Story: Makoto Shinkai/Translator: Melissa Tanaka
Art: Yukiko Seike
My rating: 4.5 of 5
Did you know that cherry blossoms fall at a rate of five centimeters per second? That’s just one of many amazing facts about this beautiful, fascinating world that Takaki and Akari share as they grow up together and eventually fall in love. As with so many of us, however, time and space separate these two until their relationship becomes but a memory. Will they ever meet again? Will their memories of each other become a treasure or a burden? Takaki must work through these questions himself to discover whether he can ever really love again.
This is a beautiful manga in multiple senses of the expression. The art is lovely, complex, and expressive. The characters are full, complicated, and brimming with human emotions and struggles. Moreover, the plotline is touching, ranging from cute and funny to warm and fuzzy to bittersweet and poignant. 5 Centimeters per Second draws the reader through a whole range of emotions while watching the characters mature. I would recommend reading this manga in one sitting if possible–it’s only one volume, and the effects will be felt more deeply if it’s read all together.