English: The Place Promised in Our Early Days
Synonyms: Beyond the Clouds, The Promised Place
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Nov 20, 2004
Duration: 1 hr. 30 min.
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 8.121 (scored by 29702 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsdrama makoto shinkai romance sci-fi
Jun 25, 2008
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
Mar 17, 2007
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
Mar 14, 2013
One summer’s day, three middle school students, Fujisawa Hiroki, Shirakawa Takuya, and Sawatari Sayuri made a promise to one day fly across the Tsugaru Strait and investigate the mysterious tower built in Hokkaido by the Union. Since that day, Sayuri has disappeared and as a result Hiroki and Takuya gave up on building an airplane to fulfill the promise. Years later, when Hiroki learns that Sayuri is in a coma, he tries to convince Takuya to resume work on the airplane. Even if Hiroki can persuade Takuya, a looming war threatens to destroy any hope of ever reaching the mysterious tower.
The first thing to emphasize is that, regardless of what the plot summary may sound like, this is not and should not be regarded as true science fiction. While there are definitely sci-fi elements in the show, the approach that the director takes uses them more as a backdrop for the main plotline than as an actual focus to the show. As a result, a lot of criticism is generated because the anime doesn’t “explain enough,” when in fact they’re missing the point entirely. The science-fiction is used to aid a story of love and friendship, not the other way round.
The second thing to bring out into the open is that truly appreciating the storyline requires both a tolerance of a deliberate pace and an appreciation for what at heart is a rather simplistic story. Both of these elements seem to have turned more than a few people off, but for me they only added to the films elegance.
Beyond the Clouds is not for everyone. It’s not only slice of life, but it’s really, really slow slice of life. In addition, the topics covered are very intelligent and scientific, and probably would be best enjoyed if you have a strong science background. Granted, I didn’t find this to be a bad thing. I enjoy slice of life series, slower series, and things that are intelligent, though I do admit it was a bit much even for me. Still, the story was superb, the execution was good, and the flow was decent, so I still gave it an 8.
The musical scoring uses a mixture of string quartet numbers and piano-based themes heavily reminiscent of Voices, which shouldn't be surprising since Tenmon, the individual responsible for scoring Voices, also worked with Shinkai on this project. These themes are very effective at supporting and reinforcing the moods of the scenes. The melancholy violin melody used on two different occasions is also a nice touch, and the ending theme song, whose lyrics were written by Shinkai, is beautifully performed.
The CG-based background artistry is incredible. This is cutting-edge artistic work which produces a plethora of beautifully detailed scenes. Most impressive are the breathtakingly gorgeous sunsets, an artistic theme which Shinkai uses repeatedly throughout the movie, and with good reason; I have not seen any animation, either anime or American-made, which is the equal of Place Promised in depicting such scenes. The Bella Ciela, the plane being constructed by Hiroki and Takuya, is also well-designed, and Shinkai infuses the production with many spectacular lighting effects which can normally be caught on live-action film but are extremely rare to see done effectively in animation. Also keep an eye out for other small but sharp details, like light flashing very briefly off a bracelet worn under a lab coat sleeve.
The only low point of the movie would be the characters, but not by much. Because this was a slice of life film that was very quiet and moody (and focused on the visuals), the characters suffered a bit. They weren’t developed basically at all, and we only knew about the thoughts and feelings of one of the male characters. The romance between two of the characters was definitely the strongest point of the character interactions, but nothing else hit me very hard. This is a movie you watch for the intelligent plot and (more so) the visuals, anyways. I would have liked to know a little more about the characters, though in the context of slice of life, maybe it wasn’t terribly necessary.
While The Place Promised in our Early Days exceeds expectations in many ways, its main joy is that it is just a wonderful, wholesome, inspirational, and extremely memorable movie to watch . I plan to watch it numerous times, just because it makes me feel so great inside. While this would still definitely be classified as an independent production, it is one of the few anime I have my eye on above all others at the moment.
Beyond the Clouds definitely reached my expectations as something amazing. I guess I just wish it would have been a bit shorter or had better pacing, so I wouldn't have been as occasionally bored. The transitions also really should have been fixed. In between each scene there would be several seconds of pitch black, including after a major build-up complete with booming music. The visuals are fantastic, music is great, and story is interesting, so what can you lose by watching this? These types of anime bring back those nostalgic feelings. Oh the feelings. read more
Apr 4, 2008
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.
Nov 4, 2007
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
Jun 9, 2011
Let's start with the good parts and get them over and done with. The artistry is outstanding. Sound design is great. Character animation is only average, but that's plainly not the creator's focus so that doesn't matter. You can write pages and pages on how painterly Shinkai's work is, how any single frame of the film can be picked out and put on the wall as a work of genuine art.
A film needs more than that to be an actual film. It needs a story, and believable characters, and this is where the film really falls down. The primary motivations, and actions of the characters may be convenient for framing the scenes Shinkai shows us, but on closer examination, simply fails to make sense.
Let's pick out one character. Okabe, the mentor to our main protagonists. We learn that he was separated from his family in Ezo by the separation, which led to him becoming a terrorist leader to fight the Union. So, his whole plan then is to strike at the Tower. Then when the heroes come to him, he lets them fly the missile and destroy the tower instead, after they show him their 'determination'.
How could a man whose entire life is lived due to the separation from his family agree to an operation which stands a high chance of destroying the entire world and by the end of the film, probably actually killed his entire family? That gigantic hole in Ezo isn't just for show. Why would he put everything into the single basket of the experimental plane built by a couple of highschoolers? Why can't they fly the UAV as well as the plane?
Look closely and the entire substance of the show is cardboard. Characters react to the start of WWII - with an unprovoked declaration of war by the US on the Union with total apathy, instead of, well, horror. The US declare war because of the Tower, but don't actually mount any direct attacks on it. The security on a classified research facility in which rests a woman whose staying asleep keeps the entire world in existence is surmounted by a single guy with a broken arm and a stolen keycard. The Union scientist who designed the tower decides for no apparent reason to make a device - at enormous expense - that will either destroy the world, or send his granddaughter into a coma, *and then* destroy the world when she dies.
Look at the frames of this film, and you're notice an interesting thing. The characters are rarely in the middle of the image. They flit in and out, hang around the peripheries, slanted or small. Sometimes their voices are silenced. Sometimes they just aren't there at all. It's like they are just guests, lucky children given a chance to play with the director's fabulous fabulous toys.
Shinkai needs a writer. Needs one badly.
Z. read more
Dec 25, 2010
Hiroki Fujisawa and Takuya Shirakawa are a pair of very capable ninth graders. They spend their time after school working a part-time job in order to buy parts for this airplane they're building. They hope to fly it across the Tsugaru Strait to Hokkaido, where a mysterious tower stands, dominating the sky. The tower is an enigma. It is a part of their landscape, their world, and they see it every day, but its purpose completely unknown. The boys eventually let a girl named Sayuri Sawatari in on their plans, and in the summer, they promise each other that they'll fly to the tower together. Then three years happen.
Hiroki's narration sets the mood for the film -- it is sober, despite the innocence of its opening scenes. The alternate history is established along with a sense of normalcy; the tower is nothing out of the ordinary because it is something that has always been there. And yet a sense of foreboding hangs over the characters from the very beginning and stems from the tower. It is an unnatural fixture on the horizon, looming over them like an obvious metaphor. There seems to be a lot of longing in Hiroki's voice as he describes the summer days, and he is reflecting back with a heavy sense of nostalgia.
And yet the days roll by rather lazily, and the story creeps forward slowly. Eventually, we are faced with the timeskip and Hiroki does not seem terribly eager to fill the viewer in with what transpired in those three years.
Not surprisingly, Place Promised reminded me a lot of 5 Centimeters per Second. Having only watched these two titles, it may be presumptuous of me to guess that the similarities I observed probably reflect the similarities in all of Makoto Shinkai's movies. But many creators do spend their entire careers creating and recreating the same story over and over again, so I don't think I'm that far off. The heavy emphasis on the importance and depth of mundane moments is the same. The bond between Hiroki, Takuya, and Sayuri is expressed best in scenes passing in silence. They are three kids watching the world pass by while standing next to each other, and that's all they need.
It's romanticist poetry to be sure, but after a while, I start to crave more actual depth. As characters, the trio is rather forgettable, and their relationships with one another are incredibly superficial. They don't seem to actually have much in common aside from their mutual fixation on the tower's mysteries, unless an apparent lack of interest in everything else counts. They spend a lot of time together, but I fail to see how their friendship is strong and special enough to warrant Hiroki closing himself off emotionally when it ends. I am not convinced. Everything is hinged on their promise to visit the tower. Even as the goal and center of the movie, am I wrong to think that friendship should mean more than just one promise? Do they have anything at all without that promise?
On the positive side, the alternate post-WWII history is interesting and portrayed well in that they aren't particularly explicit about anything. You have to infer most details, which makes it feel more realistic than if they dropped a lot of overt expository on you. Similarly, they don't go into a lot of detail with the technology involved in the tower and related things, and a lot is left up to the viewer's imagination. I always feel this works out a lot better than if they try too hard to sound legitimate and inject too much pseudoscience, since that only invites people to pick at exactly why it could never actually work.
And then there are the backgrounds. Once again, Shinkai's backgrounds are breathtaking to the point of being a huge distraction. The vastness of the skies and the beauty of the clouds does wonderfully to illustrate the distance between the characters and their quarry. The tower is a hazy structure in the distance, always there, but impossible to reach out and touch. There are many, many shots that emphasize this vastness, and the brilliance is highlighted further with the vibrant colors of sunset. Seriously, I'm pretty sure 85% of the scenes in Place Promised took place during sunset just so everything could be colored pink and purple and yellow and glorious, glorious gold.
There are more than just skies though. All the backgrounds are equally astounding: the classroom interior (with the sunset spilling in through the window), the hanger and the factory (with the sunset casting shadows from the openings in the roof), the train platform (with the sunset glazing over the surrounding fields), the sea (with the sunset shining over the glistening horizon), and the city (with the sunset peaking in between the skyscrapers). The details in everyday objects, in the road signs and lamp posts, is given every bit as much attention. Meanwhile, the characters remain plain, simple, and dull. Character designs are often sacrificed for gorgeous backgrounds, but Shinkai takes this to the absolute extreme. Placed in such stunning environments, who wants to pay attention to the characters at all? Especially when they spend so many moments lapsed into silence, also entranced by their surroundings?
The movie finally picks up in its final moments and surprise me somewhat by managing to build enough uncertainty that I couldn't guess exactly what was going to happen. Sadly, the indifference I felt towards the characters did not dissipate at any point, even towards the end, and ultimately, I could not bring myself to really care. Their relationships remained contrived and insincere to me, and for a movie hinged on themes of friendship, that ruined everything.
The Place Promised in Our Early Days had a decent premise and a lot of potential. I don't doubt that there are a lot of people that can thoroughly enjoy this movie, but I am starting to think that perhaps Shinkai's storytelling style just isn't for me. There is too much importance placed on perceived depth and poignancy. Such things are great and very powerful in small doses, but when weight of the entire movie is dependent on something so inexplicit, it becomes too variable. Like 5 Centimeters per Second, I think personal sympathies are required to get the most out of the movie. The characters are made to be generic so you place yourself in their shoes and project and invest your personal relationships onto the characters -- the depth of your real, specific relationships becomes the depth of the characters' relationships, but if you're unable to make this personal connection to begin with, then you will get very little out of the rest of the movie. Aside from pretty backgrounds. read more
Jan 30, 2008
Makoto is renowned for his narrative simplicity and stylistic detail: the viewer should expect a gently-delivered and largely "unexciting" story (until the final quarter of the film). Die-hard action-adventure fans are advised to keep their distance. What battles and mecha are absent from Makoto's work are wonderfully compensated with perfect art. Makoto's colors are something else: brave, original, unpretentious, and strongly conducive to speechlessness. More so than in "Voices of a distant star" and "5 cm per second," music in "Promised Place" is of a more theatric, but equally unearthly quality. Art and score combined produce an intensely "otherworldly" aura.
The characters of "The Place Promised in Our Early Days" are rather stationary, and similar to those in Makoto's other productions, are young, quiet, wounded, idealistic, and marvellously uninteresting - a return to realism from the moe/angst-fest unfortunately common to mainstream anime. Above other merits, characters here (and elsewhere in Makoto's projects) are representative (without explicitly stating so) of good sense, human integrity, and beautiful resilience to losing love, being alone, and growing up. Recommended to all admirers of "introspection" and maturity in anime. read more
May 9, 2009
It has a few really great scenes like that which float around, almost dreamlike in the first half of the film. It's slow, and a bit novelistic, letting us see the reality these three kids inhabit, easing us along at their pace instead of our own.
The problems arise in the latter half of the film, when too much is devoted to voice over narration explaining how each character feels instead of giving us the same sort of interesting scenes in the beginning which showed us how they felt. It loses that intimate feel it had and gives us half realized politics and sci-fi that really doesn't explain anything, a Macguffin that pulls you out of the plot instead of pulling you in like it's supposed to. The sci-fi elements are only supposed to be incidental to these characters, a means to tell a story about love, youth, alienation, and innocence lost. But too much of the story revolves around the tower and the sci-fi alternate reality bits to leave it as completely mysterious and unexplained as they did. Specifically why it's affecting Sayuri specifically (the fact her grandfather built it really isn't much of an explanation, or at least not a good one for a point around which the whole plot is built), is never answered making you feel as if you only really got half the story.
The whole affair loses focus after the three main characters separate and go or are forced to go their own ways. From that moment on it ceases to be a story we are experiencing with the characters on the screen and turns in to a story that's forced upon us in a way incongruent with the simplicity, and focus of the first half. read more
Feb 27, 2011
The movie is Shinkai's first full length feature, after the success of his promising, but ultimately a bit cheesy, 30 minute short debut titled Voices of a Distant Star. Like Voices, The Place Promised in our Early Days (henceforth I will shorten as The Place Promised) explores the way that time and distance impact our relationships, but with the full length, Shinkai is able to weave a much more complex, fulfilling, and beautiful tale. His maturation as a director also shows.
If you look up Makoto Shinkai on TVTropes, you might find a mention of him being perhaps the single greatest source of "scenery porn" in the anime world. That's probably true. Shinkai imbues his work with pristine hues and colors, capturing the beauty of sunsets, clouds, night skies, and bustling metropolis's. It's rarely an exaggerated way of doing things; even with the sci-fi element I will elaborate on in a bit, Shinkai firmly places his movies, particularly his last one, in reality. But visually, there is not a better director out there in any form of cinema, animated or otherwise.
However, there are a lot of works that can offer pretty visuals but little substance. Shinkai's work, lucky for us, gives us something to chew on. The Place Promised takes place in a sort of alternate time-line; Japan is split between the South and the North (Hokkaido), the South being jointly administered by Japan and the US. The North is mostly an enigma in this movie; we never see the people inside it or get to visit it, but it contains the most striking feature of the film - a large tower that reaches well into the upper atmosphere, up to the point where planes coast along in the sky.
In southern Japan, three friends find themselves encroaching on adulthood. Two boys; Hiroki Fujisawa and Takuya Shirakawa, take up a job putting together guided missiles at a small arms factory during the summer, earning some extra cash and material to work on the thing most occupying their spare time - building a plane to fly across the de-militarized zone the separates the North and South, to the tower in Hokkaido. Sayuri Sawatari, a close friend of theirs, and a possible source of something deeper, is asked if she would like to go along to the tower. She agrees, and a promise is made, and voilà, we have The Place Promised in our Early Days.
Time and change have a weird way of affecting people, and after a beautiful, warm summer day is spent between these three characters, Sayuri is never seen nor heard of again for three years. It seems that somehow, she is connected to the tower in the North, a tower that we learn has the ability to "replace" the space around it with that of another universe.
This is where the sci-fi comes in and the metaphor of the tower works so well. The reason that Sayuri seemed to disappear is that she is now, quite literally, permanently asleep, stuck in a dream world, unable to wake up. The dream metaphor works on two layers here; the dream, as in goal, of the three one day reaching the tower, a goal that now seems long gone, and the power that sleep-dreams actually have over our daily lives. Even the alternate universes that we learn of are described as a sort of "dream world."
The Place Promised packs an emotional punch as the two boys get embroiled in the distinct possibility of war breaking out between the two sides of Japan, and Takuya being directly involved in having the South figure out how, exactly, the tower in the North works. Still, Shinkai never loses site of the human aspect of the film, and the three main characters consistently remain at the center. His pace is deliberate but well-handled, continually expanding on the relationship between Hiroki and Takuya, and their struggles with each other and the world, as they learn about what happened to Sayuri.
This probably sounds very cliché, but the climax of the story hinges on the power that love has over one of the main characters. I'll leave it at that, but it is a thrilling decision that Hiroki makes, and one that could have serious implications for a lot of people.
The other technical aspects of this film are wonderful. Shinkai uses the advantages of anime adeptly; being able to have direct control over camera angles and lighting, Shinkai often "points the camera" away from characters as they talk, allowing you to take in the environment around them. One of my personal favorite little details are small lights that seem to "race" about the inside of a train as two characters have a dialogue.
Tenmon, the composer behind the music, has created a stirring, beautiful soundtrack of graceful violins and touching piano. It hits all the right notes, pardon the pun, peaking and diminishing at the right time, every time.
As Hiroki and Takuya "come of age," so to speak, they realize that, perhaps, some of their childhood fantasies will remain just that, fantasies. You can feel some of the innocence and wonder of these two young men disappear as the world frustrates them, and the weight of adult responsibilities comes to fruition.
Makoto Shinkai, has, ultimately, crafted a wonderful tale about life and love. A coming-of-age story about holding on what is most dear to us, not only our dreams and desires, but those we care about most deeply, and how it affects us if we lose them. Having seen this film 8 times now, I can tell you that the emotional punch has not dulled one bit, and the intrinsic beauty of the characters, the animation, the music, and the story, all help to create one of my favorite works of art from any medium. It is a slow, plodding film, one that will certainly not be for everyone. But if you can put aside the need for a faster-paced film, the wonder and imagination and heart of this film may just take you to a place you rarely get to go. It is, to me, a testament to the beauty that we humans can create.
Bottom Line: A deeply emotional, beautiful, painstakingly crafted film that works both metaphorically and literally, this coming-of-age tale of both love and loss, regret and redemption, is one not to be missed.
10/10 read more
Nov 9, 2008
While it's somewhat slow to develop and a little confusing at first, it's very innovative and quite touching in many parts. Very well executed, too. Unlike some animes, it's interesting enough on its own that you could write a book with it.
Probably the best thing about this entire anime. Shinkai could easily be a painter with this kind of art. It's strikingly beautiful through the whole thing. This, as well as Shinkai's other films, has probably the best animation I've ever seen.
The score stays in the background for most of this movie, but there are parts when it takes center stage - and it's a great score. It perfectly fits the tone of the movie.
Characters are very realistic. Never once did I think, "now why would you do that?" They're some of the most 3-dimensional and lifelike characters I've ever seen.
It was close to a 10 towards the end, but I have to say I found many parts of this movie a little boring.
Yep, pretty much. read more
Apr 1, 2013
What marks Shinkai’s first full-length movie also remains as his best work to this date. Unlike Voices of a Distant Star’s rather simplistic production, The Place Promised in Our Early Days instead features gorgeous visuals, a breathtaking soundtrack and a much stronger directing overall. Personally, this is the movie by Makoto Shinkai.
What makes The Place Promised in Our Early Days such a success is how it is built up; divided into four distinct parts, yet flowing into each other naturally. This way of telling the story strengthens it, since we see the main characters interact with each other and grow up; making us feel the strong bond they all share.
But much to my disappointment none of the three characters grow to anything much more than the blank slates they started as. On one hand, this lowers the emotional investment. On the other hand, this increases the chance for speculation.
You see, compared to Shinkai’s other works, this one stands out in how it tells an ambitious sci-fi story about three young children and their promise to travel to a seemingly endless tower reaching for the stars. As the movie goes on, so does the characters’ lives. We see them grow up and change, while we are also sparsely given details about how the world they live in functions.
This is an interesting approach, as when I finished the movie, I still had not fully grasped the story. There were still dots to connect, details to figure out and so on. With The Place Promised in Our Early Days Shinkai managed to tell a story that is as much as an exciting journey as it is an engrossing puzzle.
If I had to summarize this movie with one word, it would probably be: an experience. From start to finish I was completely absorbed into it and the ending left me with a feeling of admiration. It is the kind of empty feeling you have after finishing something really good. The fantastic music definitely played a big part in this.
In the end, I will most likely remember The Place Promised in Our Early Days for a long time. With the exception of a few dumb irks, such as a certain character doing a complete 180 to create drama and a scene bit too magical for my taste, this is a nearly perfect movie.
If only Shinkai could make me truly care about his characters.
Mar 9, 2009
I think a lot of different animes stimulate a lot of different feelings. Some are funny, some are sad, some are mysterious and confusing, but The Place Promised in Our Early Days made me feel a lot of different emotions all at once. I felt joy, sadness and relief in a way I’ve never experienced before. The movie is one of Shinkai Makoto three dominant works Voices of a Distant Star, 5 Centimeters Per Second and of cause The Place Promised… And while all of the three movies contain seemingly identical themes, they individually interpret friendship and the universe differently. In The Place Promised the existence of alternate universes is interpreted and the friendship of three middle school students is put to the test.
The Story is really made up of three parts: An introduction of the characters and their friendship, a phase of separation/despair (the dilemma) and an ending. This is not an uncommon composition. However Shinkai Makoto (the writer/director) has a very special way of making the parts look like three individual chapters in a book or three individual chapters in each of the characters life stories.
The introduction of the characters (the first part) has a distinctive slice of life feel to it, which works really well, since the first part of the movies is supposed to present the set of characters and make the viewer understand how special and precious their friendship is.
The second part of the story is set into motion by skipping forward in time. The sudden skip in time is possibly the only thing that disappointed me about the story or actually the composition of the story, not the story itself. I understand why the story had to move on, but I enjoyed the slice of life setting a lot and felt like the skip was all too sudden and harsh. Especially because the second part of the movie is a psychological drama.
The friends are separated and during the second “chapter” the plot of the story truly unfolds. Even though the story as a whole isn’t hard to follow, the second “chapter” contains a lot of information which is essential to the ending of the story and it can at times be confusing.
The final chapter contains a philosophical theme, since Shinkai Makoto raises the question as to “whether or not friendship can overcome seemingly impossible separation and bend the laws of the universe?”
In the end all the bits and pieces of the story come together to round off a beautiful and captivation story of friendship and love.
Personally I think the storyline is the most powerful part of the movie, particularly because of the powerful friendship which is shown throughout the scenes of the movie. All in all a very strong story making this movie worthy of recommendation no matter how bad the other elements of the production are.
The art of Shinkai Makoto is really distinctive but hard to describe. The only way for me to fully describe it is recommending everyone to watch at least one of his movies. I do nevertheless have a few comments about the artwork.
The characters are simple but their raw emotions are beautifully portrayed. This is important but also to be expected from a higher budget anime movie. However the scenery and animation of the friends’ aircraft really made me love the artwork. A lot of the frames in this film would make wonderful screenshot in part because of the studios tremendous amount of work, making sure the artwork would never be one of the movie’s bad characteristics.
The only mishap might have been the movements of the female main character Sawatari, Sayuri.
Most of her movements are very graceful and a pleasure to watch, but at one point I really though her running looked awkward. But only being able to point out one small and insignificant movement during a single scene is actually more of a testament to how well the artwork is then it is criticism.
All in all the artwork is superb and even better then I expected, at least compared to his previous OVA: Voices of a Distant Star. Even though the story is the strongest element of this movie, the art isn’t lacking far behind.
The sound is possibly the weakest element of The Place Promised in Our Early Days. I feel like the sound effects throughout the movie could’ve been better. The sound isn’t bad; I’m still giving it a 7, but this is the weakest point of the movie.
Don’t mistake me, I really feel bad for writing this about the sound because the music is great.
The ending theme by Ai Kawashima, Shinkai Makoto and Tenmon is magnificent and made me love the ending even more.
But I feel like it’s necessary for me to point of the weakest element of the film, even though I loved some parts of the sound.
I was stunned by how much well described character development Shinkai Makoto is able to bring into this movie, without damaging the story or overall entertainment value.
The cast of characters is good and their personalities are very befitting to the progress of the story. The three main characters are totally different and show different emotions to the same problems throughout the movie.
The two friends Shirakawa, Takuya and Fujisawa, Hiroki are the two first characters to be presented. The two middle school boys are totally different but still posses a very special friendship and understanding of each other’s feelings. The character development leads the two fiends in opposite directions. Shirakawa, Takuya being the most rational and intelligent, while Fujisawa, Hiroki is the more emotional of the two.
The female part of the trio, Sawatari, Sayuri, is very energetic and emotional..
Sawatari, Sayuri and Fujisawa, Hiroki share a special bond which makes them the main protagonists while Shirakawa, Takuya is a smaller yet important character.
The development of Sawatari, Sayuri and Fujisawa, Hiroki is portrayed through their special bond and the way they overcome the feelings of loneliness for the sake of love.
Their shared development is one of the major reasons why the story is so appealing.
It is also noteworthy how Shirakawa, Takuya becomes a more emotional and caring character towards the end of the moving, wanting to protect something very precious to him.
I really enjoyed watching this movie. The entertainment value is huge and it’s hard to criticize it because of the very appealing story and powerful character development.
The ending of the movie also concludes the story well and leaves the viewer satisfied with using 90minutes to watch something this great. All anime fans with a love for good artwork, a appealing story of friendship and hardships or intense character development should have this on their completed list.
Jan 2, 2008
Story - I personally really like the story, it was well written and everything goes well together.
Art - The art was very good considering I was watching via Veoh, If you watch the DVD. You will be very impressed by the art. Character designs are also really good for the main characters but the generic characters may seem lacking.
Sound - Absolutely wonderful, the music was really well picked and the ending theme really fits the movie well.
Characters - Overall I liked the characters, nothing to really complain about.
Enjoyment - I enjoyed every minute of this movie and would recommend it to anyone who watches anime.
Overall - The Place Promised in Our Early Days is a excellent movie and like I said I would recommend it to anyone.
P.S. I you do watch it pay attention to the little things the characters do, I will help you understand the movie better, so you don't have to go on Wikipedia to get a full understanding >_>.
Nov 19, 2012
-"A complicated love story told in a complex way."
This week I've been rewatching everything from Makoto Shinkai, and I still get impressed with the visuals of his movies and most of all with the complexity of the stories.
I better stop now... otherwise I'm probably leading to depression or a mental breakdown D:
Who's already familiar with Shinkai movies can doubtless tell this movie is about a love story.
However, the atmosphere created for this one is so impressive that can easily drive you away from the romantic side of the movie. That is why a lot of people and reviews tag it as "sci-fi", "WWII" or "mistery" because it has all these aspects mixed together, and each of them have its value in the plot.
In a alternative setting, just like 'Voices From a Distant Star', the background of the story is based in one of the numerous theories of physics that states the existance of numerous universes that can, sometimes, interact with each other, in this movie, through people's dreams. This is not something easy to understand, and Shinkai's signature manner of expressing characters emotions: through visual expressions or metaphores rather than words, makes everyone to be confused in the end.
Yes, this movie is a slow paced drama. I think it's better to understand if you compare the pacing of the story with the tempo of a song. Songs that have a slow tempo, usually symbolize sadness or melancholy, specially the ones with violins and pianos. This is exactly what this movie shows, the whole story goes trough the characters' loneliness and doubts.
If you're not in this kind of poetic stories, don't go for it, because you'll probably find it boring. The continuous twist between flashbacks and present will drive you to a point you have to pause and go back a few minutes to understand what you're watching, which is something I'd strongly advice, if you don't want to stay with that "WTF!?" face when the movie ends.
It's the third time I'm re-watching and each time I feel like I get more of the story then before. Even so, there are still some lose-ends that even watching 100 times wouldn't became any clear. This is a problem these convoluted plots usually faces.
Artwork is something I don't have the right to complain about.
Stunning visuals like paintings you see in art museums. With backgrounds, camera angles and light effects way better than a lot of high-budget Hollywood productions makes Shinkai's movies stand out from the average. His art is something easy to distinguish from distance since no other anime has the same kind of drawing, however it's hard to describe in words... Just google it and you'll get what I'm talking about.
My friend once said: "I was so damn confused with the storyline that after a while I started ignoring the subtitles and enjoyed the landscape!"
Characters just like in 5cm/s are ordinary people (Not so ordinary if you consider how much knowledge the boys had in mechanics and physics) but they were "emotionally" normal. None of them had a screwed up past neither have magical powers, just grew up like normal kids. The story could be better explored if Shinkai focused more in the character development. Their relationship sometimes seemed vague and I couldn't feel any depth on them. But now I'm starting to think this is actually his objective. Human relationships are always unpredictable, so the best way to express this is trough a sophisticated and open-ended character development.
Again, the partnership between Shinkai and Tenmon was a sucess with the score for this movie. It fills and completes every scene and in key times it takes the spotlight in the place of the dialogue or action.
In the end, I was for sure entertained. A little depressed maybe, but I really liked it. I felt like I watched something I'll always remember and will probably watch again and again. This is a movie every drama/romance anime fan should have in his "completed" section.
Considering the minor flaws in plot and character development I was thinking in 8/10 but will stay with the 9/10 score since it is a 90min movie so this lack of focus is acceptable. We also have to take in consideration that this was the debut of Shinkai in the movies and great masterpieces were still to come.
Don't be afraid to give this movie a shot, if you're considering it, do it already, you can regret later but it will not be the same as regreting watching a full 24eps TV show.
[Off-Topic] Am I the only one who thinks this guy's movies have awesome titles? I mean, it is not easy to create a catchy title and even harder if it's a long one...
Feedback greatly appreciated even the 'Not Helpful' ones. Also feel free to leave a comment :D read more
Aug 5, 2010
The artwork was fantastic, though I personally didn't particularly like the character designs. My only complaint about the otherwise amazing art is that I think it was a bit too detailed, too clean, too sterile, too computer overloaded. Lots of computer evidence can be found in the abundance of geometric forms. It's hard to explain, but it should make sense when you view his artwork. The gist of my complaint is that it doesn't have the human touch that I feel most great art has. The new Evangelion movie was computer overloaded too, but it still felt human. Speaking of, the computer room scenes looked like they were ripped right out of that show, I'll consider it a cute allusion, not plagiarism ;) Much ado has been made about the music, and I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't even notice it (except a certain scene involving a violin). Apparently I didn't notice a lot of other things. A flaw in the movie is that one has to pay extremely close attention to catch a few critical plot points, and at one of these points I was eating kind of sloppy chips and salsa, maybe my attention was too divided because for a while afterwards I was confused.
I never got too into the characters. Suffice to say, they were too simplified for me to really connect. Some things haven't really changed since Voices. Unlike Voices, the pacing was erratic, which slightly killed the mood for me.
In the end, we have a technically impressive movie which too often substitutes emotional bullshit for real character development and storytelling, attempting and failing to incorporate science fiction, and is clumsily paced. If Voices is a C, this is a B. Makoto Shinkai has tons and tons of potential, but a few weak points in his direction that need to be addressed before he walks in the league of the greats.
Feb 15, 2011
The place promised in our early days is film that feels fantastically out of touch with reality almost the whole way through. Animation and music direction are peaked throught. While the storyline itself is somewhat interesting, it's delivery is something that you don't experience often. It mentally detaches the viewer in a way that is difficult to describe, holding your emotions captive until the very end.The dialogue (and more often monologue) is EXTREMELY well written. It's Like listening to a well written and well read poem, with music and visuals that seem to match the words well. I do think that it felt a bit slow some of the time. However I feel that the dreamlike feel of the picture could not have been attained any other way. All in all my only complaint was that the storyline itself felt unfinished and untapped. More focus early on towards the history of the nation would have been beneficial in order to establish the setting more firmly, and such an addition also would have kept the beginning of the movie from dragging on too much. It would have also provided and interesting and artistic comparison between the situation with the main characters early in the plot, and the growing conflict in the country at that time. read more
Aug 12, 2007
I've even made it my favorite anime on my list.
I was blown away by the artwork and detail in this movie.
The sound was very well done even in the Dub (The Version I Watched)
The story was confusing, but that's what made it great. It gave you the same kind of mind-twist that Paranoia Agent gave off... It wasn't till towards the end that you actually know what's going on (And what's real... lol.) And the end kinda is... Well you'll just have to see...
Though there was great character development, I gave it a 9 because they didn't go as deep as some of the anime I've seen (But they did a good job of it...)
Overall I give it a 10 for the sheer brilliance of it and the enjoyment it brought to me (It's one of the few anime that was good enough to make me cry. -.-) read more
Dec 30, 2010
This is my favorite of Makoto Shinkai's works that I have seen so far (which includes 5 cm/s).
The story is brilliant and develops smoothly over the full hour and a half while keeping a bit of mystery in order to keep the audience interested.
I love scenery porn. The art is unmatched in terms of detail, style, and animation. They go above and beyond what is necessary and it might even induce a sort of sensory overload at some points. If you have seen his other works, then you will understand.
The sound is always wonderful and their are a few pieces with the violin that just melt my heart.
The characters are realistic usually and very well developed. If I met people like this in reality, I'd probably want to be their friends because they are really cool and likable.
Tons of enjoyment. More so on the second time through.
So, that's my review. Let me know what you think. Maybe something like "OMG how dare u give 5 Cm/S an average score while loving this so much. You hypocritical monster!?!" read more
Oct 15, 2008
Art: If the artwork in this movie doesn't amaze you, I don't think any other movie will. Artwork is amazing and will sure to blow you away.
Sound: Other than the fact the BGM was flawless, voice acting was very well done (I listened to the English dubbed one, so i have no comments for Japanese.).
Character: Great character. Even those side characters were well done. But the way they were introduced was rather bad.
Enjoyment: I found it a well used 1.5 hours of my life. Heck, I might even watch it again in the near future.
Overall: As of Shinkai's works, i give it a 10. read more