— Temporal Vortex

Implication of Emotional Distance: Fear Rising from Uncertainty in Cosmonaut (5cm per Second)

In the previous post about 5cm per Second, it was discussed how emotional distance manifested in the two characters: Tohno and Akira.  A factor that greatly affected this is their physical distance. It is possible that their physical distance caused them to think that their relationship and their emotions has no space for their not-so-feasible long distance relationship.

In Cosmonaut, on the other hand, Sumida and Tohno are not physically distant. They are, in fact, schoolmates. They even go home together and buy a drink on their way home. Despite this, their feelings for each other are not complementary, which means they are not on the same page in terms of their feelings. Tohno sees Sumida as a friend while Sumida is obviously in love with Tohno. This establishes the distance between the characters. This distance has some implications for the two characters.

Tohno has been shown typing emails, and later in the show, the viewers learned that he was not really sending these emails to the supposed receiver. This can be a result of an uncertainty that he perceives due to the circumstance that he is in. As said in the Oukashou post, Tohno may see the physical distance between the supposed receiver and him to be an inappropriate context for the content of his emails. The emails may be a re-portrayal of the letter that he was not able to give or even let Akari know of. This may have been done to support and follow up on the story of Tohno and Akari. Also, it may be a way for the characters to share a similarity of being emotionally distant to the one they want the most– Tohno to Akari and Sumida to Tohno.

Sumida experiences with Tohno what the latter experiences with Akari. She finds it hard to let Tohno know how  she really feels for him. She may be afraid of being rejected (who isn’t anyway?) or she may simply lack knowledge about what to expect when Tohno finally knows, which makes her too anxious. She even prepares for their daily interaction so that she will not show any signs of attraction to Tohno. This experience of fear seems awfully similar to the experience of uncertainty that Tohno and Akari experienced with each other (as discussed in the previous post regarding the topic).

The fear that Sumida experiences may be coming from the uncertainty that arises when her hope and her knowledge of Tohno’s potential other, Akari (which Sumida seems to not know of), pulls against each other. Her hope of being happy with Tohno once she finally expresses her love and her knowledge of Tohno not ever looking at her the same way may be the source of this uncertainty. If either hope or reality (that Tohno has someone else) is absent, then there would be no uncertainty. There will only be either a straightforward confession (if there is only hope), or acceptance of the fact that Tohno does not see her that way she sees him (if there is only knowledge of that fact).


In the end, Sumida did not confess and her hope has vanished. There is no longer uncertainty and fear. What is left is space for acceptance that she may have to find another person. However, I do believe that if Sumida tried confessing, even if there is the possibility of being turned down, there may have been either a happier ending for the two, a sadder ending for Sumida, a stronger Sumida. The possibilities are endless. Okay, I’m starting to deviate. Gotta end this post. XD

img credit: Shinkai Makoto

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