5 Centimeters per Second

Alt title: Byousoku 5 Centimeter

Vol: 2; Ch: 11
2010 - 2011
4.264 out of 5 from 749 votes
Rank #4,145
5 Centimeters per Second

Although today Tono Takaki and Shinohara Akari live far apart due to a family move shortly after elementary school, they were once two shy young students brought together by their shared differences from their peers. It is because of this that the two built a bond of closeness between them that still survives through their continued correspondence, even over such a distance. Secretly they both fear the loss of this bond over time, and for this reason they arrange a meeting between just the two of them. The journeys both of them take in their minds and in their lives create an atmosphere of intense emotional upheaval, but also a sense of peace. It is a twist of fate and a series of decisions that put the two in place to carry what they choose of their pasts into the future they will create for themselves.

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The exposition style of this manga is neat. It's not quite like a montage, since it lingers on scenes a bit more, but it also feels like it's comfortable mixing quick scene changes amongst the longer scenes. Like, the entire first chapter is essentially just a series of snippets of conversations and glimpses of interactions, and the rest of the manga sometimes falls back on that same style as well. Sometimes the events will feel a bit sappy and sometimes the monologues will feel a bit philosophical, but overall the story felt like a pretty good reflection of human interactions and of the abandonment of idealism which often accompanies maturing. At its core, this is a story about finding closure and learning to move and the difficulties which sometimes accompany that. And for Tohno specifically, it's also a story about learning to accept that you won't match the idealistic visions of your future which you may have had as a child. One of the most impactful lines in the series was when Tohno thought to femself: "I'll try to accept that about myself" (ch. 10), referring to some of feir flawed traits. It's an insightful comment about how nobody's perfect and how we have to learn to accept our imperfections as part of ourselves, and how relationships can be affected if we aren't even honest with ourselves. I also appreciated how the focal characters would shift a bit throughout the series. Chapters 1-3 focus on Tohno, with a side focus on Shinohara. Chapters 4-6 focus on Sumida, with a side focus on Tohno. Chapters 7-9 focus on Tohno, with a side focus on Mizuno. Chapter 10 focuses on Tohno alone. And finally, chapter 11 focuses on Sumida alone.

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