5 Centimeters Per Second

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5 Centimeters Per Second

Postby tychocat2003 » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:06 pm

"5 Centimeters Per Second" was the third feature of anime wunderkind Makoto Shinkai. Shinkai, for those of you who may not remember, got a lot of buzz for his first feature, "Voices of a Distant Star", which he pretty much created on his own, on his home computer.

"5 cm." is everything a fan of Shinkai would want - dreamy atmospheric setting, a quiet lullaby of a soundtrack, every scene could be a still-life painting, with wistful characters pining for love. For everyone else... um.

The 65-minute feature is three short stories, loosely following an elementary-school couple as they go separate ways and move into adulthood. In the first story, the couple is separated by family moves, and the boy makes a Grand Gesture to make a snow-delayed trip to visit the girl. The second story is told from the point-of-view of a female classmate of the boy in his new school - she's smitten by him, but she's put off by the fact he always seems to be writing someone email. The last story has an ending deemed "controversial" by ANN's reviewer, but that puts too much energy into it. I'll say it's vague and ends abruptly.

The problem is Shinkai hasn't learned anything from his previous "The Place Promised in our Early Days". Where most directors look to tell a story, Shinkai works to establish a mood and tone. Since his mood and tone are dreamy and atmospheric, his characters aren't allowed to do anything energetic or surprising. This borders perilously close to being "boring" and "dull".

Okay, so I shouldn't expect everything I watch to be like, Godannar. The point being, if you're already a fan of Shinkai's and know what his stuff is about, 5 cm. is more of the same and you'll love it. But, for everyone else, particularly since ADV cut the feature out of their production, and the used-prices are obnoxiously high, I can't recommend it.
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Postby Aldric » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:07 pm

I'll just say that I loved it, but I'm a Shinkai fan. However I would recommend that everyone does watch it, or at least the first part. It's a great example of high quality art in a recent anime.

I also agree that it's not dynamic at all but that's just accentuating the points Shinkai is trying to get across. Shinkai's shtick really isn't "dull" though. Place Promised in our Early days had some very dynamic scenes.

I thought I wrote a review about this, I even found a post from Scott referencing my post reviewing it, but for the life of me I can't find it now. I'll do more searching after work.
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Postby Tsunami3k » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:05 pm

Aldric wrote:I thought I wrote a review about this, I even found a post from Scott referencing my post reviewing it, but for the life of me I can't find it now. I'll do more searching after work.


You did comment on it a few times in this thread:

http://board.animesocietykansascity.org/viewtopic.php?t=1896&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=5cm&start=0

For what it's worth, I really enjoyed it too. Given Shinkai's obvious talent, I too find myself wishing that he'd be more adventurous and experiment with a wider palette of story types but I also find that I'm amazed at his level of refinement after each new film in his mastery in telling the type of story he so clearly enjoys. 5cm Per Second is easily his finest work yet but I'd never claim that it could ever completely win over the hearts of those who prefer some action.
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Postby tychocat2003 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:47 pm

Tsunami3k wrote:For what it's worth, I really enjoyed it too. Given Shinkai's obvious talent, I too find myself wishing that he'd be more adventurous and experiment with a wider palette of story types but I also find that I'm amazed at his level of refinement after each new film in his mastery in telling the type of story he so clearly enjoys. 5cm Per Second is easily his finest work yet but I'd never claim that it could ever completely win over the hearts of those who prefer some action.


It's not just that he doesn't appeal to action fans, it's that his stories don't vary from a basic emotional monotone. I commented on this for Shinkai's "The Place Promised in our Early Days" - the time/space continuum reportedly ruptures, but all the viewer gets is some breathless voice-over and a picture of some twitching dials. In the first story for "5 CM", the male character suffers through a harrowing train ride to see the girl of his dreams, but the only result is they don't speak for the rest of the movie. Shinkai constantly leads the viewer towards a climactic ending, only to back away at the last minute, leaving us holding a bag full of nice graphics and vague warm feeling since nothing bad happened. This is particularly symptomatic in the third story of the trilogy, which simply ends.

And mind you, my review isn't aimed at Shinkai fans (though I am one), but to general viewers who may not understand that Shinkai isn't telling a story, so much as creating an atmosphere. If you understand what he's about, I think you can make a much better decision as to liking the feature or not, or whether to buy it or not.
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Postby Borgon » Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:01 pm

I enjoyed 5CM per seconds alot actually and didnt' feel the story was "incomplete". Granted it didn't have an ending, but then again neither does life, until one dies anyways. I actually found it to be a very realistic telling of a story of childhood love lost in the race to grow up and the seperation of characters. Then again I like woody allen films so that may explain alot. Of course it also reminds me of the story of my love from youth and how we grew in seperate directions.
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Postby ZeroRyoko1974 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:41 am

Just finished watching this on crunchyroll. It was a good show. It did seem though like there was a lot of buildup in the first two episodes and the third just kind of fell flat. Overall I liked it though.
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Postby ZeroRyoko1974 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:33 am

For anyone who hasn't seen it, it is free this weekend on CR http://www.crunchyroll.com/5-centimeter ... d/episodes
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