In an alternate timeline, Japan was divided after losing World War II: Hokkaido was annexed by "Union" while Honshu and other southern islands were under US sovereignty. A gigantic yet mysterious tower was constructed at Hokkaido and could be seen clearly from Aomori (the northernmost prefecture of Honshu) across Tsugaru Strait. In the summer of 1996, three 9th-graders had made a promise that one day they'll build an aircraft and unravel the tower's mystery, but their project was abandoned after the girl, Sayuri Sawatari, began experiencing sleeping sickness and transferred to Tokyo for better treatment. Three years later, Hiroki Fujisawa accidentally found out that Sayuri had been in a coma since then, and he asked Takuya Shirakawa to help him finding a way to revive her. What they don't know yet is that Sayuri's unconsciousness is somehow linked with secrets of the tower and the world.
The Place Promised starts out with a very tranquil slice of life setting, but don't get fooled by first appearances. It soon takes on a more dramatic tone, with a sense of sci.fi. over it too, depending on which of the two male leads' story it's currently following. With the dreams of the female lead poppign in here and there, you have three fantastic story which grabs you on a deep, emotional level, and it all ends with blending the three together in one splendid end scene, which I'll remember a long time.
The characters in The Place Promised are fantastic, deep and lifelike. Note the latter; they're lifelike. They're just normal kids going through all this, and that helps you to connect with them, you feel like you want them to achieve their dream from the bottom of your heart.
The artwork is a marvel. I'm completely astounded by its quality, especially the lighting and shading, which helps set the tone of the movie; calm, yet dramatic. Background artwork and overall quality are both top-level, so that alone is something to look forward to.
The music is pretty good; some sad and becalming themes blends right into the whole tone of the movie, and they are overall very good.
I enjoyed the movie a great lot, especially because of how you connect with the characters, but also because it presents a mood that is very sad, yet calm. Everything was so peaceful, I felt, even during the short action-packed scenes, and the final scene of the movie was very becalming and very peaceful.
To 'Not Helpful' voters (and you 'Helpful' voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =)read more
Makoto Shinkai's first feature-lengthed work - The Place Promised in Our Early Days.
Story: Just like Voices in a Distant Star and 5 Centimeters Per Second, this is a story about 2 people and their distances. Unlike Voices where their distance is that of time and space, Place Promised is about their distance across dimensions/dreams/reality. What I like about this concept is how well Shinkai presented it. Sayuri (our heroine) is physically in the world, but spiritually trapped in another. It is very touching to see Hiroki (our hero) search for Sayuri knowing that she is very close yet at the same time very far away from him. While the whole together->separation->search part of the story exciting to watch, the sci-fi/war part felt a little boring. I can understand having that part in the story since we are dealing with the concept dimensions, but it felt a little out of place and it took away from the whole experience.
Animation: This is one of the stronger points in this movie. The animation is absolutely gorgeous. There are two things that make this movie incredibly beautiful. The first is the background and the use of colors. The background really speaks to you with its detail and vibrant colors. You can really feel the depth and it is really moving. The other part of the animation that makes it gorgeous is the lighting effects. It is carefully used to emphasize those "key" moments in the movie. It really gives you one of those "whoa" moments where it pushes you back into your seat.
Sound: Tenmon is a genius. In order to bring out the emotions of a movie, the BGM is key and Tenmon delivers. The BGM is beautiful and fun to listen to. Also, the score played by Hiroki and Sayuri on the violin is incredible. The only thing lacking in the sound department is an amazing theme song. Kimi no Koe feels a little weak in comparison to the BGM and it failed to capture my attention.
Character: There is nothing really special about the main characters. You can say that they're normal. But perhaps thats the appeal of it. Watching these kids grow and become more resolve is an enriching experience. There is nothing special about the supporting characters as well.
Overall, it was a very good movie and an excellent follow up to Voices. I am definitely looking forward to finishing up 5cm per Second.read more
I watched Makoto Shinkai’s first major work, Hoshi no Koe (Voices of a Distant Star) a year before watching this. Hoshi no Koe was nothing short of breathtaking. The animation, pacing, and plot were all top notch and even more surprising, it was essentially done by one person. After way too many delays, The Place of Promise in Our Early Days was finally released.
My initial impression was, ohh pretty. The animation was fantastic; everything was clean, crisp, and vivid. Although, sometimes a bit too clean, crisp, and vivid. This is especially true for the interior backgrounds. I think of a brand new shinny kitchen appliance with I see some of the interior backgrounds. However, the "nature" shots didn't give me that impression. Overall, the animation was very beautiful and well done.
As for the music....well it was pretty good, as expected of Tenmon however, it really didn’t stand out.
The rest however, doesn't really fare as well. As I watching I couldn't help get the feeling that he was trying to do the same thing he did with Hoshi no Koe. Hoshi no Koe was 30 min short exploring the theme of "long distance love." Being a short film it really didn't have much of a plot, nor did it attempt to. The Place of Promise in our Early Days on the other hand seemed like it was going to explore a theme like Hoshi no Koe did yet the same time try to tell a concrete story. This produced a horribly paced movie. First its going nice and slow producing this calm nostalgic feel. Then things move too fast and you're wondering what happened. Essentially the pace is too fast and too slow all at once. The movie should have only been 50 minutes at most. Interestingly enough was what was originally planned out to be. I felt this was a very good 50 min OVA, then scenes were made longer and added extra stuff (ie the sci-fi stuff) to make this mediocre 90 min movie.
Because of the lack of focus the characters suffered quite a bit. Their relationships weren’t explored enough nor did I feel there was any depth to them. In addition, I wasn’t convinced of the love between Sayuri and Hiroki. Once again they didn’t spend enough time on the characters.
The Place of Promise in our Early Days is a beautifully animated film with lush and vivid detailed. However, it sometimes suffers from being too clean and vivid, giving it that new shinny kitchen appliance look. The music was excellent but not memorable. The Place of Promise in our Early Days suffer fatally from its poor pacing that makes the movie feel too fast and too slow at the same time. read more
It should be noted that first of all, I’m writing reviews for both The Place Promised in Our Early Days and 5 Centimeters per Second at the same time (and as such, I’ll be including the same opening paragraph). Both of these series, feature films, animes, whatever you want to call them hold a special place in my heart/head, again your call. Not because they’re overly interesting or because they’re extremely entertaining but because they make me sad. Strange, right? Well, I’m willing to bet that any anime lover will instantly favorite (no, not add to their favorite list or anything grand) any anime (or anything for that matter) that can hit a cord within him or herself. Anything that can resonate with our frequency or run parallel to our curves; anything that can make us think about our own lives or make us grow as a person; anything that brings a new light to our eyes or makes us hold our breaths; in short: anything that changes our lives if only for a moment is something we’ll remember forever. Shinkai Makoto is one of the few directors/writers to have done so to myself.
Let’s get to it shall we?
The Place Promised in Our Early Days begins simply enough. Without going into too much detail (I’m sure you can find a summary if need be), we’re thrown into the rather mundane lives of Fujisawa Hiroki and Shirakawa Takuya. Both are rather normal; attend school, participate in club activities and hang out. What strikes with us is that they’re rather normal. Hiroki is a regular teenage boy with a crush on a cute girl Sawatari Sayuri. As the world they live in is slowly unraveled and we see the differences between ours and theirs we also see how Hiroki and Takuya are different from normal boys. It is during this first part that we get to see watch the key scenes of friendship between Hiroki, Sayuri and Takuya. Despite the differences in their setting we get to see that they’re, in fact, just like us. They have dreams and aspirations – Shinkai Makoto has truly created characters we can relate to and understand. This sets us up for the later parts where as the story delves closer towards the two male protagonists, we can clearly understand their current actions as influenced by their early days.
The story plays a significant part in how the characters are developed. Without the given setting or ramifications of the war, we wouldn’t have this story. At first, the viewer is fed a slice of life drama that depicts the three main protagonists. This is our humble introductory into a much larger scheme. As the story shifts past the early days, a more sci-fi approach is given through Takuya’s eyes while Hiroki experiences a saddening drama. Finally, through our female heroine’s eyes, we see the surreal visions she trudges through. All this goes back to our characters and how we perceive, sympathize and care about them. Our three views collide at the end in a climax much akin to the beginning – with our protagonists united and their (current) aspirations coming to fruition. The Place Promised delivers a story you want to succeed because you’re emotionally tied to these characters and their situations. If not for the narrative voice, we’d be in the Stone Age of passion.
Art and Sound:
As expected from Shinkai Makoto, our eyes and ears a treated to some of the best the industry has to offer. The art work will blow any anime series out of the water thanks to the high budget. As mentioned before, the entire experience of character and story must be unified and what better way to do so than imagery and sound?
I wrote this review first (i.e. before 5 Centimeters per Second) because I watched it first. It was also one of those anime’s I didn’t give a second thought to buying. I said it before and I’ll say it once more (I didn’t mean for that to rhyme >_<) The Place Promised in Our Early Days provides a fusion of character depth and a surreal view of how friendship and love know transcend all obstacles. Given the characters and situations they’re placed in, we can all sympathize with one of them and that’s what strikes home. Shinkai Makoto does this well thanks to the combination of amazing narrative voice and beautiful imagery – something you’ll rarely see done well. read more
Makoto Shinkai has been called "The New Miyazaki" due to his amazing talent and stunning visual works. What are his 10 best rated films and short anime commercials on MAL? Let's take a look at them now!
Monster Musume, a.k.a. Everyday Life with Monster Girls (Monsutā Musume no Iru Nichijō) asks a few simple questions: What if all the mythical creatures you'd read about were real? What if some of them lived with you—and were madly in love with you? Read on and find out!