5 Centimeters Per Second Episode II ~ Cosmonaut

Well, here’s the second part of my impression of 5 Centimeters Per Second! This time, we have Cosmonaut. Cosmonaut is the second episode after Oukashou (桜花抄). Cosmonaut refers to an astronaut, and this certainly does fit this episode as you will see later on.

Spoiler Warning! There may be spoilers, and if you want to watch this movie without any spoilers, do NOT read on ahead! Otherwise, read on.

Hover over the pictures for captions!

This time, Cosmonaut focuses more on Sumida Kanae, a senior in high school. Tohno Takaki from the first episode, Oukashou (桜花抄), also makes an appearance here, this time in his senior year of high school in Tanegashima. The story begins with Kanae in the middle of a slump. Kanae has been unable to focus on her surfing practice (on the suggestion of her elder sister) successfully as of late, and she is also pressured by a future career survey handed out in her high school. On top of that, she also feels that Takaki seems distant.

After school, Kanae waits behind in the motorcycle parking lot, hoping to spend as much time with Takaki, who is taking kyuudo (Japanese archery). It is obvious that she has been in love with Takaki, ever since he transferred in her middle school, and she wants to spend as much time as she can with him. Stopping by together at a convenience store to buy drinks, Kanae exits the store to see Takaki writing a message on his cell phone. Secretly, she think that it would be nice it was herself receiving the messages from Takaki. The next day, Kanae, seeing that Takaki has already left, decide to return home. However, on the way back home along the country road, she notices Takaki’s motorcycle parked and Takaki texting on a nearby hill. Kanae, happy to see him, joins him and converses with him about the future. Upon finding out that even Takaki doesn’t know what his future career will be, Kanae feels like a burden is lifted and she makes a decision. She folds her future career survey into a paper plane and casted it out into the winds, making a decision that she won’t worry about it and take her time. They both then drove back home together, stopping at a railroad crossing. A huge cargo containing a rocket stage component is towed along the railroad, and Kanae comments that they say that it will travel at 5 kilometers per hour (see the allusion back to Oukashou?) and that this will be the first launch of the year in a while. Kanae returns home, and Takaki is then seen looking at his phone, which contains a message addressed to no one. The message tells about Takaki’s recurring dreams in which Akari appears.

Afterward, Kanae manages to surf successfully for the first time in 6 months. Kanae is in high spirits following her conversation with Takaki about the future, and she resolves to confess to Takaki. She meets up with Takaki right after school, and they stop by a convenience store to buy drinks. Kanae, however, falters in her confession at this moment, slowly realizing something. After buying drinks, Kanae’s motorcycle fails to start, and Takaki offers to walk back home together with her. Walking back, Kanae starts crying as she finally realized what was the reason for her faltering. Takaki is surprised and watches over Kanae when a rocket is launched. Both Takaki and Kanae are momentarily distracted by the sight and thundering sound of the rocket launch, and when the launch is over, they stood gazing out in the skies. We then hears Kanae’s monologue about her realization, the realization that Takaki would never see her in the same way that she wants and that he is searching for something far greater beyond her. She recognize that she is helplessly in love with him, and on that night, she cries herself to sleep.

Impressions:

Cosmonaut is another great, realistic story that ties in nicely with Oukashou (桜花抄). We already have our background on Takaki from Oukashou, so this story instead focuses on a high school classmate, Kanae, who is in love with him. As we follow Kanae’s thoughts and feelings, we can see that she is truly in love with Takaki and that she also has an uncertainty about her future. In this way, she is portrayed as a true-to-life character whom we can understand. Two major themes here in Cosmonaut are that of unrequited love and the uncertainty of the future. Unrequited love can be painful and we can sympathize with Kanae because we all been there and know this feeling (I once had an unrequited love, but I lost my chance right before high school graduation). As for the uncertainty future, no one can know what he or she will do in the future, and Kanae is no exception to this. Despite this, she can take her time as it is her own choice after all. She learns that we shouldn’t worry too much about the future and focus on making the most of the present. Cosmonaut also has beautiful visuals, fittingly music from Tenmon, and great characters. Cosmonaut is a great, unique, and sad love tale that complements Takaki’s separation from Akari in Oukashou.

Once again, I strongly recommend watching this movie if you’re looking for a slow, realistic movie. Expect the final episode impressions to be out soon as well!

Other works by Shinkai Makoto: She and Her Cat, Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days

First episode here!

Final episode here!

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2 Comments

Filed under 5 Centimeters Per Second, Movies, Reviews

2 responses to “5 Centimeters Per Second Episode II ~ Cosmonaut

  1. This is by far, my favorite of the three acts. Kanae is the most fleshed out character and her story is the most gratifying and, well, uplifting. I was a bit disappointed by the movie as a whole (though I still thought it very good), expecting more out of Shinkai by this point, but this part was absolute genius to me.

    • I agree that Cosmonaut was the most gratifying out of the three acts as well, and it was really nice and bittersweet to see Kanae struggle and coming to terms with her unrequited love.

      Also, there’s another movie from Shinkai that recently just came out in May, Hoshi o Ou Kodomo. I haven’t watched it yet, but it looks really nice and has an interesting story. I do hope that both Shinkai and this movie will deliver when the Blu-ray version comes out…

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