I appreciate you checking it out. This movie will always stay close to my heart. And it moves me to know that People throughout the world are reading my post and finding it out. I have watched this movie tens of times and it always leaves me breathless.

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