5 cm/s: distance grows over time

What are the criteria for something to be considered a great love story? Good endings? Bad endings? When the viewers can relate to the characters or story itself? When the work successfully makes the viewers feel what the characters feel?

I don’t know what exactly makes a love story so great and memorable to viewers, but a lot of famous works are those which have a lot of “sadness”  or “pain” written all over them. Those are the works which can make boys and girls cry (or teary-eyed), and  Byousoku 5 Senchimeitoru / 5 cm/s is one of them.

Under that sakura tree in full bloom

I’ve watched this movie a few years ago and re-watched it just recently. I wanted to confirm what made people love this short anime so much. The story primarily revolved around the couple who were together since primary school. They had many similarities which brought them together most of the time and the time they spent together turned their friendship into something more intimate and mutual. Due to circumstances that these youngsters didn’t have control over, they were separated by distance.

Long distance love affair is a painful thing for most, but there are some people who are fine with it. I’ve never been in a relationship, but I know how lonely and painful it is to be separated from your loved ones, like very close friends who go to different universities. This anime made it seem painfully beautiful because of the poetry in the monologues, the detailed backgrounds, and befitting music. Remove all those beautification stunts, and the story may be left as something ordinary and boring, which wasn’t exactly the case. Why? The characters felt real. Their personalities were subtle which was just appropriate to the overall pacing and feel of the anime. Because they were believable (which makes me think, the characters may be real– they may be existing somewhere), they slowly but surely crept into the hearts of the viewers, including me. I was falling for them at 5cm/s, like a hopeful sakura petal which, however, ended up as a snowflake on a heap of snow, waiting to melt.

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