Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Place Promised in Our Early Days Review

The Promise in Our Early Days, originally uploaded by leduytien.

Now, as part of my final days in vacation, which are now over, I decided to take a look at anime films, since largely that's what got be interested in anime to begin with (just see below). As such, I was looking for something hopefully cool, and quite frankly, impressive. Well, I think I chose the right movie when I chose "The Place Promised in Our Early Days," because this film was all that and more, and has easily become one of my new favorites in anime.

"The Place Promised in Our Early Days", or TPPED, as I'll refer to it in the rest of this post, was created by Makoto Shinkai, whose already famous for largely creating on his own, the film Voices of a Distant Star. While I have not seen this film regretfully, the idea of making such a film, almost one one's own, already makes Makoto Shinkai special in my book. However, with even more help, TPPED proves to be in my opinion, an utter masterpiece, which I'm still delightfully digesting as I write, some days later.

TPPED is a story about two 8th-grade friends, Hiroki Fujisawa and Takuya Shirakawa, and their lives in Japan, a country now divided due to a previous war. This war has lead to a north-south rift which split many families apart prior to the kid's births. What remains most prominently for the kids, and many other in the South however is a single white tower, known as the Hokkaido Tower, that protrudes into the sky from the North side. This tower means many things for many people, but it specifically strikes a chord with Hiroki and Takuya. Their plan is to fly to this tower, in a plane that they've been secretly making for some time.

Now, early on enters a female classmate named Sayuri Sawatari, who quickly becomes a close friend of the two boys. Soon the boys find themselves sharing all their secrets regarding the plane with Sayuri, and promise to take her there to Hokkaido Tower. However, Sayuri disappears and so does the boy's dreams. Three years later, and now lives apart, the boys learn where to find Sayuri, who is now comatose. Is Sayuri's coma somehow related to the tower? Will the boys be able to come together once more for her sake? These are the questions to ponder, as the rest of the story is surely worth seeing, without my revealing.

I'll admit, when I first read the phrasing of the plot I saw, I thought that there couldn't be much to a movie such as this. In some ways I was right, since the action element is very limited. However, the bonds of friendship, and their tests through time are sometimes more exciting, and more trying than fighting an enemy. The characters, while we only know them for a short while, seem to grasp at us, allowing us to travel with them through this world of theirs, a world of hurt, pain, love, and friendship. A world full of mystery indeed, Makoto knows this, yet a world full of delightful intrigue, which I as an audience member love to see.

Enough of my effervescent praises, and I'll simply say, if you're looking for sword fighting and magical girls, you need not apply; however, if you want a thoughtful movie, an admittedly slow-paced movie, about friends fighting for friends, even in their own hearts, then you've come to the right film. As I said, I believe this truly to be a masterful piece, so I do hope you enjoy "The Place Promised in Our Early Days."

(And one thing's for sure, no I don't get paid to write such positive reviews... why, is the question there though)

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