5 Centimeters per Second

Alt title: Byousoku 5 Centimeter



vivafruit's avatar
Sep 8, 2007


With 5 Centimeters per Second, Shinkai Makoto has polished the elements that made his previous anime so heartbreakingly poignant and produced a wonderful work. If the film did not have a disappointing third arc, this would be his best work thus far and probably the best of the year.

5 cm’s story will feel warmly familiar to those who have already had the pleasure of watching the director’s work. Makoto is still very much obsessed with capturing the sheer, unrivaled beauty of an impossible love. No matter how cruelly fate intervenes, his protagonists cling desperately and determinedly to their love, as if it were a lone piece of driftwood amidst an angry and roiling ocean. These themes are no less powerful here than they were when Makoto first explored them, and should strike a chord in all but the most hyperactive viewers.

While 5 cm foregoes the science-fiction elements that Makoto is usually known for, the down-to-earth, slice-of-life story is never boring. If Makoto’s first two major stories had anything wrong with them at all, it was that Voices of a Distant Star was too simplistic and The Place Promised in Our Early Days had too much excess baggage. In 5 cm, however, Makoto finds the perfect mix; the film manages to be wonderfully rich without having a trace of unnecessary plotting. For the first two parts of the film, 5 cm meets and even exceeds Makoto’s former material.

Only the third and decidedly imperfect act prevents me from scoring 5 cm as highly as Makoto’s first two works. Sadly, I can’t help but believe that Makoto ran out of either time or funding, because the final arc is rushed and sloppy. For one, the episode makes a key mistake of introducing a new character and then doing almost nothing with her. Even more disastrously, the haphazard pacing actually serves to undermine the message that I think Makoto is going for. As a result, the final product feels positively amputated.

As a whole, however, 5 cm is still a heartrendingly powerful work. As Makoto continues to release these somber masterpieces, the fact that they must be partially autobiographical becomes increasingly clear. Makoto’s raw and heartbreaking material feels so personal and intimate that he could only be drawing from his own bittersweet memory.


When I reviewed The Place Promised in Our Early Days several years ago, I said that the movie had the best animation that I had ever seen up to that point, and that the visuals would not likely be surpassed for some time. Well, I seem to have been mistaken; Makoto’s new visual masterpiece surpasses even his own monumental work.

Many will recognize the numerous similarities in style between 5 cm and Makoto's other works. In particular, 5 cm’s power lines, gorgeous portraits of cloudy skies, and ubiquitous use of lighting to set the mood will feel extremely familiar. However, while the two film’s visuals are similar, everything that made The Place Promised in Our Early Days so impressive has been improved to the point of near perfection. There is an added level of detail here in 5 cm that will raise the bar on every anime released after it.

I've been been suspecting this for some time, but 5 cm utterly proves that Makoto is the best in the world at animating light. No one else even comes close.

This uncanny ability allows Makoto to draw beauty from even the most mundane scenes. Most anime directors need to use fantastic, action-filled scenes to excite the audience. Makoto, on the other hand, can amaze us with nothing more than a boy sitting alone in an ordinary Japanese train. He’s just that good.


For the most part, the soundtrack is excellent. For one, the quiet, understated instrumental music fits the somber and contemplative mood of the story well. There’s also a fairly good and completely unexpected JPop song near the end. The extremely emotional tune is completely different from the rest of the soundtrack, and jerks the audience out of wistful reverie and into active grief (a similar tactic was used in Pale Cocoon). The song somewhat eases the lack of a satisfying ending, although it's still certainly no substitute.

Additionally, the film’s urban sound effects are so universally excellent that I actually noticed them as I was watching the show. The sounds of the train system that the protagonist rides in the first part are particularly immersive.


Like in Makoto’s other works, the characters are essentially blank slates. They have no defining characteristics, and have only a minimal amount of development. Thus, many might criticize 5 cm’s characters as shallow and unmemorable. However, the lack of development gives the events an undeniably universal feel. Since the characters are so undefined, empathizing with what happens to them becomes extremely easy. As a result the film feels much more personal than if the characters had been more unique.

I will complain, however, about the character introduced in the final arc. The story does almost nothing with her, and as a result she feels unnecessary and superfluous.


While not perfect, 5 cm is still a fantastic film. The animation is easily the best of the year (the only other anime that even comes close is Paprika), and the timeless themes of love and regret are achingly universal. While action junkies should probably look elsewhere, I'd recommend the film to almost everyone else.

7.5/10 story
10/10 animation
9/10 sound
7/10 characters
8/10 overall
Wirusan's avatar
Jul 3, 2014

Watched on DVD Release


Ah, 5cm Per Second, the speed at which my teardrops fall. Was it good? Is it Overated? WILL YOU FEEL? Well here's Wiru-sans take on it to answer those questions! Lets get started but first let me grab something....

Handy dandy tear sponges


 When I see something that I really want to watch I put it on my watch list and I avoid seeing any and everything about it so I go into the movie completely blind. I don't watch the trailers, AMV's, or look up plot details. I go into the movie knowing the name and general theme. With that said this anime was NOT what I expected it threw me off completely. The story revolves around Takaki Tono and his affection Akari Shinohara

The story follows  a series of three shorts taken place at different points in time. These are all in order but it was very jarring for me to see the credits roll after the first short ended I was super angry, then I shortly noticed they made them as shorts. The movie encapsulates the notion of love and how it is in the real world. It is about distance and how to deal with the varying types of distances in your life, emotional and physical. Hence the name 5 Centimeters Per Second (Which is a cool ass name) It is the speed at which cherry blossoms fall to the ground. It is also the speed it takes for this anime to stab my feels


The story provides a lot of character development  and we see Takaki grow physically and mentally. This story however isn't sunshine and rainbows it can get utterly depressing at times...Most of the time. The movie should be called "The Melancholy of Takai Tono

 terrible photoshop is terrible 

The ending for this anime is probably hit or miss for a lot of people. My first impression of the ending was a bit like this


What the feel? Is that it? 

and i'm sure a lot of other people were like that too. Without giving too much away I want to say we are so used to seeing the hollywood romance, that when we don't see it we think there's something wrong. However this is not true , endings need to match up with the shows tone and wrap up the overall theme and this one does so perfectly.

(I made a gif of what the final scene felt like to me. Spoilers ahead so if you haven't seen the movie don't click the link) 

(I also made a video on how this ending felt, spoilers ahead.)

Story: 10


 The motherfucking animation in this damn movie is fantastic. The scenery is beatuiful, character designs are beautiful. This shit almost looks real at times.

  I don't think anymore needs to be said just watch the movie it is undeniable the animation is great. Sure there are probably some times where it isn't AS good as other scenes but it is consistently great throughout the entire movie and for that it gets a 10

Animation 10


 My LORD the sound!

 Ok it's actually more like this



 Makoto Shinkai knows what he wants the music in his movies to sound like and whatever he chooses always fits perfectly. This movie could literally be just scenery and music and it'd still be enjoyable. This music evokes so much emotion out of you, I can't listen to the score without catching the feels. Tenmon composed the music and for every tear that was shed he gained 5 years on his life span so Tenmon is immortal now. The music for each part has it's own feel to it for the first short the music seems innocent and passionate.


While the music for the second part has a country feel to it, and can be exhilirating at times. It speaks so well for the setting and the characters 


The music for the third part kind of reflects on the first one, the music in the final short to me feels almost like it's completely focoused upon reflection. The ending theme fits perfectly, it's like that piece you've been dying to have in tetris 



As for the dub and the sub they are both equal in terms of quality.So you're good with either or. 


Sound 10


The cast of 5cm is a small one with 3 main characters mainly focusing on 2 of them.

The Main two are: 

Takaki Tono 


Akari Shinohara 


The story follows these two childhood friends who develop feelings for each other. Little do they know life has its own developments for the both of them and they both have to face them and deal with the results.

The third character is


Kanae Sumida  

Kane is a country girl who has trouble studying and concentrating, and like everyone her age she really doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. 

The Characters in 5cm all feel real, while there are some minor characters I didn't mention these  are the main characters and the ones you see the most development out of. Each character learns a lesson of their own about distance and their lessons are all ones we need to learn in our lives. 

Characters: 10



 5cm per second does it's job, it shows a realer side to love than most animes, or even movies do. This anime is truly outstanding and definately has earned it's spot in my dvd collection. I gladly give 5cm per second a 10/10

 Verdict: Outstanding

5cm per second gets a Must Watch rating with a high Buy It!

My first 10/10. A 10 does not indicate perfection it is a score giving to animes that are truly outstanding and are examples of what we should see more of in this industry

 As always this is ya boy Wiru-san's take, make sure you follow me on my blog Guyfawx.tumblr.com and on youtube under the channel SwordnKey. And stay away from woodchippers!

Check out the AMV I made about this movie!

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
bromble's avatar
Mar 27, 2013

I watched this film last night, and having heard so much good about it I was excited about it. I was so, incredibly disappointed. The animation quality and "cinematography" itself is simply superb, as is the piano score. However, I, and I'm sure many others, don't watch anime for good animation, but instead either for funny jokes, or in this case, an emotional plot. I wish I could say this had one.

I've seen plenty of people say 5cm/s makes them cry. I am not the faux-macho type that refuses or denies crying to anything. I cried like a baby while watching Clannad: After Story. I cry watching most comedies. I even cried watching K-On!!. But the only thing about 5 cm/s that brought me even close to crying is at the end, when I realised Ihad got myself excited about it only to find it was a waste of an hour of my life.

The first chapter's story, I'll go so far as to say it was average. A boy named Takaki becomes friends with a girl called Akari, but then she has to move away. Then we spend most of the chapter watching Takaki sitting on a train in the snow, staring at his watch, while his internal monologue is belting out pretentious lines about time and fate and stuff. While I of course found this part boring, the ending of the chapter was pretty poignant and heartwarming albeit quite sad as well, and as this was only around 20 minutes in I had been set up to expect the next two chapters to be better and assumed this film only has a slow start.

I set myself up for further disappointment. Chapters 2 and 3 just felt so pointless. The entire story seems to be one of those pretentious, arty stories that are crafted for the sole purpose of an award at one of those pretentious, arty film festivals, and not to actually enjoy. And it seems it succeeded in that respect, as it has won several awards. But it was certainly not enjoyable. I can honestly say I was counting the minutes down, waiting for it to end. I can't really explain what happens in chapters 2 and 3 like I did with number 1, not because of spoilers but because it seems like nothing definite happens at all.

This leaves me to describe the characters. The only one that is prominent in all 3 chapters is the protagonist, Takaki. And oh boy, he's not a good character in any way, shape or form. It is implied that he had trouble fitting in at school and Akari was one of his only, if not the only, friend he had, before she moved away. He comes into contact with her, meets her, then decides that he can't see her ever again, and doesn't. In chapter 2 he seems to stop contacting her. In chapter 3 he's depressed about something, presumably he misses Akari. So why on EARTH did he let himself lose touch with her? Takaki is a miserable, pathetic mess of a character, and I found it impossible to like or support him. This film has no development of any other characters either, be it him or one of the others that get a screentime of about 10 minutes each.

This film is described as a "romantic drama" and I love romantic dramas. People say on forums that this made them feel really sad, and I love watching films that can do that to me. 5 Centimeters Per Second did not deliver on either of those fronts. The film is barely about romance, nothing dramatic happens, and I was left only feeling sad that I had wasted my time.

(Note: In case you wanted to know, I watched subs)

3/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
1/10 characters
4.5/10 overall
Taekwondoin's avatar
Mar 11, 2016

So this is a pretty hyped film, and in some respects I can see why, it looks amazing, there's really no denying that with its sweeping landscapes, perfect use of tilt shift and smooth as silk animation, and on top of that it has a reputation for being pretty emotionally charged and quite melancholy.

I have another term for it. Mean spirited.

Never have I seen such a show tht just really wanted to grind me down so much and try and make me feel bad. The MC starts off as an innocent child who just wants to see the girl he's crushing on before she moves beyond his reach, but we progress from that onto his basic fixation on her to the detriment of everyone around him and even himself. The second 'arc' of the film centres around our characters in a rural town that I have to admit is absolutely gorgeous to behold, and with some amazing visual dirtection, a pity the plot itself plods around the MC basically just leading on and then crushing the girl who's interested in him. And we never really know why any of these people are interested in him, because for all intents and purposes, he's just a bland character with no defining personality traits except his prolonged (and increasingly creepy) crush on a girl he hasn't had contact with in years.

The final arc of the show is by far the worst, and this is where the mean spiritedness really kicksitself into overdrive and floors the gas. We see MC in his loveless, verbally abusive relationship that he refuses to let go because he's afraid of being alone, and he's still fixated on this girl, despite the fact that about 15-20 years have passed, and then the whole film ends as if it has some kind of hope for him with siad crush.

Now the problem with all of this sin;t so much the acts themselves, it's the execution and how we're supposed to sympathise with his plight, as if he is on the noble pursuit of true love rather than a childish crush that he clings onto like a leech. And in this last arc, he's taking it out on the woman who actually says she loves him, god knows why because he's still just as balnd in his 20's as he was as a teen.

Of course the film does have it's good points, the visual direction is amazing, pretty much aeverything you can think of in terms of how it looks is some of the best stuff made in the last few years, a pity that it's wrapped around such an impish storyline. The music is pretty good for the most part but in a few places borders on the sickeningly twee.

All in then, this is a huge let down, we follow an uniteresting character through his weird obsession with one person, we meet some actually interesting characters along the way, but they never linger too much because our MC is just too important for them to be worth the screen time, all wrapped up in gorgeous animation.

Really, I can't recommend this to anyone. It's so dull in it's execution too that all the parts that should feel emotionally charged often come across as yawn worth at best, and rage inducingly mean at the worst. It doesn't deserve it's status as a must see  in my opinion, and your time would be better spent elsewhere.

4/10 story
10/10 animation
7/10 sound
3/10 characters
4/10 overall
Sianeka's avatar
Jan 28, 2014

5 Centimeters per Second is the purported speed at which a cherry blossom petal falls from a tree to the ground, and like the ephemeral cherry blossom, the powerful love of two people separated by fate withers from the harsh toll taken due to the effects of time and distance on their relationship. This heartrending tale explores the effects of such a passion.

Tono Takaki and Shinohara Akari meet in elementary school and become very close friends.  Their relationship deepens even further in middle school. Then Akari has to move away, due to her parents' job changes but they keep in touch via correspondence.  They have a memorable meeting again, spurred by an upcoming move even farther away to be made by Tono. Life continues and over time, the distance and lack of contact erode their closeness, although each continues to feel affection for the other.

This movie, however, isn't really about these two characters. The focus of the movie truly is the atmosphere, and the affect of distance on the relationship. The graphics are gorgeous - truly stunning visuals, noteworthy scenic settings, spectacular lighting effects, smooth flowing animation. Character designs are not as memorable as there is nothing special to distinguish each person but this isn't so important as the movie really isn't about these characters but instead is focused on telling their story and is focused on their relationship and the effects of time and distance on that relationship.  The true leading character of the story is Time and the true plot is about the passage of Time. Soundtrack is suitably apropos, with full-sounding but understated instrumentals and perfectly orchestrated background sounds; nothing is ever jarring or out-of-place and nothing is missing. The amazing visuals and perfectly integrated accompanying soundtrack mesh perfectly to create the rich, moving, and affecting bittersweet atmosphere that defines this movie.

The movie's director Makoto Shinkai's vision of love and the pain of a desperate and hopeless love is precisely depicted, with not a note out of place. We feel the anguish of these characters and their enforced separation, as circumstances escalate the time and distance between the two leads. We are left to perceive and savor these feelings, as we are not given further plot advancements nor additional character development upon which to focus our attentions.

The story is told in three distinct episodes. Each episode is a tone poem or the summoning of a mood, of the wondefully lush atmosphere of despair and longing felt by the characters involved. There isn't very much actual "story" related to us during these episodes, and they all involve a time skip to a new place and time in the lead character's life, but the evocation of the emotions brought out by each little dramatization relates the tale more effectively than a more detailed and linear presentation would have.

8/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
7/10 characters
8/10 overall