5cm PER SECOND, dir. Makato Shinkai (2007)
What’s the story: In 1990 a teenage boy begins a deep friendship with a girl, to the ridicule of his friends. Over 18 years, as events force them apart, their lives play out... at the speed of the passing cherry blossom falling – 5cm per second.
Why Anime-zing: Makoto Shinkai has been dubbed the new Miyazaki, and while it’s too early to confirm that lofty label his two feature films as of 2010 are extraordinary.
5cm Per Second is extraordinary precisely because it finds magic in the mundane. Unlike Shinkai’s early The Place Promised in Our Early Days there are no fantasy trappings here.
But, 5cm Per Second’s animation transforms real life into paintings of exquisite beauty and heartbreaking sadness. Although its plot (told in three chapters) seems typical teen movie drama and the voiceover occasionally overeggs, the emotional wallop is still impressive. All achieved in just over an hour.
A classic of tomorrow.