Anime Contemplation Carefully considering the world of Anime, episode by episode.


5 Centimeters per Second

This sentence will be stuck in my head forever

5 Centimeters per Second tells the story of the relationship between two elementary school students, Tohno and Akari. Both met while at school and quickly established a strong bond due to their similar interests. However, on graduation Akari ends up going to a different school which is some distance away but they still stay in touch by writing letters. Later, when Tohno informs Akari that he's moving to Kagoshima (a very long way away!) they decide to meet one final time at Akari's town, Iwafune. Due to heavy snows Tohno's train journey is delayed by several hours but they eventually manage to meet and share their first kiss out in the snow.

From here, the film follows Tohno to his new school. Even after several years he still longs for Akari, ignoring the advances of another girl, Kanae, at his school and seeing her just as a friend.

I'm not going to write any more about the plot as while there is nothing to spoil as such, this is truly something that you need to watch - just reading about it isn't enough. The art and animation within this film is absolutely stunning, it is without a doubt the best I have ever seen. The snowy scenes during Tohno's journey are almost dreamlike and the scenery of Kagoshima looks amazing. The music used in each scene fits very well and really adds to the emotion of each scene. The only thing I slightly dislike with the music is the song used for the ending, the lyrics are very good but the song itself didn't seem to be quite right to me. I'm sure others will disagree and say that it was a perfect accompaniment though.

Admittedly, the end did leave me slightly confused. Due to the lack of narration it's difficult to grasp what is going on, but after re-watching the end segment I think I fully understand. Without a doubt, this is the saddest ending to an anime i've seen, but any other way would be a huge anticlimax. Of course you may interpret the ending in a different way due to the lack of narration but it seems that the happiest possible ending - [spoiler]Tohno and Akari getting together again[/spoiler] is also the most unlikely. I personally think that [spoiler]because she didn't wait for him at the barriers[/spoiler], Tohno is able to move on, hence his smile.

DVD and BluRay editions of the film are scheduled for release on the 28th of March 2011 in the UK. After watching this film I immediately went to pre-order it, it is truly an outstanding film that I suspect I will watch many times. Update: Unfortunately, Manga UK have said that a BluRay release is now looking very unlikely due to licensing restrictions which is a real shame, this film looks truly amazing in HD. However, I still plan to buy the DVD if only to give back in some form for this amazing film.

Takagi's train heads through the snow

Iwafune town in the snow

Akari and Takaki walk across the snowy fields

Kanae and Takagi overlooking Kagoshima. Kanae has a love interest in Takagi but he's still interested in Akari

Takagi's office - note the Catbus magnet from Studio Ghibli's My Neighbour Totoro

The Tokyo cityscape, a great example of the film's outstanding visual quality

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Asobi ni Iku yo! Introduction and Opening

Asobi ni Iku yo! Title Screen

Asobi ni Iku yo! (あそびにいくヨ! / Lets go and play!) is the anime adaptation of a light novel of the same name. One day 16 year old high school student Kio is introduced to Eris, a self proclaimed alien. However, Eris isn't an alien in the traditional sense - she's got cat eats (nekomimi), a tail and is fluent in Japanese! However, her status as an alien quickly attracts the attention of many factions and organisations who seek to capture her - it's up to Kio to help protect her. The animation is quite impressive and does a good job of showing off the beautiful island of Okinawa.

The opening song is Now loading..SKY!! by Sphere. The opening itself is pretty standard, showing off most of the main characters and the music fits this. In other words, it's nothing special but it will suffice.

Eris - our lovely well-endowed main character

Eris flying her spaceship, this sequence is very well animated and I hope we get to see more of this in the series itself

The cast, from left to right: Aoi, Kio, Eris and Manami. Oh, and Eris's helper robots!


Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 2

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 2 Cover

Volume 2 of the Spice and Wolf Manga was released a few days ago, after reading Volume 1 a few months ago and being amazed at the quality of the manga I instantly put volume 2 on pre-order. Like volume 1, it has a  small parental advisory imprint on the cover but if anything, volume 2 is far more 'safe' than the first volume. Like volume 1, the artwork is superbly detailed - Keito Koume is an outstanding artist.

Unusually, volume 2 contains no full-colour pages - unlike volume 1 and almost all other mangas. I was somewhat disappointed at their absence but nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed reading volume 2.

In relation to the light novels, volume 2 of the manga covers volume 1, chapters 4-5 of the light novel. Considering that volume 1 of the manga covered volume 1, chapters 1-3 of the light novel I was expecting volume 2 of the manga to finish off volume 1 of the light novel. However, it seems like we'll have to wait for volume 3 of the manga to see the ending of volume 1 of the light novel! I suspect the reason for this is the extra content that volume 2 of the manga has added to the story. While the story line in the manga stays true to the original, there is an extra scene of Holo conversing with her [spoiler]captors[/spoiler] - something that isn't in the original light novel.

Volume 3 is set for release on the 16th of November 2010 Update: Amazon now lists it as the 20th of January 2011, not heard confirmation from Yen Press about this yet Update 2: Amazon dispatched this on the 23rd of November 2010 so I can expect it soon (and Volume 3 of the light novel is set for release on the 7th of December 2010) - i've got my copy pre-ordered in anticipation!

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 2 is Available from Amazon, ISBN 9780316102322.