Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A bittersweet tale of love, distance, and the passage of time.


"5 Centimeters per Second" is a novel written by Makoto Shinkai, who is also the director of the anime film of the same name. This emotional and poignant story takes the readers on a journey of love, distance, and the passage of time. Through beautiful prose and vivid imagery, Shinkai explores the complexities of human relationships and the bittersweet nature of longing and separation.

Brief Synopsis

The story of "5 Centimeters per Second" revolves around the lives of two main characters, Takaki Tono and Akari Shinohara. The narrative is divided into three interconnected parts, each representing a period in their lives:

Part 1: Cherry Blossom

The story begins in the 1990s, when Takaki and Akari are elementary school students. They develop a deep bond and spend a lot of time together. However, their lives take a different path when Akari's family moves to another city due to her parents' job transfer. Despite the distance, Takaki and Akari continue to communicate through letters. They make plans to meet again, but circumstances prevent their reunion.

Part 2: Cosmonaut

Several years have passed, and Takaki is now a high school student. He still longs for Akari and carries the memories of their time together. He meets a classmate named Kanae, who develops feelings for him. However, Takaki remains fixated on his unfulfilled connection with Akari. The story delves into the complexities of unrequited love and the struggle to move on.

Part 3: 5 Centimeters per Second

In the final part, Takaki is now a young adult working in Tokyo. He feels disconnected from the world and finds it difficult to form meaningful relationships. Despite his attempts to move forward, he is haunted by the lingering memories of his past. The story reaches its climax when Takaki encounters a woman who resembles Akari, leading him to reflect on the choices he has made and the regrets he carries.

Main Characters

Takaki TonoThe protagonist of the story. He is a sensitive and introspective individual who struggles to let go of his past.
Akari ShinoharaTakaki's childhood friend and first love. She is kind-hearted and understanding, but circumstances force her to move away.
Kanae SumidaTakaki's classmate in high school. She develops feelings for him but struggles to express them due to his lingering attachment to Akari.

Summary of Different Story Points

Part 1: Cherry Blossom

  • Takaki and Akari become close friends in elementary school.
  • Akari's family moves away, causing a physical separation between them.
  • They continue to communicate through letters.
  • Takaki plans to meet Akari during a trip but is unable to due to a snowstorm.

Part 2: Cosmonaut

  • Takaki is now in high school and still pining for Akari.
  • He meets Kanae, who develops feelings for him.
  • Takaki remains distant and unable to reciprocate Kanae's affection.
  • He learns that Akari is engaged to someone else, leading him to further despair.

Part 3: 5 Centimeters per Second

  • Takaki is now a young adult living in Tokyo.
  • He encounters a woman who resembles Akari.
  • The encounter triggers a reflection on the choices he has made and the regrets he carries.
  • Takaki finds solace in the realization that life moves on, even if memories and longing persist.

Main Events

  • Takaki and Akari's childhood friendship and separation.
  • Takaki's struggle to move on from his past and his encounter with Kanae.
  • Akari's engagement and its impact on Takaki.
  • Takaki's encounter with a woman resembling Akari, prompting introspection and acceptance.

Themes and Insights

  1. Longing and Distance: The novel explores the theme of distance, both physical and emotional, and the longing that arises from it. Takaki and Akari's separation serves as a metaphor for the challenges of maintaining relationships in a rapidly changing world.
  2. The Passage of Time: "5 Centimeters per Second" delves into the concept of time and its effect on human relationships. It reflects on how time can both heal wounds and deepen longing, as well as the inevitability of change and the importance of embracing the present.
  3. Regret and Reflection: The novel emphasizes the impact of regret on one's life. Takaki's constant reflection on his past choices and inability to let go hinder his ability to fully engage in the present. It encourages readers to confront their regrets and find closure in order to move forward.

Reader's Takeaway

"5 Centimeters per Second" is a heartrending tale that explores the complexities of human emotions and the enduring power of memory. It reminds readers of the importance of cherishing the present moment and letting go of the past. The novel offers a thought-provoking reflection on love, loss, and the indelible marks they leave on our lives.


"5 Centimeters per Second" is a beautifully written novel that captivates readers with its poignant storytelling. Through its exploration of love, longing, and the passage of time, it leaves a lasting impression on its audience. Makoto Shinkai's masterful prose and vivid imagery make this novel a must-read for anyone seeking a heartfelt and introspective narrative.

5 Centimeters per Second FAQ

  1. What is the genre of '5 Centimeters per Second'?

    The genre of '5 Centimeters per Second' is a romantic drama.

  2. Who is the author of '5 Centimeters per Second'?

    Makoto Shinkai is the author of '5 Centimeters per Second.'

  3. What is the plot of '5 Centimeters per Second'?

    '5 Centimeters per Second' follows the story of two close friends, Takaki and Akari, who are separated when Akari moves to a different city. The book explores their attempts to keep in touch and the challenges they face in maintaining their relationship.

  4. Is '5 Centimeters per Second' based on a manga or an original novel?

    '5 Centimeters per Second' is based on an original novel written by Makoto Shinkai.

  5. Is '5 Centimeters per Second' a standalone book or part of a series?

    '5 Centimeters per Second' is a standalone book.

  6. Are there any adaptations of '5 Centimeters per Second'?

    Yes, '5 Centimeters per Second' has been adapted into an anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai himself.

  7. What is the artistic style of '5 Centimeters per Second'?

    '5 Centimeters per Second' features beautiful and detailed animation, capturing the emotions and atmosphere of the story.

  8. What age group is '5 Centimeters per Second' suitable for?

    '5 Centimeters per Second' is suitable for young adult readers and above due to its themes and content.

  9. Does '5 Centimeters per Second' have a happy ending?

    The ending of '5 Centimeters per Second' is open to interpretation and may be considered bittersweet.

  10. What is the running time of the '5 Centimeters per Second' anime film?

    The '5 Centimeters per Second' anime film has a running time of approximately 63 minutes.