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The Best Anime Like 5 Centimeters Per Second

Updated June 17, 2019 698 votes 203 voters 7.9k views13 items

In 2015, Makoto Shinkai exploded into fame with his smash hit anime film, Your Name. But Shinkai has actually been creating anime movies since long before that. One of his most noteworthy films, 5 Centimeters per Second, encapsulates many of the themes that appear repeatedly throughout his body of work. The anime tells the story of Takaki and Akari, two middle school students who fall in love but are separated when Akari's family has to move. It's a tragic story about the inevitability of change and a love that can't find a way through reality, no matter how powerfully felt. 

With such a touching premise, you may be wondering: are there other anime like 5 Centimeters per Second? Of course, there are. Many of these are movies like 5 Centimeters per Second, which are also directed by Makoto Shinkai. These include Voices from a Distant Star, a film about two students separated by space travel, The Garden of Words, which is about a forbidden relationship between a teacher and a student - and, of course, Your Name. But there are also full-length anime similar to 5 Centimeters per Second. One great example is Tsuki ga Kireiwhich offers the same introspective mood and basic conflict, but which explores what would happen if they were able to overcome the challenges of a long distance relationship.

Which of these anime do you think is the best choice for a fan of 5 Centimeters per Second? Vote up your favorites to help guide your fellow fans!

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  • Your Lie in April
    Photo: A-1 Pictures

    Sometimes, what stops a pair of middle school lovebirds from being together isn't distance - it's an illness. When Kaori Miyazono and Kousei Arima meet, both of them are dealing with some troubling life circumstances. Kousei's mother recently passed away, and the trauma of his loss has left him unable to play piano. Meanwhile, Kaori wants desperately to play violin, but a serious health condition that will cut her life short may make that impossible. As the two of them grow closer and closer through their mutual passion for music, the specter of Kaori's illness looms in the distance - until it eventually makes it impossible for them to be together at all.

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  • Voices of a Distant Star is one of Makoto Shinkai's earlier works, just like 5 Centimeters per Second is. It features a similar conflict - two teenagers in love who are separated by circumstances beyond their control. But Voices of a Distant Star had a sci-fi twist to it that 5 cm didn't. Rather than being simply separated by a family move to another part of Japan, Mikako and Noboru are separated by outer space. While Noboru enters high school on Earth, Mikako is chosen for a space expedition to explore the ruins of Mars. Despite being as far away from one another as it's possible to be, the two still endeavor to keep their relationship alive by exchanging messages.

    • Category: Film
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  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
    Photo: Madhouse

    If you're looking for another emotionally intelligent, artistically stunning anime movie, you should probably watch The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Makoto Konno is about to graduate high school, but she isn't prepared for the changes that are coming her way. Rather than decide what she wants to do when school ends, Makoto just wants to continue living a carefree life with her friends. When she discovers that she can literally leap through time, she thinks that she may have found a way to do just that - but attempting to outsmart time has its consequences.

    Both movies highlight the power of love, but also the impossibility of preserving it. 

    • Category: Film
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  • Like 5 Centimeters per Second, The Garden of Words is a Makoto Shinkai production that focuses on a romance that faces serious roadblocks. It's also one of Shinkai's few films that does not focus on the supernatural, making it a fine choice for those who appreciated 5 cm's grounded nature. Yukari Yukino is a teacher who is skipping out on her job after being harassed by a group of students. Takao Akizuki is an aspiring shoemaker who skips first period to work on designs. The two become close when they meet in the park - but that closeness takes an unusual turn when the two begin to develop romantic feelings for one another - feelings that may never be able to come to fruition because of their age difference.

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