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Posted 2/28/09
Simply a beautiful movie. There are so many aspects of this movie that I could discuss. I think that I will mention some images and sequences that really struck me. The attention to detail really struck me. For example there is a scene in the first film when the young Takaki is looking out the window as they pass a rail crossing and it's red light briefly illuminates the train car as it passes. the tension that was created while Takaki was on the train and it got delayed longer and longer was almost tangible. Then when he finally arrived at the station and Akari was still waiting for him made me really happy, that it turned out to be a happy memory. I love the sequence of the pair walking in the crunchy snow, with the telephone poles dimly sillouetted in the background.

Some of the sequences I loved in the second short film were of course that spectular opening shot of the young boy and girl looking out towards the horizon on an fantastical alien world. At first I thought the film might take place on an alien world but then it became apparent that it was still present day Japan. I really loved the sequence when the pair are stopped at the crossing wait for the massive truck with the rocket to slowly go by and contrasts that with the later sequence when the rocket actually lifts off, first traveling at a snails pace along the road, than later racing of the planet towards the stars. Both instants make the Takako and Kanae stop and watch it together. There is a great image as the rocket is being launched at sunset, as it lifts higher into the sky and the vapour trial it leave behind eventually divides the screen in half. Half the screen is brighter and sunnier while the other half is slightly darker and in shadow with rays of light sort of slanting through the vapour trail, it demonstrates Makato Shinkai's attention to detail and artistic talent.

I think the last thing that I will mention here is the use of sound. At points there wasn't a lot of dialogue however the film was far from silent. For example in the first film when the the young Takaki and Akari are walking along the road, we hear the crucnhing of the snow under their feet. In second film, there is the scene where we see and hear Takaki practicing archery. There is the sound of the string of the arrow being pulled back till it is taunt, then there is a sudden explosive whoosh as is fires of the string and that the loud thud as it hits the target. Often the is just these sounds that support the action of the film and give it a sense of realism and authenticity. The musical score is spare. Supporting the action on screen without overwhelming it.

It really is Makato Shinkai's ability to take the everyday things in our world and draw out their inherent beauty that really makes this film.

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Posted 3/1/09
I did tear up at the end, partly because of the song. It's really realistic with is why it's easy to understand. It is a must watch, really. It is a sad ending in the way that their relationship got cut but they both had moved on at the end. The train ending was expected though I found that TWO trains crossing is a bit funny.
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Posted 3/6/10
i say that it is just a MASTERPIECE!!! although i m kind of a romantic guy and i would like sooooooooooooooo much to end up together in the end,that kind of the end was extremely awesome!! it shows how we can move on in life....A romantic story,a beautiful memory without future...it existed but that was all! sad yet nice! i liked it sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!!!!!!!!!11
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22 / F / in my motherland'...
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Posted 3/6/10
oh and of course the music was just WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
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Posted 3/6/10
i m most connected with takaki somehow...and kanae....
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Posted 3/7/10
I posted the following in another forum about this film, but I thought I should cut and past it here as well.:

I didn't cry, but every time I see this film I always end up thinking about it. A lot.

I think that Takaki's inability to move forward is due in part to his inability to recapture his perfect moment, and in part to circumstance.

Why he and Akari lost contact with each other was not fully explained. I can only infer, judging from other Shinkai films, that time and distance interfere, making attempts at communication almost pointless. Shinkai loves that time/distance theme.

This isn't to say that circumstances are purely to blame for Takaki's dis-function. He is stuck, obsessively seeking to recapture the same emotions and feelings that he had in that one moment with Akari. Akari at that point, has merely become a symbol, a phantom-dream woman, who's face he can no longer see or even clearly define. He is unable to move forward seeking to duplicate that very same perfect moment in time. So many people are the same. We tend to cling to ephemeral phantoms of the past.

I wonder about the intention of the second chapter. Was the character of Nanae merely there to illustrate Takaki's inability to move on? Or was it her own inability to communicate her feelings to him, thereby preventing a catalyst for a new perfect moment? The spaceship take-off distracted from what may have become, in that almost perfect moment, a catalyst for him. In addition, there is the repeated (and odd) interference of trains. At the very end, perhaps the interference of the symbolic two trains passing in opposite directions, became an epiphany for him; It is not possible to recapture a moment that has passed. You can only cherish it as a memory. No moment is ever repeated, There is no point in time that can be perfectly duplicated. Perfect moments can be found in any time or place, if you are willing to accept them.

I think the point of the film is to make us examine how, and why, we are sometimes able to move on, and sometimes not. I think that most people have had a "perfect moment" similar to the one Takaki experienced with Akari. Are there other perfect moments? Sure. They are not the same perfect moment, but they can be found if the person is receptive to them. We change. We age. Our perceptions change. Time changes us. Each passage of time is like a snowflake, or a cherry blossom, ... all unique, not one duplicating another.
We can only hope, at the end of the story, that Takaki finally figured this out.

In any case, this work is a MASTERPIECE. The fact that is was all drawn and animated with such detail and beauty just makes it more so.
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