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Byousoku 5 Centimeter
by Salieri_Hiyajo on July 29th, 2018, 8:21am

Rating - 9.2 / 10.0

User rating of this review - N/A out of 5
Story/Plot - 5 out of 5
Characters - 4.5 out of 5
Drawing Style - 4 out of 5
Enjoyment - 4.5 out of 5
Overall - 5 out of 5

Click here for series information

*Some minor spoilers in the review for the overall story of 5 Centimeters per Second and its nature*

The manga adaptation of Makoto Shinkai's 5 Centimeters per Second is a very peculiar piece of literature in that, without first having seen the movie it cannot fulfill its sole purpose for existing: to expand on the ending of the film. Some people misinterpret this in saying that this manga has an 'alternate ending', when it really is just the 'full ending'.

Drawing Style
If we go further and start comparing the manga to the film, objectively it would stand no chance. It has none of the music, colours, and photographic composition that the movie has and the art of the manga isn't anything special. That isn't to say it is bad, mediocre, fine or just 'good', the art is really good: but nothing special. Of greatest note are the backgrounds; they are outstanding compositions of fine lines and rougher inking that allow the fine lines and whole grey shades of the characters to be well defined while also having those characters fit in nicely within the environments. Another thing of note are the panel compositions; the amount of zoomed out angles used are a thing of beauty when combined with the background sceneries Yukiko Seike draws with great detail.

What's a challenge for me is reviewing this in terms of aspects other than the art, which is the only real change between the original and the adaptations. With the story being the same one being told in a different format, the biggest changes don't take away from the overall experience. It's still 5 Centimeters per Second. The pacing is most notably different, but that is really only the scene by scene pacing; overall the story flows very well and it is understandable why the change in format would lead to scenes flowing differently. It's also important to note that when I say 'differently', there is no negative connotation attached to it.

On the subject of characters, nothing is really different, it's still the same story. The only changes are really improvements because they take two characters specifically and do something more with them. This expansion of characterization and resolution of their personal stories is brought about through the final two chapters, 10 and 11. Chapter 10 is the manga take of the 5 minute 'One more time, One more chance' song ending from the film and instead of it being the ending, or where the film ends, there is another chapter and that is reflected in the dialogue and presentation of the chapter. Chapter 11 is the 'full ending' I mentioned prior and ties up everything far more tightly than in the film, and I'm not here to claim that one is superior, its all up to personal preference. However, what i will say is that the ending gives that extra bit of characterization and a '5 years later' representation of that character. It's great, and when looking back at it, the nature of the how the original and adaptation end aren't too far apart.

I really enjoyed reading the manga adaptation of 5 Centimeters per Second, and I found that it made me feel the same way as the original film did: that is really sad at how bittersweet the story is. I could've enjoyed it a lot more had I know about it shortly after watching the film. It really is a manga that has to be read right after watching 5 Centimeters per Second; and like the movie, its very short but very well made.

It's a great manga to read soon after watching the original film, and while it can stand up on its own two feet as a fine manga, it really only shines when its given the role it was made for: being the 'full ending' of Byousoku 5 Centimeters.
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