The people of Iorph live far away from the lands of men, weaving the happenings of each day into a fabric called Hibiol. They live for centuries while maintaining their youthful appearance. Maquia, an orphaned Iorph girl, lives in an oasis surrounded by friends, yet somehow feels alone. But the tranquil lives of the Iorph are shattered in an instant when the Mezarte army invades their territory on a dragon fleet, seeking the blood that grants the Iorph long life.
Maquia manages to escape, but loses her friends and her home in the chaos. She then encounters an orphaned baby who is also alone. Maquia raises this boy, Ariel, with the help of some new friends. But as the era changes, the bond between Maquia and Ariel changes too, amidst a backdrop of racial tensions between the Iorph and the Mezarte. This is a story of irreplaceable time, woven by two lonely people who can only find solace in each other.
Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou, abbreviated as SayoAsa, is the directorial debut of screenwriter Mari Okada. Outside of Japan, the film made its international premiere at the 2018 Glasgow Film Festival. It went on to receive the Golden Goblet Award for Best Animation Film at the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival, and was named Best Feature Length Film in the Fantastic Discovery section at the 51st Sitges Film Festival. The film has earned more than 350 million yen in domestic box office revenues.
Let's start with the obvious: Yes I did give this movie a bold 10/10.
I wasn't sure how to feel about it so I watched it twice in cinemas in Japan with a one week cool-off period in between both viewing.
Honestly, the first time it simply blew me away and stayed in my head non stop for like 3-4 days. This is a heavy statement but it is indeed one of the best animated movies I've ever watched. The second watching was in order to try to find flaws and to focus a bit more on small details of the plot and the music.
a bit the mess in my head, here goes:
Well, Mari Okada all right. She is known for her emotional stories and this one indeed enters the category just fiiiine!
The movie feels very long in a good way: The story, the world and places, the character development, the sub plots... All these elements adds up and fill the ensemble to the brim giving the impression to have lived and discovered a lot with the characters ; and that is one of the main strenghts here. Everything is well rounded and the difference of pace in the various plot elements do not leave any space to get bored. There is a well-balanced mix of emotional moments, intense action and everyday life organized in a non generic narrative structure, which I find very refreshing.
The theme developped is that of the relationship between mother and child. It is not a very common subject developped in detail and I really enjoyed the depth and various angles the movie takes to treat the subject.
Here, we have a very prestigious staff making characters and backgrounds.
For the characters, Akihiko Yoshida character designer on Final Fantasy and Granblue Fantasy did a great job in creating the various types of characters. Even with the adaptation done for animation, you still see his strong influence, especially on the astounding work done on the clothes that are very stylish, diverse and inspired. The resulting chara design is very simple and round on the faces which can be a bit unsettling at the beggining but very cute nonetheless.
About the background: the most prestigious animators of PA Works created incredible places helping to create a very rich world to discover. It is without a doubt the most impressive visual aspect on my end.
To conclude this section, the CGI: globally well done and integrated, some rare sequences stand out too much but it isn't much of a problem in my opinion.
Kenji Kawai is quite recognizable as a composer and you get that very easily here with the usual sound and instruments used. Nonetheless it is a very inspired soundtrack that come and goes with some very insistant themes that really shape the movie and the emotions. Also very well paced and used.
I am not gonna go in too much detail here because I don't wanna spoil the story but once again the characters are very well made, the vast majority of them are very logical in their motives, development and thought processes. The whole focus of the movie is obviously Maquia and Erial (or Ariel whatever) and their relashionship. So much so that you may feel that some secondary characters / subplots are not developped enough... Well it is indeed an argument but remember: It is the story of Maquia and Erial, so it is good the movie doesn't dwelve too much in various directions.
Enjoyment + conclusion:
Well I suppose this is clear enough already!
I very deeply enjoyed this movie that awed me and obsessed me for days on end. It has a compelling story with a not so common theme in a fantasy setting including memorable scenes and very well developped characters with whom you grow fond of very quickly. It gets very emotional towards the end, all thanks to that very well paced development and evolution throughout the film.
Beware, it is indeed a tear jerker and both times the whole room was crying at the end.
Also, in case it isn't clear enough already, this is not a family oriented movie, it is geared towards adults and some themes and element are quite dark and mature.
I've been trying to find flaws but putting aside very minor stuff, I don't see any major problems. Add to that the overwhelming impact of all the goodness I developed above and you get a masterpiece to be remembered. Hence the 10/10.
Not everybody is gonna like it the way I did but if you are okay with emotional stories and fantasy, please give Sayoasa a go without hesitation and you won't be disappointed.
Seeing many of these 10/10 reviews and people saying they cried shocked me. I wondered if we had even seen the same movie. I, and seemly many who left the theatre did not leave angry; but we certainly were not raving about it being a masterpiece either. And in the whole theatre, only a single person cried. I overheard many conversations after the movie of it being "okay" and "a lot of stuff didn't make sense" and a few more criticisms. And I agree with them, this movie is no masterpiece. However, it is not bad either. So, here is my review
Firstly, I find the
plot to be all over the place, and it never seems to have enough time to focus on each 'arc' of the story. Due to this, we see a few time jumps that aren't explained and many many many coincidences throughout this animation. So many coincidences it's actually ridiculous. So many unexplainable coincidences made it seem pretty silly many times throughout the film. The best example would be when Maquia one night disappears, and then the next thing we know she's getting her hair cut in some random room and then next thing we know she's heading an invasion of some sort. Like, wtf just happened? I have a general idea, but wow. There is literally no explanation other than she vanishes and then bam shes back again so you're left to put together the pieces. And, of course, the fact that in a massive metropolis city she manages to 'stumble across' every main character multiple times across the entire movie. "The Clan of the Separated"? Yeah right... This for me dampered many scenes that would have otherwise been fairly heartwarming or sad. The overall plot isn't a bad one. It's actually a very interesting concept that I feel was just simply not done right. Or, maybe needed 2 parts and more time to do it correctly.
Animation wise it wasn't bad. Certainly wasn't great either. A few scenes looked quite silly but those were few and far apart. Was up and down throughout the film and sometimes is quite plain and boring but decided on a 7. Overall, not many complaints here.
Here I had no complaints. No song really stuck out and made me really think about it deeper but all the songs seemed to match their scenes and OST was well done. No issues here
Characters were pretty good. Clear development was seen in our two main characters which was nice to see. However, many other characters who seemed like they had importance, or could have had importance were simply forgotten about which was very disappointing. The biggest of which is the Army General Izol who swore to atone for his sins to Leila who was seen after that for maybe less than 5 seconds. In addition, the drunk man whom we never learn much of anything about whi randomly appears to save the day or just simply out of nowhere could have been done a lot better too.
In conclusion, it was a Weak 7. The movie was decently enjoyable but was literally coincidences the animation. Had a good concept with potential but didn't live up to it. However, still created a movie that was appealing and a decently enjoyable watch if you don't think too much about it.
The art for this series is fantastic. Backgrounds, buildings, and landscapes are all works of art. The characters, on the other hand, are not so great. I hope they improve them for the Blu-ray release.
The voice acting was pretty good, but there were a couple places that had me wondering how it passed pre-screening.
The story starts out kinda slow, kinda jumps to a bit of action, then slows again. There is a lot of character growth, and you do get attached to them.
Finally, this movie is an emotional rollercoaster. I usually don’t cry in movies, but this
one had the whole theater (including me) crying at the end.
Overall, I would say it is worth seeing at least once, maybe even worth buying. But I can’t see myself going to watch it a second time in theaters, mainly because I don’t think my heart can take it.
I saw this movie already few weeks ago, but I am posting my review for it delayed because for the first time in several years, I was lost in what to say.
*might contain light spoilers*
Let me start by giving some backstory information: I am huge fan of drama series, but unlike most people who consider themselves a fan of drama: I hate almost every drama that is being made today. No matter how highly praised the series and movies I watch are, they always end up disappointing me. Shallow teenagers cry in them for no reason whatsoever. Emotional depth is at near 0% if
achieved at all. Story telling and characterization rely too much on spoon-feeding the feelings. The world building is miniscule since the sole point of the series is always just to offer some cheap tearjerking for those who never ask for more. Execution-wise, silence; situations where nothing needs to be said are the heaviest possible way to convey drama, but the audience is almost never respected or trusted in this way. So instead, the drama is directed at viewers via over-exaggerated voice acting, crying scenes and downright pathetic yelling sequences which only purpose is to show how much emotions the characters are feeling, but the viewer is always forgotten. What 'When the Promised Flower Blooms' does is different because the feels are not hitting the characters: they hit the viewer instead. For the first time in 7 years, the anime industry has managed to create something that made me cry.
I will keep this as simple and honest as I can.
-Takes place in a world that is a mixture of high-tier utopia fantasy where peaceful beings similar to elves are coexisting with nature and medieval human race in where kings and knights rule their part of the land in highly immoral and not-so-peaceful manner.
-Mixes together political thriller, war, drama and daily life of both races.
-Focuses on interracial willing and unwilling relationships. The main plot line being about elf-woman and a human child starting a family together where she takes the role of a (foster) mother. Another heavy motherhood-related concept is related to another elf-woman who is raped by the human king and becomes a (biological) parent to her child, but never sees her.
-Deals with heavy questions about family, love, living, finding your own place in the world. As well as regret, adapting and one's purpose in life.
-Several different themes are presented via different characters and their circumstances to a point that it is hard to see how at least one of these POV's wouldn't resonate with its viewer.
-All of this is build around a solid story and inside a world so masterfully crafted that despite its drama-heavy content, it could as well be called just a fantasy movie.
-Build together in such an impressive manner that after finishing the 2 hour movie, I felt like I had seen a 24 episodes long tv anime. So much content, hardly any filler, smooth and impressive from writing to directing.
-Simply put: they are genuine, often very lost, trying their best, miserable beings at times, yet developed into something beautiful.
-Most of them struggle to face reality, some simply can't. Ideas such as suicide are brought on the table. In generally, great many characters are put in places that are against everything they would prefer. The best part is how much sense the drama makes in the series and how honest the character reactions to every situation are.
-Elf-people are have close-to-immortal lifespan which creates confusion especially in the main plotline where our mother realizes she is cursed to outlive her adopted son. The son simultaneously has to deal with his own confused feelings where he starts maturing and surpassing this person who no longer starts to seem like a mother to him, but a litle sister.
-Very familiar feel to it. Fantasy world similar to video games such as ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian + also the Disney Movie Atlantis.
-Character movements can look occasionally weird for they can never truly match the backgrounds that are so insanely beautiful.
-No money was saved in the making of this piece of art. It looks cold and brutal at times, yet so often incredibly beautiful. Water surfaces work like mirrors, the lighting and color pallet make details come alive.
-In generally, the art serves the immersive nature of the series so well that it can't really be said to be none less than its very own thing. Something that can't quite be found anywhere else.
-Some of the cast are voiced by annoying "shonen-like" seiyuu's which is a minus.
-The important roles are highly fitting to the characters. They offer personality and practically never go over board with the seiyuu work. Even the rare emotional voice acting feel real and genuine.
-Music is used in the smartest possible way. Otherwise this doesn't have an OST I would listen separately, but it really feels like it was made just for this movie.
-The first 15 minutes made me think this is going to be highly mediocre drama like all the other recent drama.
-Rest of the movie quite literally flew by.
-It left me with a long lasting impact, highly memorable piece.
-My eyes got wet in total of 3 times, and I legit cried during climax of the story where everything went down.