I finally watched Byousoku 5 Centimeters the other day. This was done at the prodding and poking of a friend a while ago and I just wasn’t in the mood for an animu movie at the time. This suggestion resurfaced as I checked out Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora, which attracted me because of the background art.
Anyhow, I acquired a 1080p version without considering whether or not my computer could handle it. Thankfully, it seemed fine, but barely. Even though I expected it to be visually stunning, my first impressions were still of the amazingly beautiful art and the stunning shots. I couldn’t believe Natsu no Sora was compared to this. While that had almost photorealistic backgrounds, and Byousoku 5 Centimeters didn’t, the style and art simply blew it out of the water.
Byousoku 5 Centimeters is a series of three short stories about two childhood friends who, under various circumstances, are forced to move away from each other, gradually growing further apart physically and emotionally. During each story, we see them at a different point in their lives, starting in elementary school and ending up as adults. Each story is about the length of a normal anime episode, so the entire movie ends up being about an hour long.
The movie is sad. Don’t watch it unless you’re prepared to have your day ruined. Seriously. The sadness is something that is pervasive throughout the entire movie. It’s in the voices of the characters as they’re talking. It’s in the sad piano music and it’s in the stunning scenery. It’s fairly depressing.
I’d come into it knowing that it wouldn’t end happily, but after I started, I sort of couldn’t help but hope, especially as the first episode ended with them meeting once more after they’d moved away already. It didn’t seem that bad during the second episode either, until, of course, he’s all like “I wonder when I got into the habit of sending text messages to no one…” At which point I began to feel that the ending was not going to be swell. And of course, in the last episode, we see the ring, and I know it’s over.
So yeah, go ahead and watch it, and get blown away by the art and feel terrible emotionally afterwards.