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I agree that 5cm is still his best work but I also enjoyed Kotonoha and, argumentatively, I do not consider it a waste at all.
Those days I read some interview where Makoto mentioned that it was his first story about love as koi (as opposed to ai). He didn't add much more but, as I see it, if 5cm was about how those who gained consummate/mutual love (ai) and were meant to be as one can't possibly do so due to distance (understood not just as social alienation but as the world's irreducible spatial and temporal dimensions), Kotonoha deals with the motionless and timeless quality of love as pure longing (koi) which, versus the fast and unstoppable rhythm of the industrial world, can only be experienced by the nurturing of rituals: the almost religious repetition of their pointless meetings, in the same place and only in rainy days, built an autonomous time that allowed them to escape and eventually overcome their respective states of stagnation. Additionally, nature is vitalized once again but now in a generous way: if in 5cm the snow and the seasons were implacable enemies of love (as the spring that came too late), in Kotonoha the rain and the summer serve as love's enablers and accomplices. Also, the teacher was damned hot.
Post edited on 28th Jul 2014, 9:21pm