REVIEW 5 CENTIMETERS PER SECOND – The phrase “Love does not have to have” has become a trademark for those who are heartbroken because their love is not conveyed. It is common to hear this expression to those who have given up after failing to find their loved ones.
But is it true that love can still exist even though it doesn’t belong to each other? Isn’t the essence of love how two hearts know each other? Makoto Shinkai in the film 5 Centimeters per Second that he released in 2007 seems to have the answer.
5 Centimeters per Second by famous director Makoto Shinkai tells the story of two best friends who share feelings between them, namely Takaki Tōno (Voiced by Kenji Mizuhashi) and Akari Shinohara (Voiced by Yoshimi Kondō). The film is divided into 3 parts, each of which tells the story of how the two of them felt.
Like a realistic romance story, in this film, Shinkai presents a story that is so close to the audience. About how that feeling arose, and slowly gathered like cherry blossom petals falling 5 centimeters per second. However, the end of a love story is not always able to end satisfactorily or be happy for both parties.
In 5 Centimeters per Second, the ideal ending to a love story is how the accumulated feelings are destroyed by their own choice, Takaki or Akari, both of which have different paths, resulting in how their feelings gradually fall apart.
Feelings Blocked by Distance
Each part of the film tells about how distance is the main enemy of the feelings between them. Like in the first part of Oukasho, Takaki met Akari during elementary school which made them close to each other because they had similar attitudes and traits. Unfortunately, their closeness had to be hindered by the distance Akari made when after graduating from elementary school, Akari had to move to Tochigi because of his parents’ work.
Little by little, the distance made their feelings grow, but on the other hand, their feelings were also getting eroded. Even though they keep in touch with each other through the replies to letters they send to each other, the problem for both of them is how they don’t want to be honest with their feelings.
At the end of this section, Takaki visits Akari who is in Tochigi just to finish the longing among those who are hindered by distance and inability to express their feelings. Even though the meeting ended with a warm kiss on the falling cherry blossom tree, it was still not declared as the beginning of their feelings of acceptance and love for each other, but instead became the beginning of a painful separation for both of them. Moreover, Akari failed to express his feelings after feeling reluctant to give Takaki a letter wrapped in a pink envelope after Takaki’s train went back to Tokyo.
5 Centimeters per Second, Feelings That Never Delivered
Likewise, with the second part of the film, we’re currently reviewing, 5 Centimeters per Second, which is titled, Cosmonaut. This section tells from the point of view of Kanae Sumida (voice actor Satomi Hanomura). A classmate of Takaki’s after moving from Tokyo to Tanegashima. Kanae liked Takaki, who at that time had separated from Akari. In Takaki, Akari remains the woman of choice, but because of the distance and loss of communication between the two of them, their relationship seems to erode every second that passes.
This opportunity should have been had by Kanae to try to move Takaki’s heart from Akari. However, no matter how big and hard Kanae tries, Takaki is still the Takaki from the past who loves Akari deeply. Kanae thought that despite her feelings for Takaki, it was clear that Takaki would never notice her. Because Kanae knows Takaki is looking for something far away from him, something more meaningful in his life, namely the woman he kissed during winter in Tochigi, right under the cherry blossom tree covered in snow, and that woman is Akari. Because of this, Kanae reluctantly had to hold back her love and was unable to express her feelings.
5 Centimeters per Second, and Love That Must Have One Another
The ending of the story between Takaki and Akari in 5 Centimeters per Second ends so tragically. Their feelings ran aground and disappeared. The 5-centimeter distance between the cherry blossoms that fall every second is no longer a story about the growing feelings between the two of them. It’s about how they feel gradually falling and disappearing.
Akari decides to marry someone else, despite his true feelings that he still loves Takaki. While Takaki himself was devastated to accept the fact that he still loved Akari. Akari’s character, who lives happily because she will run her marriage, is inversely proportional to Takaki, whose life is filled with gloom and pessimism. Her feelings for Akari hadn’t disappeared, and she realized it. Therefore Takaki immersed himself in work which only added to the injury to his heart.
In the last part of this film, Takaki realizes something. About how he should be able to let go of his feelings for Akari. However, during that time he tried to forget about Akari, Akari’s figure still tied him tightly. Wherever he looked, no matter how he tried, Akari was still the first for him. Failure to get Akari leads to regret. His journey through a snowstorm from Tokyo to Tochigi to meet Akari is only waste and painful memory.
Takaki continues to live with his feelings that are never conveyed and try to try to have them. But after all, Akari is his first love, and maybe he thinks of it as his last as well. However, that thought led to the heartbreak that kept fondling Takaki.
Takaki’s monologue ended when he walked across the railroad tracks, at which time he saw Akari’s figure walking past him to the opposite side of the rail. However, again and again, Takaki failed to see Akari’s figure one last time. And this scene also marks the end of their relationship. A close relationship but so distant, that they both do not realize that they are hurting each other.
5 Centimeters per Second, The Meaning of Love for Makoto Shinkai
Makoto Shinkai in 5 Centimeters per Second metaphorically offers a love story that is humanistic but ends tragically. The gloomy side that Shinkai brings in this film is the reality of how love really should belong to each other.
In other words, the famous phrase about love doesn’t have to be mere nonsense, at least that’s how Takaki Kono felt after his heartbreak because he failed to have a love affair with Akari.
But as Makoto Shinkai said at the 2011 New York Comic Con, Makoto Shinkai was once asked: Is love no longer there? “I don’t think love has ended,” he replied. “But I believe love can’t always be successful, let alone first love.”