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 =)
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.
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.
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.
This film gets 5/10, because it's almost exactly one half of a perfect film.
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.
Living alone, the nights seemed to last forever. When I couldn't pass the time effectively, I went to a nearby train station and pretended to wait for someone.
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.
If Jim Jarmusch directed anime, this is the type of movie he'd make. To it's benefit it cuts to the heart of the characters much like a Jarmusch film with slow, long deliberate takes, with a good deal of silence and sadness. I think one of my favorite scenes was when Takuya and Sayuri are riding the train together for the first time and the just sort of stand there, with each other in one of the best and most realistic depictions of thirteen year-old's I've ever seen on screen. The animations is beautiful, and even the framing, catching them off center,
and from a distance, adds to a slight melancholy that is palpable throughout most of the film.
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.
Of Makoto Shinkai's three best-known pieces, "The Place Promised in Our Early Days" possesses the most pronouncedly plot-oriented narrative: An ambiguous love triangle, a symbolic separation of worlds, and characteristic to Makoto, an open-ended and beautifully depressing conclusion.
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.
I have very mixed feelings about Shinkai Makoto's work. On one hand, he really impressed me with Garden of Words, but on the other hand he really disappointed me with 5 centimeters per second, so i didn't know what to expect from this movie. So after sitting throught the longest 1 hour and a half of my life, i concluded that this movie is even WORSE than 5 centimeters per second. Before you start posting mean stuff on my accound, just try and read my review. It should be less painful than watching the actual movie.
I can't even begin to explain how bad the
story was handled. Let's start with the pacing. Saying it was really slow is a huge understatement. This movie was incredibly boring. The thing that bugged me the most about the pacing is how every single scene starts and ends very abruptly, right in the middle of the "action" (if such thing exists in this movie), giving little to no information about what is going on, so it comes out as pointless, uninteresting and incomplete. Regarding the plot, it was very poorly explained. It's about some nations fighting and two guys wanting to build an airplane and take this girl to a certain tower, and the people controlling the tower try to overwrite this universe with a parallel one. The whole concept of parallel universes is very interesting, of course, but it wasn't explored enough. I couldn't feel the scale of the conflict, because the focus of the movie was constantly shifting between poorly developed plot points. There was even a poor attempt at a plot twist, which felt like it was pulled out of the producers' a-holes and just dumped on us. In fact, everything in this movie is just dumped on the audience. There is no anticipation, no introduction to anything, and that is unacceptable when you're trying to tell such a story.
Another major problem i have with this movie are the characters. Bland, boring, emotionless, one-dimentional, poorly developed, forgettable, and the list could go on if my english vocabulary was larger. I did not care at all about any of the craracters or their motivations. The 3 main craracters (whose names i'm not even gonna mention because i'm too lazy to look them up) get an awfully small amount of screen time, which leads to the inexistence of any character development whatsoever. Their backstories are incomplete and their motivations are unclear. We know WHAT they want to do, but we never find out WHY. I also realised there's a cliche present in Makoto's movies: at the beginning, we hear the main character's thoughts in a vey low and melancholic voice, as they're trying to make me care about them, but it ends up being annoying and making me care even less. It is just a cheap way of characterization that doesn't work at all for me.
The movie was really beautiful, just like Makoto's other works. The colors, the shadows, the tones, the outlines, everything blends in perfectly. the only thing that was lacking a bit were the character designs. Their faces seemed a bit too simple to fit in the beautifully animated setting. It's a real shame that this is more or less the only good thing about this movie. A perfect example of how great animation DOES NOT make a good anime.
The soundtrack was beautiful and fit the overall tone of the movie, even though it was almost inexistent during some scenes. the main problem i have is with the voice acting. I usually don't talk about this, but the voices of some characters were really inexpressive, to the point of becoming annoying, and just added to their already bland and boring personalities.
Did i enjoy this movie? Heck, no! I am actually proud of myself for managing to sit through it. Many times i thought of just dropping it (yes, DROPPING a freaking movie), but i kept telling myself that i have to finish it, that maybe something will happen. In the end it just left me utterly disappointed and almost dead of boredom.
If you are a fan of Shinkai Makoto, you will probably check this movie out, and you will probably enjoy it as well. I just don't understand what people find so good about it. It was a poor attempt at telling a deep story, and i just cringed at its inability to make me care about it. The only good thing was the animation, but sadly that is not enought to redeem such a bad movie. I highly recommend you do not waste your time with "The place promised in our early days".
For all its post-WWII and science fiction elements, The Place Promised in Our Early Days is basically another story about lasting friendship and keeping promises, and I must admit that I'm a little tired of them.
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.
~Beyond the Clouds, The Promised Place~
-"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
The Place Promised in our Early Days remains, after my 8th viewing today, a crowning achievement, to me, not just in anime, but in cinema, or even art, as a whole. For 90 minutes, Shinkai sucks us in to a world where emotions and characters matter, as they grapple with each other and show the ways in which they all can affect us.
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.
The Place Promised in Our Early Days. One of only 3 anime that deserve a 0/10.
I'm of the impression that I'm missing something important. Specifically, I am lacking what would allow me to "get" Shinkai's works. I could tolerate Garden of Words, and I loved 5 Centimetres per Second but everything else he's even tangentially involved in is trash in my eyes.
When watching this movie I was fully prepared not to understand the appeal, however what I wasn't prepared for was an experience that couldn't even compete with data entry. Watching this movie was beyond insufferable, it was so boring as to bring me
So, why is this so boring. Maybe because the story's nonsensical, the characters are even blander than Kirito and the animation is very sparse.
The animation quality is something I'd like to draw especial attention to, because this isn't just poorly produced by movie standards. It's poorly produced by the standards of even a filler arc in a long-running shounen. The visual design only aggravates the issue. The colours are needlessly and incredibly dull, the character designs are ugly (not as people, but as character designs) and the framing of it all only draws emphasis to this.
I'd elaborate on why the story's nonsensical and the characters are bland, but if I had anything to say about either, then that would make them less bland.
There is one positive quality about this movie. There's some background music that's simple, yet satisfying. It's not particularly remarkable as music, but it's at least passable, which is FAR more than you can say about anything else in this movie.
In short, don't watch this movie. Even if you're a fan of Shinkai's, I doubt this movie will be one of your favourites. If it does become one of your favourites, I suggest giving up on anime, because if this movie's honestly the best anime has to offer you, you really have no business watching anime.
Like Makoto's previous works, through the whole movie, there's a sense of slice of life. Despite the little action scenes it had, it's a very calm movie, something to watch on a bad weather. Unfortunately, with all the great animation and music, this movie is a mess.
Imagine you creating a movie, and deciding to take the Drama/Romance direction. To make the movie emotional, you take your emotion-box, and you try to push the right buttons when needed. That's exactly what Makoto did, just he pushed all the buttons - all of them. He slowly, to match his style, created a base to all the emotional
scenes, but couldn't get the plot to those directions, so he jumped from place to place, leaving plot holes, or just gave up on those scenes making them look like a clumsy writing (which is what it is). It's not possible to include everything in a 90min movie.
Personally, I was disappointed. During, and after the movie, I felt like I learned nothing. Not about the great power of love, not about the power of friendship, not about the evil of war. They simply forgot to explain any of those, as they never explained how the scenes led to what we saw.
You still can enjoy the fascinating art, and the good music, but don't expect a second "5 Centimeters Per Second" experience.
When a guy like Makoto Shinkai (a person who has a distinctive style in his works) comes into your life, you'd promptly watch his other movies, even commercials, to see more of him (of course, assuming you like his movies).
So you watch the second one...
And then the third one...
And by the time you watch the fourth one, you would have known all of his troupes already. And in knowing these troupes mean that when you see his next work, you're bringing something that was not there before when you've watched that first movie: Expectations (or for some, higher expectations). Would it meet or surpass the
other movies is a question that is on your head throughout watching the movie. And so far, Makoto Shinkai gave nothing short of the unique experience you can have in his films, always meeting those expectations. Always.
But Shinkai's works give a feeling of too much familiarity, like if you're going to a summer getaway that only has a superb view going for it and renting the same room for the 5th consecutive time, the once breathtaking view downgrades to being "just nice" (at least, that's how I see it). What I'm trying to say here is that Makoto Shinkai offers little-to-no variety ─at the very least, to his stories. Which, if you're someone like me, is definitely a bad thing. And no movie of him is that "bad thing" more prominent than The Place Promised in Our Early Days (or Kumo Mukou Yakusoku no Basho).
(For what it's worth, I don't hate Mr. Shinkai. I'm just saying that binge watching his lineup is probably not the best idea out there).
Let me do the honors of dropping the first bomb: this movie is boring. Pretty and atmospheric (vintage Shinkai), but boring. So much that I slept in-between watching it, and in perfect timing too (if I do say so myself) because I paused at the exact time the second act was about to start. I paused it, slept and watched the rest first thing in the morning. And nothing, I repeat, NOTHING was in here that I didn't see when I watched 5 cm/sec, Garden of Words, or even Voices of a Distant Star. The military stuff didn't make sense because in no way does it affect the main story in a major way; being the girl, Sawatari, "disappearing" from this world. I guess it kinda is because 1 of the male leads went to be an aircraft engineer for the army (if memory serves me right) because he and his friend were already building a fully-functional, ridable airplane in middle school; an act which made me re-evaluate how much I can stretch my suspension of disbelief.
The art, like I said, is freaking amazing. Vintage Shinkai. The characters are bland but bearable and the OSTs were nice and enhanced the atmosphere when it needs to. But like I said, I expected this. I need something different than what I've seen already or at the very least have some lighthearted moments too. The reason I appreciate the super sad moments in shows like Your Lie in April, Clannad, Sakurasou, etc. is that they have moments that are equally funny. They're like breaks from the cruel, cruel reality you're trying to set to me. But no, if it's a Shinkai film it has to be serious, deep, and should define forever as merely a concept and not a real thing throughout the feature. Makoto Shinkai needs to lighten up, I can only take so much sappy drama before I start staring at the ceiling of my room for hours again.
So, final verdict: Should you or should you not watch this? Look, if you know the guy already then no, obviously. You're better off watching Garden of Words, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, or 5 cm/sec. Unless by some slim chance you actually like this film, despite knowing Makoto Shinkai. If you don't know him yet then why not. Any movie of Mr. Shinkai is a good way to know him but I prefer watching the 3 films I said earlier instead.
Unlike 5CM Per Second, this did not leave me feeling like I was going to cry out my entire soul. Also unlike 5CM Per Second, I didn't spend half the movie thinking, "this isn't that good." (See my review: http://myanimelist.net/anime/1689/5_Centimeters_per_Second/reviews) Rather, it's great, but not a deeply moving tearjerker like most of Shinkai's other work. Allow me to elaborate.
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.
A slice of life with a dose of fiction and a somewhat epic ending. It shows us a truncated romance and the story of three friends whose friendship has a peculiar connection with that tower.
The animation I really liked, beautifully designed landscapes giving a magical atmosphere to certain parts of the story.
The characters are fine, Hiroki and Takuya are two friends with a dream that together with Sayuri (who looks like Akari of 5 Centimeters per Second) form a friendship based on a promise that time, distance and the tower can not separate.
Tenmon and Ai Kawashima give us an incredible Soundtrack offering one of the
best musical settings I've seen, giving a nostalgic feel to the movie.
As someone who really likes Slice of Life pretty much I think this is a movie that you will surely enjoy as much as I do. That surely will leave you assimilating the end of the film by a good time.
Originally published on Anime Viking: http://animeviking.wordpress.com/
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.
An amazingly good yet deeply flawed movie, is more or less how I would describe it. This blows Makoto Shinkai's previous work, Voices From a Distant Star, out of the water, though it lacks the levels of baseless emotional melodrama that made Voices so popular. So, briefly, this is the opposite of Voices. Voices was about two lovers drifting apart, and Place is about three friends coming back together. It includes a romance between two of the friends. What gives this show emo credentials is that they surmount all sorts of odds to reunite and fulfill a childhood promise. Power of friendship, rah rah, someone
out there cried at the end, I know it! However, Makoto is so invested in his world of hyper emotion that the movie loses all reference to our reality. If you said out loud among company “keeping a promise you made with your loved one 3 years ago is worth risking the entire world over,” hopefully you would be laughed out of the room. Besides this, there are also plot issues (what is the motive behind the tower, how is such an important character (Sayuri) kept under such low security, what does she have to do with the tower anyways (the “grandfather designed it” line explains nothing)? Arguably, these parts of plot aren't that important, so we can let that go.
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.
I really enjoyed this one...
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. -.-)