There’s three parts to this anime movie, all interlinked and one continuous story. We see the main protagonist, Takaki in three phases of his life.
Part 1 begins by telling us a romantic love story of two children, who grew apart as the girl, Akari moved away to a different school elsewhere in Japan. A pure story of unrequited innocent first love. Soon, the boy, Takaki enters middle/high school.
Part 2 starts from the perspective of another girl, Kanae, who has fallen in love with the same boy, Takaki. At first, we think that Takaki continues to send texts to Akari. This makes Kanae wish that the texts were written to her. It is revealed however, that the texts were never sent, since Takaki did not have Akari’s mail number but continued to write messages not sent.
Part 3 is of Takaki as an adult who realises his initial pure and earnest feelings to work and protect something has withered over the years.
In essence, it’s a sad story of unrequited young love. Love vs reality. The harsh reality was, Takaki and Akari had to part, as they were separated by distance from Akari moving away. At a time when it seemed that SNS like LINE or mails wasn’t prevalent, they only had hand-written letters to keep in contact. It was only a matter of time before they became so caught up in their own lives that they stopped writing to each other over the decades. Love never stood a chance. Akari ended up getting married, and Takaki getting immersed in his work.
Love vs reality is also a theme in Kanae’s crush for Takaki. Kanae had a very unrational love at first sight (一目惚れ hitomebore). For the sake of entering the same school as Takaki, she studied hard; to approach him, she pretended to encounter him while going home despite waiting near the bicycles until the sun almost set. Kanae put in a whole tonne of effort to shaping reality acheive her love. Unfortunately, she couldn’t change the fact that Takaki had met Akari and was trying to reach to where she was. You can’t force someone to love you no matter how much you loved them.
5cm/s: Ending Remarks
To me, the whole story was a really really really really! sad story. But if there was something that I would say was beautiful, it was the pureness of young love. The way adults love and teenagers/children love might be really different. As an adult, the world throws reality in your face, you have things like working for a living, earning money, things doesn’t seem as simple as it was before. No longer are you likely to fall in love with someone at first sight and throw your entirety at him or her. Things seem more calculative, people seem more selfish, nothing is as pure as it was before. The third part shows this effectively, in how Akari and Takaki have no choice but to move on despite their dreams of their past: a young pure love beneath a frozen sakura tree. As they cross each other in the train crossing at the last part, Akari disappears again after the train crosses, and Takaki accepts it and finally moves on, I’ll guess.
“We are such stuff that dreams are made on. That our lives are rounded with sleep.” -Shakespeare, The Tempest. Humans can really romanticise things, that the past is recounted so fondly. It’s a pity we are the things that dreams are made of, so fluffy and transient in nature, that our overly perfect, overly romanticised dreams are popped the moment it comes into contact with the sharp edge of reality.