|the depth, joy and pain of love beautifully captured||6 out of 7 users found this review helpful.|
How does one write about a feeling so undefinable as love?
Over the generations, across the artistic mediums many have talked and even sung about it. Some with more mixed results then others. Some even stripping away what is most important and watering it down. Changing the meaning of the word and by definition its feeling. How many tacky pop songs have we endured over the years that talk about an almost impossible subject to really cover?
Anime writers and directors are also well known for attempting romantic relationships and although some have been very touching or enjoyable none have ever really captured the whole depth of the subject.
5 centimetres per second is about love, a set of 3 short stories or “acts” that look at it from different points in one boys lifetime. It’s unlike many anime in such a way as it sets itself very firmly and completely in the real world. The director and his team famously travelled around Japan for 3 weeks visiting small towns and capturing 4000+ photos for reference, many of the places they visited becoming almost exactly recreated for the films locations themselves.
The background and location art is one of the two areas where the anime shines most. Every shot featuring stunning representations of its vistas all delicately produces and cared over. The right choice of colour and light effects in every moment help to accentuate the emotional impact of events taking place. The team going out of their way to capture reality and mundaneness of life. Misplaced drink cans, long left books and quietly churning washing machines all add to the truth of the world in which the stories take place.
The storytelling is the real highlight of the show here. In the 3 shorts the team has managed to capture a truth about how love feels that next to no one has captured before. The feelings each of the characters feels are totally understandable and tangible. The anime centres on a young boy called Takaki, during act one you see his first experiences of love. The letters a school friend by the name of Akari sends to him over the space of 6 months and the train journey he himself takes to visit her exactly a year after the last time they met and she moved away. Through the letters we see their entire relationship, she says to him over the space of a year is right there and we take it all in along with Takaki. His train journey to see her and the long painful delays he goes through are something we feel like we are experiencing too. Moments being dragged out adding to the urgent need to see him arrive at his destination. His inner monologue feeling very true to those of us who have also taken train journeys to see people we were desperate to be with.
This first short being very quiet and emotive, its final moments revealing something ultimately honest about love, sometimes it doesn't work out and that can lead to the pain of separation.
The second act 'cosmonaut' centres on a young girl called Kanae and
her love for Takaki. The short is the animes most visually expressive,
wide fields and blue oceans are created almost with a seance of
tangible beauty. Kanae’s story is also highly emotional, with her
hiding her true feelings for Takaki, struggling to deal with how much
not telling him how she feels while attempting to be close. Its a story
about the unrequited , unreturned love, Kanae never noticed by Takaki
because all he can think about is a girl he left in a town far away.
Act 3 '5 centimetres per second' finds Takaki in his mid to late 20′s. It’s a starkly real look at how young love often pans out with an almost heartbreaking ending. Takaki having been through a long relationship witch has left him alone and even bitter. There is a sad bleak truth to this that many would not tend to tread. A young man becoming quietly embittered and seeing no point in life. This is a damage caused by his relationship with Akari, a love that remained only in his heart. This is a truth about love and relationships that is rarely seen, someone loving someone for their whole life and it preventing them ever really finding someone else to fall for. The whole movie is an experiance that leave you with a very emotive reaction.
The work on show here is something that makes me want to see what Makoto Shinkai does next as this is work that although still developing is just astounding for someone so young and new to the directing chair. This is a turning point in anime and i hope to see more like this in the future.
But in the mean time, back to my ninja based comics.