Author Archives: Kaze
Considered by many to be one of, if not the best anime of all time, Legend of the Galactic Heroes is getting a new anime. It is emphasized that this is not a remake but a new adaptation, meaning we can expect things to be different this time around. However, anything different from the masterpiece of the original is probably going to be a mistake. I don’t expect this to be an improvement, let alone even on par with the original; however, having watched the series twice and with the intent to re-watch more in the future, I’ll give it a try to make a fair judgement. If nothing else, maybe this will spark some interest in the original series that although old, is no doubt the pinnacle of truly epic anime.
Although the Mekakucity Actors anime is not terribly new in terms of its announcement, it has continued to gain attention as continuous updates, particularly in the area of voice actors/actresses (seiyu). The anime releases this spring season, and it is of particular excitement seeing as it is the next step in the Kagerou Project that began with two Vocaloid albums by (my favorite) Vocaloid producer, Shizen no Teki-P (Jin). Since then, several light novels and manga have also been created as part of the series, culminating in Shaft’s anime follow-up.
The critical reception for The Wind Rises has been excellent so far. Though it doesn’t rate as well on Rotten Tomatoes as Spirited Away or Ponyo (really?!) did, it matches Howl’s Moving Castle and has received excellent reviews from some of the country’s most respected critics. Peter Travers writes, “It’s a big story, and in this landmark film Miyazaki is up to every demand. Sit back and behold.” Of course, I didn’t need to hear all this buzz to get excited about the film, as I’m a pretty die-hard Miyazaki fan. I’ll be in the theaters tonight watching!
The singer ELISA will be attending Seattle’s Sakura-Con on April 18-20, her first performance in North America. ELISA made her singing debut with ef’s opening song Eurphoric Field in 2007. She quickly gained popularity with it and was invited to perform at the following Anisama Live, the largest anime concert in Japan. Since then, she has performed theme songs for anime such as Hayate, TWGOK, Railgun, and Valvrave, although she did take a hiatus at one point. I have actually followed ELISA since her debut, so while I’m not a huge fan, I am pretty excited about this. She does try to interact with her fans, and her English, while not great, is definitely above average for Japan. I recommend anyone in the area to take the chance to meet and hear her and show her some support.
Valentine’s Day, a day considered by many to be the most romantic day of the year. But while this day may be a day of romantic love, perhaps it is more interesting to consider an even greater love. Of course I, as a Christian, believe God’s love to be the greatest love in existence; however, merely making such claims is a rather overused approach. Even though so many Christians preach it, it is something incredibly difficult to truly explain. Praising God’s love will only go so far before common sense leads us to wonder how God could possibly love us with so many apparent inconsistencies. Instead, I’d like to make a comparison, one sometimes made in jest but rarely in seriousness. That is God’s love and love of a yandere.
Let me begin by saying if you have never gone outside the manga/anime mediums, you most likely have a very skewed image of what a yandere truly entails. Sure, there have been characters who display a few yandere characteristics, and there are a few examples of more accurate yandere making their way into anime. Perhaps Yuno or Kanade come to mind, or maybe one very infamous nice boat. However, the truth is the really hardcore yandere do not exist in anime, most likely because what they do can’t actually be shown on TV. The visual novel medium, on the other hand, has its share of legitimate yandere. Not that I have read many as I tend to shy away from them myself, but I have heard some tales and they are quite extreme. Regardless, while a yandere may be incomparable to God at a literal level, the love that it holds might just be something more similar to God’s than at first glance.
If ef began with the characters who were lost in the present, then it ended with characters who hopefully looked forward to the future. Although A Tale of Melodies is not a continuation of the stories within the first season, the two tales are tied together by Himura and Yuko and the two twin cities. In the same way Memories began with events on Christmas Eve, Melodies ends on the same holiday, but with a much different tone.
While this episode shows all the characters at some point, its focus is on the conclusion between Himura and Yuko, the two with the most bittersweet relationship of the series. Although Himura has spent the entire series repeating his claim that there is no such thing as a miracle, his reunion with Yuko can only be called a supernatural miracle. After years of living in the past, Himura finally obtains closure on one of his greatest regrets in life. As a result, he is finally able to look toward the future and live life to its fullest.
Similarly, all the other characters are shown with feelings of hope as they are no longer bound by the problems they had when they were first introduced. As they spend Christmas with their loved ones, they reminisce about their past, how they have grown, and look toward the future with hope and anticipation. They do not expect things to be go perfect; rather, they understand more trials await them. However, they have learned that they no longer have to deal with their problems alone. They are no longer the lost people who they were when they were first introduced. The episode – and the series – ends with a final reminder given by all the characters: no matter the trial, no matter the hardship, always remember there is someone who is willing to help you continue toward a happier future.
The celebration of Christmas is not just a reminder of past events but also one of the future. Christ was born, died, and rose from the dead, but He is also coming back. As Christians, we continue to anticipate the day of His return. We don’t know how long it will take, and the wait will involve an array of events from blessings to suffering. We don’t know what the future really holds for us. Simultaneously, however, our relationship with Christ Himself is what helps us move forward. As difficult as it may be at times, God is always with us. That doesn’t mean things will go as we want, but it does mean things will be a little more bearable. Thus, Christ came not only to seek the lost but also to guide us along the difficult path of life. As Christmas approaches, whatever situation your life be at, remember that Christ is right next to you. Oftentimes it may not seem like He is there; the hardships are too great and the support is too little. However, that is exactly one of the reasons to celebrate Christmas. It is to remind ourselves that Christ came for us, died for us, resurrected, and will continue to be with us forever.
While Christianity is a tiny minority in Japan, Christmas is still celebrated, albeit as a commercial holiday rather than any religious reasons. In fact, it is considered one of the most romantic holidays of the year, a day for lovers. And thus, ef~A Tale of Memories, a story of all kinds of romance, begins on this day. There are three key moments which happen in this first episode during Christmas Eve. These moments are not big or eventful, but for the characters they involve, they are far more than what might otherwise be called a fated meeting of lovers.
The first moment is when Kyousuke is with his girlfriend and he catches a glimpse of Kei running home. It is only a moment but he captures her on film, and there is something about her which fascinates him. It is not a romantic feeling but an artistic one. As an aspiring film maker, there was something about her which appealed to his artistic sense. The second moment is when Miyako and Hirano meet by chance and she decides to “borrow” his bicycle to chase after a thief. It is a coincidental meeting, but at the same time, it was an eventful change in each of their otherwise static lives. At first glance, they are both regular teenagers; however, they both carry a burden easy to overlook. The third moment occurs in a church, although neither character is religious. Renji asks Himura for advice on his future and is told to simply do what he loves. It is a clichéd answer, but it is because of Himura’s words that Renji’s view begins to change.
What can be said about many of these characters is that they are lost, searching for something. Renji is searching for what he wants to do with his life. Kyousuke is searching for something to bring life to his films. Hirono is searching for a color to his colorless life. Miyako is searching for a place to belong. However, in these key moments, these characters feel something. They do not know what it is but there is something that is drawing them, calling on their feeling of being lost. These meetings spark something, and they feel that if they follow the spark, they will find the answers they seek.
In the same way, Christ came into this world to seek and to save those who are lost. He did not make a grand entrance; he was born in a measly manger. When he called his disciples, he did not give them detailed explanations of what was to come; he merely said “follow me.” Be it the disciples back then or us of today, the calling is small and subtle. We do not understand how it works, but we are drawn to it. There is something about Christ’s love that satisfies our soul although it is intangible and difficult, even impossible, to explain concretely. Without Christ, we are lost sheep searching for something. Such feelings are vague and undefined. People try to fill up the gap with worldly things, but nothing of this world can truly fill it permanently. However, as Christmas approaches, let us remember that Christ came for our sakes: to cleanse our sins and to give us what our souls are searching for, even if we do not realize what that may be ourselves. No matter how small the interest in Christ may be, if we follow it to the end, we will find something far more fulfilling than anything the material world could give.
It’s been awhile since my last post, and that is largely because I have moved to Japan to study at none other than Tokyo University. It’s an exciting new start in my life, and I definitely feel God put me here for more than just studying, or indulging myself in otaku culture motherland. I look forward to see what sort of plans He has for me but for now it’s still a chore trying not to get lost. As such, I wanted to write something to reflect a new beginning and nothing comes to mind more than Nanoha.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, as one might be able to guess from the title, is a magical girl anime, and it’s one of the best in the genre. While its first season debuted in 2004, the series still maintains enormous popularity in Japan 9 years later, with 3 seasons, 2 movies, plus three different ongoing manga stories, and more on the way, along with plenty of other merchandise. It’s definitely one of the stranger works in that an anime so popular in Japan is relatively unknown to Western anime fans despite being fairly recent. While the series begins with a very clichéd magical girl story, it is highlighted by Seven Arcs’ impressive animated battles and heartwarming stories of friendship. What distinguishes the main heroine Nanoha from so many other protagonists is her perfect middle ground between the hot-headed fighter and the reluctant pacifist. While she will always prefer to settle things peacefully through talking and mutual understanding, she does not hesitate to pick up her magical staff and ruthlessly blast her opponents with her full strength. It is lucky then, that the official description of Nanoha-universe magic includes being non-lethal despite destroying everything else.
One of the major themes in Nanoha is the idea of starting your life over. With every encounter, Nanoha engages her opponents with the desire to understand them. As the story progresses, the antagonists’ circumstances come to light, and they reach an understanding with Nanoha despite the various battles and crimes they have committed. By the end, they find themselves an ally of Nanoha with the desire to start over again on the right path. This closely parallels how it is to start a new life as a Christian. The series emphasizes the ability to have a fresh start on a more correct path. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, it is described as being born again. We start our lives over again as followers of Christ instead of followers of the world.
I rarely ever write about a currently airing anime, Space Brothers being the only exception. Part of that reason is because I’m relatively new to Beneath the Tangles and have been slowly digging my way through ideas that have been floating in my head for the past few years. The other reason would be I like to have a very clear and established view and understanding of whatever I am writing about; I want to encapsulate the work as a whole rather than a certain episode. That’s just how I am as a writer. However, Uchouten Kazoku has impressed me so much the last few weeks that I decided to write about a select couple of episodes.
At the beginning of summer season, Uchouten Kazoku was not even on my radar. Nonetheless, I picked it up on its first episode for the sake of watching it with one of my good friends. It was interesting but nothing special. It was slow but not boring. It was clearly establishing a world of tanuki, tengu, and humans, but I had no idea how it planned to go from there. Uchouten Kazoku is by the same author as Tatami Galaxy, so on that note, it had a plus. Still, it was an anime made by P.A. Works, a studio that has a fairly bad reputation, particularly when it comes to adaptations. With their most recent failures of Another and Red Data Girl, I was still going in just waiting for them to mess up. Pessimistic, for sure, but that didn’t mean I would hate on it for the sake of hating on it. Indeed, the world building was done well and entertaining, not to mention Noto’s amazing performance as Benten. And when I was just starting to get bored of the slice of life, they pulled out some amazingly well written and executed drama.
Spoilers ahead, but it is revealed near the end of episode 7 that on the night their father was killed (captured by humans and eaten in a tanuki hot pot), one of the four brothers Yajirou had become drunk with him and essentially left him alone and presumably defenseless. Perhaps not directly, but surely indirectly causing the death by irresponsibly leaving his drunken father alone, he is filled with guilt and abandons life to become a frog in a well, literally. The oldest brother, Yaichirou, breaks down in tears with all kinds of emotions while the third son Yasaburou (I know, these names are so confusing) is left unsure how to feel. The youngest brother is left uninformed.
The following episode was absolutely beautifully done, and the show shot up as one of my favorites this season. We learn the last thing their father wanted was for his children to separate or be on bad terms. We learn of their father’s final words to his tengu friend, confirming that he was quite content with his life and even accepting towards his death. His final request was for his friend to take care of Yasaburou, which had been seen plenty in past episodes. He plainly states his death was a cause of his “idiotic blood.” When the brothers go home, their mother reveals she had known all along why Yajirou had chosen to live in the well simply because “he’s my son.” Although Yaichirou is implied to have anger and disappointment towards his brother, he responds “I understand him; that’s why it hurts.” The episode ends with Yasaburou narrating that the only thing holding together the four brothers were their love for their mother and the departure of their father.
This parallels the Christian idea of loving each other as family very closely, albeit not perfectly. The brothers are as different as can be and are described as each inheriting only one aspect of their father. However, they are able to stay connected as family because of their love for their mother and the departure of their father. As Christians, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, but while some get along great, others of us have more clashing opinions than we can count. But if there is one thing to connect us, it is our love for God and the death of Christ. Furthermore, it is not as if the brothers’ love is shallow as something to please their mother. They honestly love each other as brothers. However, they maintain their solidarity with each other despite their differences and disagreements because of the strength of their connection: their parents. They could have gone their separate ways with no ill will but they stay together. As Christians, we don’t have to agree with every Christian and love every single aspect and never ever feel even slightly negative about each other; that is not possible. If such a thing were to happen, we would lose the individuality that God gave us. However, we are called to treat and love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Just like these brothers, we are connected together by our love for God and the death (and resurrection) of Christ, if nothing else. And a connection through God is the strongest connection we can have with others.
As a result, while we may not agree with every action or opinion of our siblings in Christ (For example, some may have strong negative opinions regarding anime culture), we are expected to understand each other through God’s eyes and wisdom. Yaichirou, in a state of complex emotions that we can only infer, says that he understands his brother and that’s why it hurts. No matter how angry or disappointed he may or may not feel toward his brother, he also understands the pain and guilt. In the same way, Christians should be able to understand each other, put aside our many differences, and commune with each other through our largest common factor: our belief in Christ and love for God. Yajirou was already an outcast of sorts who was said to a failure of a tanuki. After the guilt of causing his father’s death, he chose to hole up in a well saying he has no right to call himself his mother’s son. And yet, she still does, just as God calls us sinners his children. Regardless of our sins and the sins we will continue to do and regardless of our opinions and views on what is right or wrong, we are all connected as siblings through Christ. And it is through Christ that we can best understand each other because it is the strongest connection we can have with each other. If we cannot understand our siblings in Christ, how much less will we understand those who aren’t?
While the familial love of the Shimogamo household is certainly one to admire and appreciate, it is not without problems. With the head of the household gone, there is a family feud between them and their cousins, who they never got along well with in the first place, over who the successor will be. Arguably, they do not share the connections the brothers have and symbolically are not a part of the family. However, their father wanted reconciliation between himself and his brother and surely considered them to still be a part of his family. In the same way, while we may not be siblings in Christ, we are all children of God, and there is no reason not to love each other as such. We my lack a spiritual connection, but we can still find connections with people in other ways, such as our love for anime. How Uchouten Kazoku will resolve the problems remains to be seen. Regardless, I look forward to the final stretch of the show with great anticipation. If it keeps up this quality, it might just be my favorite of the season.
Lately everyone seems to be talking about Urobuchi Gen and his recent works: Madoka, Fate/Zero, Psycho Pass, and most recently, Gargantia. He has become a popular name ever since Madoka. But honestly, as amazing as Madoka was with its religious themes and correlations, I consider it very overrated even though I enjoyed it greatly. I was not impressed with either Psycho Pass, despite its homage to Kara no Shoujo, or Gargantia. Fate/Zero was fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but being a prequel, a lot of the material was a foregone conclusion so it’d be misleading to attribute everything to him. On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed the rarely mentioned Phantom which aired not even 2 years prior to Madoka; even if it deviated from his original work, he has said he approved of the changes. However, if there is one work most often called his masterpiece, it is the very short VN Saya no Uta. While it may not be the best of the best, it is iconic in its own unique way and an interesting, albeit disturbing, read. Although it has some very questionable content, the themes Urobuchi explores with this is really fascinating.
Saya no Uta is easily the most…disturbing, disgusting, and immoral thing I’ve ever read, so as a forewarning, I will be mentioning things that readers may not feel comfortable with. Granted, it is an eroge, so some of it was inevitable, but even so, it certainly made me think, “should I really keep reading this?” at certain scenes and I probably would have stopped if not for the fast forward button. The premise of the story is that the protagonist Fuminori was recently in an accident and when he wakes up in the hospital, he finds the world appears completely different. To put it succinctly, his five senses detect everything as decaying, rotting flesh. From the walls of the hospital to the bodies and voices of everyone around him to the smell and taste of his food, everything is something straight out of a horror film. One thing I really liked about the initial set up was that Fuminori, being a medical student, was quickly able to determine that everything wrong with the world was only his perception, and as horrific as it was, he mentally recognized that the problem was with his senses. Nevertheless, the situation greatly affects his mental and physical health as he tries to continue his daily life while keeping his condition a secret. Then the heroine appears before him, a beautiful, innocent-looking girl named Saya who looks completely normal, the first human he has seen since his accident. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on here: since Fuminori’s senses have been reversed, Saya is the real monster.
Kotonoha no Niwa, or The Garden of Words, is Makoto Shinkai’s newest film. Shinkai always seems to weave in the theme of distance and its effects on love in his stories. Many people like to focus on the romantic aspects but I think to truly appreciate his works, one must consider the overall theme and message that he is trying to convey. While I can objectively say his stories are generally good but nothing special, I do consider his themes to deliver some very powerful and meaningful messages that no other anime does. As such, while I do not have issues if people don’t enjoy his films, I can’t help but get upset when people sum up his stories as “bittersweet romance.” When I read the description for this film, I was incredibly excited because he was tackling a theme that is so readily ignored, or rather, unrealized, by society.
He [Shinkai] said that this is the first time he is making a “love” story — in the traditional Japanese meaning of the word. At one time, “love” was written as “lonely sadness” (koi). Moreover, according to Shinkai, the modern concept of “love” (ai) was imported from the West. While Kotonoha no Niwa is set in the modern era, it will be about koi in the original meaning — of longing for someone in solitude.
Shinkai specifically stated he would be writing a story about lonely sadness as opposed to the Western concept of love but somehow everyone ignored what this could potentially mean and interpreted it as “another love story.” To begin with, I am of the opinion that Shinkai has never meant to write love stories so much as they are simply the only feasible genre to efficiently translate his messages. But for the original meaning of love, that of lonely sadness, there is no romance.
Kotonoha no Niwa is a fairly short film, which relieved me. Children Who Chase Lost Voices was not bad, per se, but for Shinkai who has always placed messages above plot, I felt it deviated too much from his strengths and resulted in something much worse than he is capable of simply due to trying to approach his storytelling from a plot-centered angle. I feel his shorter films such as 5 cm/s and Voices of a Distant Star used all the time that was needed to portray his stories. Anyway, the story begins with the male protagonist, Takao, a 15 year old student, skipping school on a rainy day to visit a park and work on his shoe designs, as he dreams of becoming a shoe maker. There, he meets a mysterious woman skipping work, drinking beer, and eating chocolate. It is a chance meeting and aside from an equally mysterious tanka line she recites to him, there is nothing else to say. Takao skips first period of class every morning it rains. And each time, he meets her there. He talks to her about his life and dreams, and she listens. She does not even tell him her name. These days of simple meetings and we see very small glimpses into their lives. Takao’s family is not exactly picture perfect but it wouldn’t be right to be called dysfunctional either. The woman seems to have her own circumstances of discomfort but we hardly learn much. She simply tells him that one day she had trouble walking on her own. And then the rainy days end.
The second part of 5 Centimeters per Second, with Kanae, takes a step in a slightly different direction, portraying another kind of naive love while still continuing the sad tale of Tohno and Akari. Kanae is a girl who is helplessly in love. Always timing her meetings with him, always so quiet and shy, yet always watching the man she thinks she loves. Frustrated with herself and her inability to convey her feelings to her “ideal guy,” her loss of ability to surf can be seen as her struggle against naivety. Believing she is right, believing that what she feels is true love; believing that she can surf and knowing that she has that ability yet there is a barrier. She spends a large portion of the story struggling against both the waves of the ocean and of her own helplessness. Her eyes are unable to see the truth behind her naivety and as a result, she wanders aimlessly and fails to reach her goals. The day she surfs again is the day she comes to a painful realization of how the man she loved has never once looked at her. What she thought was a possible growing affection was merely a continued meaningless personality of kindness. He was a person who was always looking past her and she had herself convinced he was at least looking in her general direction. Thus they are the opposite of what Akari and Tohno were – close physically but their hearts could not be farther apart. She says she will love him forever – and she probably will, but this was a love of admiration and infatuation. It was her first experience with such powerful emotions and the years she spent investing in them caused them to grow to the point of affecting her as a person; they become a meaningful part of her existence, so while the feelings themselves are for someone who she perceived existed but did not, they are too important to ever let go of.
Then we have Tohno, who is now being portrayed as an apathetic yet kind person. Successful and popular in school, yet a boy who is still looking deep into the past. When he looks at a person, he does not see his classmate, but a past classmate. Everywhere he looks, he sees Akari, the girl who once, and still does, meant the world to him. But that is no more. The exact circumstances are unclear, but the letters stopped. Although he does not know who sent the last letter, the time between letters grew so great that it does not even matter. The distance was far too great and their hearts were no longer in the same place. Time is the most powerful and unstoppable force that can change emotions, feelings, beliefs, and relationships. He is always writing text messages but never sending them. What he writes and who he wishes to send them to is unknown, but it is a clear indication that he once again is isolated like so many years ago before he met Akari. He longs for companionship and a person who can understand him, and this does not necessarily mean Akari. Anyone would suffice, but as no one does, Akari is the only one on his mind. These constant thoughts of her fill his mind as much as he fills Kanae’s, but the effect is something far different. Rather than growing a love out of something that does not exist, he is multiplying one that did. With nothing else to do with his life, with no one else to talk to, the amount of emotional investment he has in Akari reaches something that can only be done over the course of his few but long years. He incessantly compounds his obsession over her yet is unable to do anything to fix the endless gap between them. But he knows the truth: he will probably never see her again, and if he does, she won’t feel the same.
The final part of this story is short and straightforward, but leaves the open-ended interpretation of the true moral of the movie. Tohno has been living an average life of an average person with an average job and average relationships. He recently quit his job and is ignoring his pseudo-girlfriend. Despite his relationships with women, he is still stuck in the past and no surprise there. He spent his entire youth with eyes for only one girl, now a woman. He watched her, waited for her letters, and thought of her, always. She was the one who understood him, but now she is gone from his life, leaving his heart as an empty void that can’t be filled. Akari on the other hand is now engaged, but clearly has not forgotten him. A dream of that day from reading that undelivered letter: she remembers him fondly, but not as a lover. She has come to terms with her naivety at some point and realized she needed to move on. How exactly her adolescent years played out are a complete mystery; we only see the result after many years. She realized that what they had was not real love – it was child’s play. Their broken relationship does not bother her in the slightest because it is all in the past to her. It helped shape her into who she is, as all experiences do, but she understands how futile it would be to regret not continuing their relationship.
But for Tohno, if you deal with child’s play long enough, it can become reality. No matter how naïve and foolish the love was originally, it has become real in the sense that it is unbreakable. However, this does not change the reality he faces. The final scene by the train is a final confirmation of that reality. He recognizes her; he knows it’s her for he has only seen her every day of his life. In his mind, he watched her grow up and knows every feature that she will have. The trains pass as he turns. He cannot look away because he has waited for this moment since that fateful day they parted. But she can. Regardless of whether she did recognize him, regardless of whether she didn’t, it doesn’t matter. He is a memory to her. A good memory, but still just that. She may turn out of curiosity, but she will not give more time than that. The trains are done passing and only he remains, standing, looking at nothing. He leaves, knowing that this is reality. He has always known this reality as well, ever since that day. He turns and smiles, understanding how many years he wasted away with a futile love.
Thus, in the end, 5 cm/s is a story of how 3 people mistook a feeling for love, how they dealt with it, and how it developed them as a person. Tohno dedicates his life to it and ends up unable to love anyone else until he finally accepts reality years later. In comparison, Kanae spends a lot less time investing in her feelings and comes to terms with reality much sooner; however, even so, he is someone she will never forget about. Unlike the other two, Akari does not let one failed hope affect her life. She is able to move on quickly, understanding how naïve her hopes were, and become engaged without letting her past hold her back.
I’m a pretty big Makoto Shinkai fan. I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan, but if I were to list my favorite storytellers, he would be one of them. Personally, I love the themes he explores in his short but perfectly paced stories, and combined with the beautiful animation and more often than not perfect background music (I’m also a fan of Tenmon so that makes for quite a nice duo), I thoroughly enjoy many of his works. As such, I was very excited for his newest work Kotonoha no Niwa. Its recent release inspired me to consider a series of Shinkai posts, which then led to this week of Shinkai. I will start with 5 cm/s, a film which resonates very strongly with me and the one which I consider his masterpiece.
5 Centimeters per Second is a short film depicting “a chain of short stories about their distance.” It is a story of love, but not the kind one would expect from the average romance show. A lot of criticism for it originates from having an unsatisfactory ending, the romance being ruined, and/or an overall disappointing, depressing show. However, while it’s true Shinkai films tend to be a flop for those who don’t resonate with the message, I think many people watch Shinkai films with too much of a focus on the plot and not enough on the underlying character interactions. Even those who enjoy it sometimes completely miss what the message is about. 5 cm/s is not a show about pure, innocent, ideal romance, but one about naïve and realistic romance. It is not a story that seeks to entertain you, but rather enforce internal reflection about the foolishness of those jumping to what they believe to be “true love” and the very real power of distance. With that in mind, you may wish to watch it if you haven’t already as the rest of this will be written with the assumption that you have. However, while there will be spoilers, this is not a story that loses value from knowing them, so continue reading if you wish.