Review: 5 Centimeters Per Second: One More Side

by Rakka   Tags: review anime

Sometimes, it’s better not knowing.

If you haven’t seen the film 5 Centimeters Per Second, stop here and go watch it, then don’t come back.

And if you have…the film leaves so many questions behind, so much unanswered. Did Takaki walk past Akari on that day? What happens to Kanae? Who was the girl Takaki saw the sunrise with? One More Side answers all these questions, and more. And they’re answers you probably didn’t want.

Really, no answer could ever actually satisfy. Much of the beauty of Shinkai’s film is in what it omits, leaving only an hour-long distillation of pure loneliness, a reminiscence of missed chances. Kanoh’s novel adaption does a reasonable job of carrying over those feelings, but while the sparse dialogue of the film leaves you guessing at Takaki and Akari’s true feelings, the novel lays bare all their inner ugliness. And given the overwhelming innocence of the film, seeing their failings and mistakes feels like a letdown.

Shinkai shows us only enough of the characters to convey the intensity of their feelings; the novel reveals too much, making them human again. It’s like comparing Dune to Dune Messiah—while I didn’t dislike the sequel, it was jarring to see the demigod of the first novel fall in the second. But there, the story and characters had a broad enough scope to support the depth of making Paul Atreides only human after all. 5 Centimeters worked because of how little there was; shading pure light only makes it dim.

Finally, the novel throws in a trope that I personally hate—the student in love with their (often much older) professor. Here, it doesn’t even somehow contribute to Akari’s character; it’s a throwaway few pages in her life that could have been done without.

TL;DR: Just rewatch the movie and forget One more side exists.

If you still want to buy it: find it on RightStufAnime.