Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimetres Apart

From the day they first met at Sakuragaoka High School, Miou Aida and Haruki Serizawa were drawn to one another, despite their different personalities. Miou, a talented artist, is shy and withdrawn; Haruki, who loves movies and dreams of one day being a film director, is outgoing and friendly. And yet, over their years together in high school, Miou and Haruki build a relationship in which they implicitly trust one another and share everything except the truth of their deep emotional bond. By the time they are in their graduating year at high school, it is apparent to all their friends – who have their own emotional entanglements to navigate – that Miou and Haruki are in love; and yet they cannot seem to find either the opportunity or the means to express their feelings. But time is running out for the would-be couple: Haruki, whose short films have already won local and regional competitions, has won the grand prize in a national competition, including a scholarship to study in America. Miou, meanwhile, makes a discovery about a traumatic event in her past, one that directly involves Haruki’s beloved late brother, Aki. The pressures from these colliding stressors set in train a series of revelations and reactions that threatens Miou and Haruki’s relationship before it even has a chance to begin; and, amid this turmoil, the two must decide whether the future they each thought they wanted – and wanted together – is really what either of them desires anymore…

Based on a song cycle created by the Vocaloid band HoneyWorks, “Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimetres Apart” was produced by animation studio Lay-duce, and first aired on Japanese television in November and December 2017. Given the source material and subject matter, it is hardly surprising that this series is accompanied by all the tropes and stereotypes of teenage romantic drama: syrupy opening and closing theme songs, lots of “soft lens” shots, and plenty of juxtaposing of the protagonists against blazing sunset skies. And yet, even in the midst of all this schmaltz, “Our Love”, in the space of only six twenty-five minute episodes, also manages to tell an effective – and often surprisingly affecting – story, mainly through a gently humoured sympathy for the confusions and ineptitudes of youth. Along the way, the narrative explores issues such as emotional awakening, the nature of memory, the fear of loss, the ironies of experience, and the necessity of making decisions and living with the consequences. Part of a franchise that includes illustrated novels and video games, as well as three feature-length animated films (“I Have Always Liked You” and “The Moment I Fall In Love”, both released in 2016; and “How to Enjoy The World”, released in 2020), , “Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimetres Apart” is undemanding and yet oddly engaging viewing that can be easily consumed in a single sitting for a mood-mellowing television binge.

Text ©Copyright Brendan E Byrne 2021. All rights reserved.