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The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004)

The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004)

Released: 2004
Genre: animation, drama, Movie, romance
Starring: Yuka Nanri, Masato Hagiwara, Hidetaka Yoshioka,,
Run time: 91 min
IMDb: 7.1/10
Country: Japan


The story takes place in a alternate postwar period, in 1996, where Japan is divided. Hokkaido is ruled by the “Union” while Honshu and other southern islands are under US authority. A tall tower was built on Hokkaido, which could even be seen from Tokyo. In the summer of 1996, three middle-school students make a promise that they’ll cross the border with a self-constructed plane and unravel the tower’s secret, but their project was abandoned after the girl, Sayuri Sawatari, became mysteriously ill and transferred to Tokyo. Years later on the brink of another war Hiroki Fujisawa finds out that Sayuri had been in coma since then, and he asks Takuya Shirakawa to help him finding a way to wake her up.
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User Reviews: While a popular anime, I find that the title (The Place Promised in Our Early Days) is more interesting than the slow, plodding script. Many will find this film unmoving and uneventful.

The animation is so-so. In only one scene (a mountain background with mist) was I impressed; otherwise it’s very typical. I’m honestly surprised by the number of reviews stating this is "beautiful". It’s really simply not that impressive animation-wise. I guess beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

The characters are largely undeveloped. The plot line is simple and mono-directional, without much in the way of suspense, surprise or emotional impact. There are no highs or lows, no real climax to the film, and the ending is weak.

I am a fan of anime and very much enjoy artistic anime. I don’t need giant robot battles in order to enjoy a film– and enjoy many aspects of the drama genre where story is as important as the animation itself. But this work struck me as mediocre in all aspects. I do appreciate that some may enjoy the (very)subdued romantic aspect, but I found it as undeveloped and uneventful as the rest of the work.

As would be expected I give it 5 stars. Neither impressive nor bad… just a slow-moving story, weak plot line and so-so animation.