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How slow is 5 centimeters per second?

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It’s as slow as its piano pieces
slowly gripping your heart
squeezing out your unforgettable memories.

I just finished watching one of the most heart-warming animated films of 2007. The ‘Byosoku Go Senchimetoru’ translated as ‘5 Centimeters per Second’ of studio CoMix Wave Inc. A Drama animated film directed, produced and written by Makoto Shinkai, and music by the famous pianist Tenmon – the guy behind every heart-touching notes of its background music OSTs (Original Soundtracks). The movie was released on March 3, 2007 and its novel on November 19 2007 by its publisher Media Factory.

The movie is generally about love and the consequences underneath it: drama, sacrifice, happiness, and the painful ending of reality which will leave a wound deep within our heart and memories. Here we follow the story of the main male character Takaki Tohno whose quickly befriends with a girl named Akari Shinohara, a transferee student on Takaki’s elementary school.

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The movie is divided in 3 parts, Act 1: “The Chosen Cherry Blossom”; Act 2: “Cosmonaut”; and Act 3: “5 Centimeters per second”.

The story started in Act 1, a quick flashback of Takaki and his friend Akari on their early elementary days. Then years past, they got separated as Akari is now living far away. The setting is somewhere in Japan on its early 1990s so take note that it’s not easy to communicate with people on far places. Now in Junior high, Takaki and Akari still managed to keep in-touch with letters. One day, they decided to meet, and like most of us experienced when we’re trying to make it on time, there are unexpected hindrances like weather, technicalities, or even the time itself. I will not go in further details but I will say…true love really can wait. Even if it’s slow as snow fell 5 centimeters per second from the sky.

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Act 2 is the “civilian casualty” of this love because apart of these two lovers, a person in a distance is always in real pain. Takaki’s classmate named Kanae Sumida fell in love with him. Kanae is a girl torn between dream and love. Her efforts to be noticed by a guy who already loved someone will get her into problems that would nearly cost her future. All of these will happen in the quiet and peaceful island of Tanegashima, where Japan is on the verge of reaching the space. She would overcome this tough choice as slow as a truck carefully transporting the rocket 5 centimeters per second to its launch pad.

Act 3 is the shortest part of the movie. By the time I reach this part, I feel like I don’t want to continue watching this. I’m too afraid to see what will happen next. This part is too intense and believe me; I’m fighting the urge to spoil everything to you.

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The movie is so good that I can still hear the background music whenever I’m alone. I will never lose my original DVD copy of it. My cousin bought it for me as a birthday gift together with its novel book in Japan last month. I admit that I don’t have an interest of watching the film at first since I’m the type of viewer with high standards in animated movies such as the character animation quality. I have to admit that the character’s animation didn’t pass my taste. But in the other hand, the scenery, the story, especially the music is so great that I regret not watching this upon receiving. This movie brought back memories of how I’m so attached with the things I can’t seem to replace. And for some reason, it makes me want to go back on my childhood days and see how simple life could be while that piano OST playing.

Before I end this little blog, I’ll leave you this quote as a prize for reaching this part and to serve as a clue:

“Maybe we tried to leave as much memories of ourselves with each other because we knew one day we wouldn’t be together anymore.” – Makoto Shinkai, 5 Centimeter per Second.

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