Objection! – Five Centimeters per Second


Laevatein: Greetings everyone, today Kaushik and I will be discussing 5 Centimeters Per Second.

Kaushik: 5 Centimeters Per Second is an anime film by Makoto Shinkai, and came out in January of 2007. It deals with the life of one boy, Takaki Tohno, through three segments of his life. One for his middle school days, one for his high school days, and a final segment as he’s an adult working member of society. Primarily the movie is about the themes of love and loss that the main character goes through while he goes on with his life.

Laevatein: Sounds like you enjoyed the film a considerable amount.

Kaushik: Yeah, I enjoyed it. I think at first it left an unpleasant feeling because it feels like it didn’t quite resolve in the way you think it would have, but I think all of that was on purpose.

Laevatein: Well, I didn’t really enjoy the movie. I don’t think the intentionally unsatisfying conclusion was the reason, either.

Kaushik: What was your problem with it?

Laevatein: I thought it was way too disjointed. The second one didn’t really fit too well, in my opinion.

Kaushik: How so?

Why, surfing, of course.

Laevatein: Well, first off the point of view shifted to another character (only to return to the main character later). This shift didn’t make it seem relevant enough if we consider his story and love the main focus of the film.

Kaushik: I don’t think his love was the main focus of the film. I think the film was primarily about him, and his love was a big part of it to begin with, but it’s not primarily about his love.

Laevatein: I guess I could say it wasn’t primarily about *his* love, but it seemed like his love was the main vehicle for the main them, the main theme being, in my opinion, destructive childhood fantasies.

Kaushik: Mm… You’re over dramatizing it with a word like “destructive”. While the first part paints this wonderful picture of a romance that would never end, I think it’s apparent that, even by part 2, he begins to realize that the situation with Akari was… Unsustainable? And even then he begins the slow process of moving on. More than love, I think, it’s about loss and moving on from that loss. It may not be the most satisfying conclusion to the viewer. I mean, even I would liked to have seen the two of them get together again. But like I said, it’s about love and loss and, most importantly, moving on.

Though it’s not exactly easy to move on when you meet her again like this.

Laevatein: I don’t think he second part did a good job of showing his doubts. It focused too much on the second girl, and introduced too many unnecessary elements. Moreover, I don’t think the movie showcased the “moving on” part well enough; it seemed as if the main character was too hung up on his childhood sweetheart.

Kaushik: I can understand your complaints about the second girl. I felt it added another interesting perspective, but it might distract a bit from the main character. Insofar as moving on is concerned.. I think the movie handled it fairly well. I would say the first part of the movie was to establish the situation. The second part may start with him seeming hung up (from the perspective of the Kanae) but it’s clear from the end that he’s been having doubts for a while, since he never sent any of the messages she always saw him writing. And then finally, the third part is pretty clearly about him finalizing the “moving on” process. Any minor doubts that were hanging on (not that there seemed to be too many by that point) were definitely cleared up by the end.

Laevatein: I think the last part was way too ambiguous. I may not be remembering this too well, but it seemed like he had this expression of longing and emptiness when he saw her at the train crossing with the other guy. Honestly though, Otherwise, I thought this part was fine, it’s just the second part that I had (most of my) problems with.

Kaushik: He actually smiled, at the very end. I thought it was pretty clear, after he saw her disappear, and he smiled, that he had moved on completely. I can understand your complaints about the second part. Maybe the introduction of another point of view disjointed the story a bit, but I think it was a useful technique to kind of show the “big reveal” at the end of the section. That being the fact that he never sent any of the texts. It was kind of a way to leave the viewer in the dark, instead of giving access to all of Takaki’s thoughts.

Poor Kanae, your main narrative purpose was to hide another character’s thoughts.

Laevatein: I really think they could’ve done it better, though. If the important point of the second segment was to reveal that he never sent any of the texts, they could’ve done something else, like, done a bit of narrative trickery. Make the viewers think he sent the texts, while revealing he didn’t all along. It sounds like I’m actually describing the second part, but I feel like they didn’t need to place the focus on another character, and with a little effort, could’ve still left the main character as the point of view.

Kaushik: Well, I can’t really argue for the director’s intentions that far since I don’t really know what they are. I can understand why he did what he did, but I can’t really say why he didn’t do what he didn’t do.

Laevatein: What do you mean?

Kaushik: I mean, I can’t tell you why he chose one way to do something and not another. I don’t know why. I can see the effects of what he did. Maybe it wasn’t the 100% best way to go about it, but I recognize the intention for what it was and enjoyed the movie with that as part of it.

Laevatein: Of course, it’s the director’s intention. The change in point of view was too jarring for me, for reasons I don’t really know why.

Kaushik: I didn’t have any problem comprehending a second point of view. I guess I just took it as it was? I didn’t have any expectations for how it should’ve been handled, and I understood the second part for what it was.

Laevatein:  Regarding the second part though, I just couldn’t care about the second girl at all.

Kaushik: So, besides the second part of the movie, did you have any other problems with the movie? The first or third part? Anything to do with art or animation? Or music?

Laevatein: Oh, well, I do. The first and third parts were rather fine, I didn’t really like character art, but backgrounds were amazing, as was the animation. I didn’t like the music all too much.

Probably the most stunning shot in the movie.

Kaushik: Oh you didn’t like the music? I thought tenmon did a pretty good job picking all those kinds of sappy tunes that fit well with a movie like this.

Laevatein: I don’t very much recall the music, to be honest. All I remember is not liking it too much.

Kaushik: Well, I think the first impression is important in any soundtrack. If you can’t really tie the feelings down the first time you hear it, there’s not going to be much impact to listening to it now.

Laevatein: Of course. Well, I guess it was pretty cool, but I didn’t really like the second segment. The second segment feels so disjointed, that I often struggle to call the entire package a film. Other than that, I don’t have any major qualms with it.

Kaushik: I didn’t have any problems with the second segment going in. Now that you mention it, it was different, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the movie. I took it at face value, more or less, and enjoyed the ride.

Laevatein: Well, as long as you enjoyed it, who am I to disagree?

Kaushik: Exactly.

Laevatein: Well, thanks for tuning in to our Objection! See you next time!

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I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.


I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.


  1. I can see why people found the ending unsatisfying, but I always though "Five Centimeters" ended exactly as it needed to. I thought it was the best, and by the end only way, for it to end.

    I do agree that the middle section is the weakest part, and the second love interest isn't really served that well by it.

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