5 Centimetres Per Second (Cert U)
1 Disc Blu-ray (Distributor: Manga Entertainment) Running time: 63 minutes
When 5 Centimetres Per Second was first released in the UK on DVD in 2012, it was one of the first anime titles reviewed on this site which you can find HERE. Thus I won’t recap the whole story or my detailed thoughts again so do feel free to return to this page after reading the original review.
As you can see I was very impressed with this film back then, enthusing over its glorious imagery and poignant storytelling, and why not? – director Makoto Shinkai has been one of the more consistent directors in anime over the past two decades, from his humble beginnings making shorts OVAs on his PC at home to the global blockbuster Your Name from two years ago.
Since the initial release of 5 Centimetres Shinkai has gone on to become a household name within the anime world among fan and creators alike, his blend of luscious visuals and emotive stories becoming his trademark that others have sought to emulate. One thing that is noticeable in re-watching this film is how ahead of his time Shinkai was in that respect, creating a template that is no common place in anime cinema.
We can marvel over A Silent Voice, A Napping Princess, In This Corner Of The World, Mai Mai Miracle, Anthem Of The Heart, etc. and rightly so, but the essence that drives them all can found in Shinkai’s works as much as we can also discern a similar Studio Ghibli influence. That is not to discredit this great films in anyway but it is curious to note that very few original anime films of this nature existed outside of Ghibli until Shinkai came along.
This film in particular is the one that really saw Shinkai’s name rocket to the top of the “Next Miyazaki” lists but it is fair to say that we now have to look forward to discussions about who will be the “Next Shinkai”, his style and influence now very much part of the fabric of anime cinema in its own right.
Back to 5 Centimetres and this first time Blu-ray release in the UK courtesy of Manga Entertainment doesn’t just do the gorgeous artwork justice, it breathes new life into it. From the opening shot of the cherry blossoms falling to the ground to the atmospheric rainfall and the now iconic dusky night (as seen on the Blu-ray cover), everything sparkles with an ethereal aura when viewed in stunning HD.
And, as alluded to earlier, despite being over six years old, the visuals and animation have not dated one iota, even in this fast moving world of CG reliant animation, a further testament to how durable Shinkai’s distinctive art style is. You could easily put this film up against any CGI film of today and not even question when it was made, giving this the kind of evergreen substance and appeal Ghibli films enjoy.
The story remains prevalent as a simple tale of boy meets girl, boy can’t get over girl, and regrets as much, but being set in the 1990’s before the advent of the internet and smartphones puts a further obstacle in the way of this awkward situation from resolving itself. Younger viewers might be aghast at there being no social media to help the characters find each other again but maybe it will help them appreciate life expressed with real emotions and not comic icons.
In conclusion, it was an absolute joy to revisit 5 Centimetres Per Second and I’m pleased to say it holds up after all this time and possibly might be Shinkai’s finest work even at a brisk 60 minutes in length. If you already have the DVD and the idea of double dipping is a concern, let me tell you this is one instance where it is wholly justified.
English Language Stereo
Japanese Language 4.0 Surround
Japanese Language Stereo
English Song and Sign Subtitles
Interview with Director Makoto Shinkai
Rating – **** ½
Man In Black