Makoto Shinkai was first introduced to a large audience around the world through the 2016 Japanese release of Your Name, which was later released globally in 2017. Many devoted long-time fans were understandably disappointed in Shinkai's new writing direction, despite the film receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and viewers alike. A viewing of Makoto Shinkai's earlier films may be useful to comprehend the feelings of the early admirers of the award-winning film in order to understand this dissatisfaction with the film.
For those who haven't seen the three-part film, 5 Centimeters Per Second was Makoto Shinkai's first piece to receive genuine praise from critics. The movie won Best Animated Feature Film at the 2007 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, and it also took home the Lancia Platinum Grand Prize at the 2008 Future Film Festival in Italy. Because of what follows, not having seen 5 Centimeters Per Second while being a Shinkai fan is equivalent to missing a significant portion of the entire Shinkai experience.
Overview of 5 Centimeters Per Second
From elementary school through his adult years, Takaki Tono's life is followed in 5 Centimeters Per Second. In elementary school, he meets Akari, his first love, with whom he must maintain a long-distance relationship because of his personal circumstances. They eventually come to terms with the fact that they can't be together because of how far apart they live from one another, and that their poor communication makes it challenging to develop their relationship further.
After that, Takaki has a hard time getting over how much he misses Akari. Takaki stays in the past as he daydreams of a world where he is with her once more, picturing a make-believe world that has long since vanished. Takaki's desire to be with Akari once more has a profoundly negative impact on his future romantic relationships and professional life, ultimately leading to his descent into a deep depression.
Shinkai's Roots Are Visible in 5 Centimeters Per Second
In comparison to Your Name and Weathering With You, Makoto Shinkai's earlier works were more somber, mature, and brutally honest in the ways that they genuinely touched on subjects that are challenging to discuss. The inability to let go of a longing for a lost love, even if it didn't work out because of how life turned out, is one example. The heartbreaking themes of long-distance relationships, loneliness in all of its forms, how depression and anxiety affect a person, the knowledge that not all relationships last, and the acceptance that not everything works out were all explored in Makoto Shinkai's works prior to Your Name. This is what gave Shinkai's works a distinctive feel and helped even older adults relate to them.
Since the publication of Your Name and Weathering With You, which both have happy endings and enduring romances that seem inevitable, Shinkai's writing style seems to have changed significantly. This is the reason why some devoted followers of Shinkai find his most recent works to be rather disappointing; like Takaki, they yearn for things to go back to the way they were. 5 Centimeters Per Second and Garden of Words are unquestionably worth watching if you haven't had a chance to enjoy Makoto Shinkai's earlier writing styles.
5 Centimeters Per Second is available to stream on Amazon Prime.