5) 5 Centimeters Per Second
For People Who Like: The Notebook (2004), One Day (2011), The Fault In Our Stars (2014)
Anime isn’t exactly renowned for portraying relationships in a realistic light, but Makato Shinkai’s simple tale of two people struggling to stay together is one of the most heartfelt and poignant love stories ever committed to film, regardless of whether it’s animated or not. 5 Centimeters Per Second consists of three segments which each focus on a different period in the life of a boy called Takaki, following his relationships from his youth right up to adult life.
What immediately strikes you when watching 5 Centimeters Per Second is just how stunning the film is. The title refers to how long it takes for cherry blossom petals to fall to the ground and this tranquil, dream-like imagery perfectly captures the essence of 5 Centimeters Per Second. Pausing the frame at almost any given moment will capture a scene which looks like it could be a piece of art taken from a gallery and the high standard could certainly give Studio Ghibli a run for its money. Not much seems to happens in each segment and indeed, the plot could be summarized in a few short sentences, but it’s the intimate tone and atmosphere of the story that draws the viewer in.
Films such as Voice of a Distant Star and The Place Promised In Our Early Days won Shinkai a number of awards in his native Japan, but it’s his work on 5 Centimeters Per Second which is his most successful to date and has since been developed into both a manga and a novel. The slow pace of the film may put some people off, but it’s intimate tone will stick in your mind long after the credits have rolled, whether you usually enjoy anime or not.