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5 Centimeters Per Second (2007) is one of the most iconic recent anime films. It’s one of the most beautiful anime films, I’ve ever seen!
The film follows Takaki Tono, a young man, through three episodes in his life and through his relationships with three girls that marked his romantic experiences.
However, he keeps coming back to his childhood love for Akari Shinohara.
Reviewers and audiences alike loved the film thanks to its gorgeous animation style, lush take on mundane topics, and unique episodic structure.
The themes of love and moving on from the past help the film resonate with viewers. Here are some of the best 5 Centimeters Per Second quotes that touch on the movie’s heartfelt themes and relationships.
1. “They say it’s five centimeters per second […] The speed at which the cherry blossoms fall. It’s five centimeters per second.”
Akari Shinohara (voiced by Yoshimi Kondou in the “Cherry Blossoms” section of the original Japanese dub) says this line to Takaki Tono (voiced by Kenji Mizuhashi in the original Japanese dub) when they are observing the cherry trees at the very beginning of the movie.
The line is so important that it even inspired the title. The full quote goes like this:
Akari Shinohara: Hey… They say it’s five centimeters per second.
Takaki Toono: Huh? What is?
Akari Shinohara: The speed at which cherry blossoms fall. It’s five centimeters per second.
Cherry blossom season is important for Akari and Takaki’s relationship because as children they promise each other that they will meet up to watch the cherry blossoms together. Although this meeting never materializes, it represents their hope for the future.
The beautiful – yet quickly fading – nature of cherry blossoms also represents how people drift apart as quickly as petals float to the ground, but can still leave a lasting impression.
2. “At what speed must I live…to be able to see you again?”
Nobody does longing quite like Takaki Tono (voiced by Kenji Mizuhashi). Even years after parting ways with Akari, he still longs for her as a teenager and later as an adult.
In this scene, he is reflecting on how life speeds by quickly, but not quickly enough to bring him closer to his love.
3. “And bit by bit, you’ll keep changing.”
This is another quote from Takaki addressing his absent love Akari. Years after they parted ways, Takaki still thinks about his childhood love and wonders what she’s like now.
He realizes that change is inevitable, that she’s probably very different from the person that he knew because, with time, everybody changes.
However, this is not necessarily a bad thing because as we change, we go through necessary growth.
4. “Reality is brimming over with beautiful things, scintillating feelings. How many of them have I been missing?”
Takaki says this quote towards the end of the movie when he and Akari just miss each other in their old hometown.
He realizes that he spent years of his life chasing the girl he loved that by now was just an idealized version, not her real self, and ignoring the real people and opportunities right in front of him.
Instead of holding onto his sad feelings, Takaki vows to start living in the present.
Many fans were shocked at the ambiguous and even sad ending, which has the lovers just missing each other. However, letting go of each other is important for both of the characters’ growth.
They both need to start appreciating their realities instead of holding on to an idealized past.
Takaki finally learns this lesson and begins seeing the beauty of the world around him for what it is.
5. “What are you thinking of in a place I’ve never been? Are we just a memory now?”
Takaki is not the only person nostalgic for the past. Akari (voiced by Anaka Onoue in the third segment of the movie) says this line while reminiscing about Takaki when she finds a box of their old letters.
Even though Akari is about to marry another man, she still wonders about Takaki and where he’s been. For years, their love and their letters felt like the most real, vibrant part of both of their lives, but with time, the love faded away with prominence.
There are no new letters or meetings to keep the love affair alive, so they are just alive in each other’s memories.
6. “I hope we meet again, in some new way, as new people, and that something new starts.”
Risa Mizuno (voiced by Risa Mizuno) is Takaki’s long-suffering girlfriend who breaks up with him in the third act of the film after his longing for Akari interferes with his ability to be a good boyfriend in the present.
However, Risa still has feelings for Takaki, as shown by this quote.
Risa hopes that maybe there is a possibility for her and Takaki if they cross paths again in the future. With time, they can change and become the people that they need to be for each other, but right now they are not right for each other.
The quote speaks to the hopefulness that lurks beneath the heartbreak of a relationship’s end. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of bad timing.
7. “He’s always looking past me, at something far off in the distance. And he’ll never look at me. Not ever.”
Takaki and Akari are not the only ones who are heartbroken in this film. Poor Kanae Sumida (voiced by Satomi Hanamura) is a schoolgirl that has had a crush on Takaki ever since they were in junior high.
However, Takaki seems to not understand her feelings and spends his time staring into the distance, writing to someone unknown. The audience knows that he is longing after Akari, but poor Kanae does not, at least not yet.
Kanae’s words are familiar to anyone who’s ever had an unrequited crush and felt as if the object of their affections would like them if they just took the time to really see them. It also gives us a glimpse into how Takaki’s obsession looks to the people around him.
8. “Having people tiptoe around me is just kind of painful.”
Poor Kanae is one of the most relatable characters in the movie. She decides to win over Takaki by telling him about her feelings, but after a misunderstanding realizes that he will never return those feelings.
She is heartbroken and other people pick up on her heartbreak, but she resents the way they treat her.
This line is so popular because anyone that’s gone through a breakup or heartbreak can relate to feeling as if people started acting strange.
It’s often less painful to directly address the source of your sadness than to have people avoid mentioning it as an exaggerated attempt at being sensitive.
9. “Just looking at him made my heart pound and hearing his voice made it soar.”
Kanae Sumida once again has the words to express how crushes feel. She says this line to express her intense feelings for Takaki, a crush that lasts from their time in junior high to the third year of high school.
The line is a great summary of young love: the intense physical reactions, strong emotions, and active imaginations over something as small and insignificant as a look or a voice.
Although Kanae’s love for Takaki ends in an unhappy way for her, she still has the delicious experience of her intense feelings for him.
10. “What I want is to be a person who won’t disappoint you if we happen to meet somewhere, someday a long time from now.”
Takaki says this line to Akari when they are children about to part ways. Takaki and Akira have long, intense conversations about anything and everything, including their thoughts about growing up.
To the children, the concept of growing up is foreign and terrifying, although Takaki knows that he wants to be a cosmonaut. All he knows is that he wants to turn into a person who will still be worthy of Akari.
This quote is a sweet look at how deep Takaki’s love for Akari runs, even though they’re both young because he only thinks about her opinion of him when he envisions his future.
It also speaks to the uncertainty of growing up. We all know that we will change and maybe drift apart from the people we love as we age, but hopefully, we will still be people worthy of respect.
11. “The happy moments come often, but so do the painful ones.”
Kanae Sumida says this line when reflecting on her unrequited feelings for Takaki.
Although her crush was full of intense emotional pain, her close friendship with Takaki was also packed with good moments. Kanae sees this as emblematic of life as a whole.
We feel intense happiness but sadness as well. The bad moments are necessary to make the good ones stand out.
12. “To hold on to that feeling even if we’d be far apart, and that became my compass in life.”
Takaki says this line when reflecting on the durability of his feelings for Akari.
His love for her gave him direction in life. However, sometimes this led him astray when he started ignoring what was around him in the present day.
5 Centimeters Per Second is full of relatable characters and quotes about love, but these are some of the best ones.
About the author:
Jan Sørup is a videographer and photographer from Denmark. He’s the owner of filmdaft.com and of the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.