Akari transfers into a new grade school and quickly befriends Takaki, himself a transfer student the year before. The two grow closer, and time moves on…
5 Centimeters per Second is a manga adaptation of an animated film of the same name. I have not seen the film so will be reviewing this purely on its own, with no prior knowledge of the material going in. This edition contains the entirety of the manga (two volumes as originally published).
5 Centimeters per Second isn’t flashy or ground breaking, but there’s something extremely captivating about this quiet work. It conveys emotion effectively and has a strong feeling of authenticity to the characters and plot. Instead of being bound by idealized or stereotypical romantic story structure, reality’s presence is felt throughout Shinkai’s tale. The effects of young love echo through his lead’s life, for better and worse.
The pace is quite deliberate, but it fits the subject matter and themes perfectly. The main characters are engaging enough, although I did find myself more interested in some of the supporting cast in parts.
The art is wonderful. For such an emotional, character driven piece facial expressions and body language are extremely important. Both are excellent. The careful background detail also helps to flesh out and anchor their environment, and the art in general has a “soft” feel to it that adds to the atmosphere.
Equal parts tender and harsh, 5 centimeters per Second is a powerful and well told love story. It’s not something I really see myself coming back to and there are definitely things about it I would have changed, but this bittersweet tale of growing up is worth checking out none-the-less.