Takaki Tohno quickly befriends Akari Shinohara when she transfers to his school. They grow closer to each other due to similar interests and attitudes; for instance, they both prefer to stay inside during recess due to their constitutions. As a result, they form a strong bond. Upon ending their school year, Akari moves to Tochigi, due to her parents’ jobs. The two keep in contact by writing letters, but eventually begin to drift apart.
“In 5 Centimeters [Shinkai’s] imagination may not leap to Hayao Miyazaki’s strange and wonderful heights, but he is better (blasphemy!) at piercing the veil of the everyday to reveal a poignant, evanescent beauty most of us notice only in rare moments … Is he really the ’new Miyazaki?’ He won’t become one by imitating the master, but at 34 he is the anime world’s bright new hope. That and a brilliant minor gem like 5 Centimeters per Second are enough, for now.” —Japan Times