5 Centimeters Per Second

Yukiko Seike (illus). Vertical. 2012. 463p. tr. from Japanese by Melissa & Taka Tanaka. ISBN 9781932234961. pap. $18.95. F/MANGA
OrangeReviewStarThis story of first love and its power to shape future relationships was first produced as a film that became a breakthrough hit for director Shinkai in 2007. Vertical's manga adaptation of that award-winning animated film adds new scenes and layers of nuance to the tale of the young Takaki Tohno, a sickly and precocious teen whose memories and regrets come to dominate his romantic life. Themes of romantic ambiguity, miscommunication, and emotional paralysis add a modern edge to the timeless boy-meets-girl plot. Seike's clean, expressive art and the Tanakas' translation, which is as refreshingly free of romantic manga clichés as the source material itself, help to create an atmospheric, engrossing read. 5 Centimeters stretches the boundaries of its genre to deliver a poignant, authentic, and universally relatable story with a real emotional punch.
VERDICT One of the most impressive film-to-manga adaptations in recent years. Highly recommended for fans of first-love stories, shoujo readers looking for a different perspective, and fans of the movie.
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