5cm (5 centimeters per second)

Although this could go in the anime thread, it deserves its own. It’s a short series by Makoto Shinkai, about various stories that all have to do with moving at 5cm per second. And all I have to say is that this is literally art in motion… the angles he uses, the insanely good visuals, the way he tells the story, it is no less than absolute, pure art. If I hadn’t had a girl over while watching the first story, I probably would have cried at the end – but it’s always alright for a man to cry alone, just as long as the womenfolk never know.

Anyway, I got a chance to see Story 1, which is called Sakura Blossoms – named after Akari’s discovery that sakura blossoms fall at a speed of 5cm per second. I got the 720p raw from a friend of mine in Japan, and it’s looking like the last month or so of Japanese lessons have paid off, because I was able to understand nearly every word of the spoken dialog. It’s too bad I don’t have a grasp of the written language yet, because one of the characters often looks at what appears to be some kind of schedule, but I wasn’t able to decipher it right away – although it was pretty easy to figure out after the first couple glances.

Anyway, I highly encourage any fan of art to watch this series, and await the next “Stories” as they’re aired. I don’t know if a sub is out yet, because I got this directly from a friend of mine, but if one is, please watch it. You will not regret it.

Just finished watching the full three story series of 5cm. I was floored by Shinkai’s earlier film Place Promised in Our Early Days. I really like how Shinkai uses high contrast to amplify emotions, and he also does a great job of getting inside his teenage characters’ heads.

As for 5cm, I really liked the first two stories. In the first, Toto’s constant checking of maps and his watch showed how disorienting and stressful traveling to see an old friend can be. In the second, I liked how he captured the essential relationship from an outsider’s perspective. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the last act, since in the age of cell phones and the internet any couple that wants to can be together. Tono changed from a tortured soul who couldn’t reunite with his lover into a masochistic fool who refused to.

I almost feel like Shinkai is an anime version of Terrence Malick, where the film’s beautiful composition overwhelms any plot details. Feeling the tone of the film may be far more important than what happens.