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on 14 November 2006
Makoto Shinkai's second film "The place promised in our early days" tells a beautiful, touching and complex tale of three school friends who share a secret and take a vow to unravel the secrets of the mysterious tower in a war torn land, in Japan but things go haywire as one of them falls into coma. Will the promise be kept? Well, that's what shapes the rest of the film in a visually stunning and unusual way.

From the very beginning the movie draws you in with the way it unfolds. The breathtaking scenery and the mesmerising background score leaves you speechless. Fans of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli films will undoubtedly love this movie since it almost has the same beauty and depth as their films. The dreamlike scenery, open spaces, lush backgrounds of the film transports the viewer to the alternate universe which the film talks about. The artwork of the film is absolutely stunning, one of the best I've ever seen. The story becomes more and more complex as things unfold hence a second viewing may be in store. But trust me, its so much worth it!

"The place promised in our early days" is a must have dvd and not to be missed film, not just for any anime fan but for anyone interested in beautiful and meaningful cinema. Trust me, that's a promise!!
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`The Place Promised In Our Early Days' is another masterful animation from Makoto Shinkai. This follows three young adults as they live in the time just before a war and how one of them, Sayuri, is linked to a tall tower they can see in the distance and which is connected to the coming conflict. This film looks at a promise made and how it is finally carried out. It is hard to give more detail without spoiling the film. This film has some beautiful animation, especially the backgrounds and the attention to detail is very impressive. The play of sunlight on objects and as characters move through sunlight really stood out. This has more traditional animation than in Shinkai's previous film `Voices of a Distant Star' (which had lots of obviously computer animated scenes) and I found it easier to watch as a result. This film has some wonderful 'camera' angles and scenes that made it feel more cinematic and like a film than an anime, it feels very polished and well thought out. This has a slight romantic edge to the story and softened the more hard edge, military themed aspects of the film and complimented it very well overall. The extras include interviews with the Japanese cast and director. This is a beautifully crafted film and if you are fan of either Shinkai or anime in general this is well worth considering.

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on 10 January 2006
To start with the animation. Visually this anime is one of the most detailed i have ever seen, from the backgrounds to the characters, even to the most insignificant little details you wouldn't notice unless you look for them, it is beautiful and smooth in every way.
As far as sound goes, the music used throughout fits perfectly with the setting at all times, and whilst I don't personally consider it quite as emotionally moving as "Hoshi no Koe" (Shinkai Makoto's other extremely renowned anime) it nevertheless draws you right in to the moment and feeling he is creating. The voice actors (Japanese soundtrack) are suberb also, and fit the characters perfectly throughout.
If you are someone who preferes to watch English dubs, then you would be pleased to know (from what I have been told, and what little I checked just to see for myself) that the English soundtrack and voice talent is very good too.
As far as the story goes, it depends on the frame of mind you are in when you watch it. If you are someone who likes to analyse every detail of the world depicted, then some unexplained aspects might annoy you. However, if you are content to accept what you are seeing for what it is, and simply react/enjoy it as it is then the story, authough seemingly suttle in some ways, is very moving. It is hard to explain without spoiling, but at times, it is almost as if Shinkai Makoto has managed to capture moments such as the time between when you are asleep and when you wake up; the fleeting reality that is there halfway between worlds for just a few moments - in this film there are moments like that.
The characters have well defined personalities, and develop extremely well over the course of the film. Sayuri is a very lovable character, kind and generous, often with her head in the clouds.
Suffice to say, I found this a highly enjoyable anime and if you are a fan of Shinkai Makoto then definately take a look at this film. Also, if you have not seen "Hoshi no Koe" (which he made all by himself, a truly remarkable feat) then watch that first !
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on 11 May 2008
Absolutely awesome! This is the only way I can describe "The Place Promised in Our Early Days". It is rare for me to gush so much about a film, but this is one of those masterpieces that will leave you in stunned silence long after watching it. The animation is flawless, the backgrounds beautifully painted, the special effects amazing, the dialogue rich, the characters well rounded, the story emotionally charged.

But it doesn't end there... the DVD itself is perhaps one of the best I have seen in recent years. The cast and director interviews are brilliant, with unusually good questions and responses. I would also like to complement ADV Films for their subtitling on this disc. Not only are the songs titled with English and Japanese (romaji) so you can sing along to them, but they have even gone to the effort of un-obtrusively placing subs below all important signage in the film. Some people may consider this excessive, but for the discerning viewer, it is an essential part of the whole that would otherwise be lost.

If you buy just one animated film this year, even if a science-fiction set-piece isn't your thing, this film has to be it.
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on 15 July 2006
At first, when I saw the title for this film, I was thinking "oh my god" how sad will this be. But because of increasing boredom at the time I decided to go ahead and watch it.

This anime was not sad at all and I regret thinking that at the start. It is truly an amazing piece with a beautifully done and very detailed landscape that will take your breath away and make you wish you lived there.

A must watch film.
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on 29 March 2009
Amazing artwork and exceptional attention to detail, it's understanding how 'The Place Promised In Our Early Days' won the Best Animated Film Award and Award For Technical Excellence. This film is stunning and beautifully dreamy, certainly not one to be missed!

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on 2 January 2015
Disappointed. The title is better than this rather confusing film.
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on 29 November 2007
Shinkai's first effort, 'Voices of a distant star' was hailed as a triumph by many critics and anime fans. It was a film with many qualities, and made all the more remarkable for having been produced single-handed by Shinkai.

'The Place Promised In Our Early Days' was produced with the help of a production team, but a similar style and feel is achieved to Shinkai's first film.

There are a couple of things about Shinkai's style which irritate me.

1. He makes heavy use of background music. Throughout this film, he uses the sort of background music you find in every other family drama on the Hallmark channel. String sections with a piano gently playing over the top. You know the sort of thing. It leaves you feeling everything is going to be alright! Unfortunately it spoils the feel of this film. It takes away any tension or drama that the story has created.

2. The viewer is allowed to hear the inner voices of the main characters. Again, this totally spoils the viewing experience. It ends up feeling like an episode of `The Wonder Years'. And their inner dialogues consist of adolescent nonsense such as "On that distant day, we made a promise that we couldn't keep". It really lacks depth and intelligence.

Shinkai's first movie was only 30 mins long, so these issues don't seem so pronounced. But `The Place Promised....' is about 90 mins long, so by the end you are really sick of it. Admittedly, this is a matter of personal taste. And I'm sure if you totally loved Shinkai's first film, you will also adore this. But I think a lot of viewers will find this hard to stay interested in all the way through.

My own opinion is that Shinkai substitutes style for substance.
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on 7 June 2008
Ok lets list some anime conventions; insipid male leads with about as much personality as a bowl of rice, all the female characters are snivelling drips, banal supporting cast, glorious childhood memories, some promise or other that needs fulfilment and dialogue that would make a Furby wince etc etc. Behold "The Place Promised in our Early Days" delivering each in spades. The animation is very well done but is "over done" with every scene seeped in sepias, moonlight etc which I found soon got tiresome. The sci-fi plot is a strange mix of quantum mechanical dream state mumbo jumbo and parallel universes; which while rather silly (sorry all you parapsychologists) is at least quasi-interesting. The musak is dreadful fluffy garbage. I think this would have made a good silent animated short. If you want to watch a five star anime rent "Night on the Galactic Railroad".
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on 4 December 2006
i was looking forward to seeing this film as it's the followup to his first film voices from a distant star which was a great anime film...this film is similar in that the visuals are amazing and the story is well written though there's less of a sci-fi theme in this one...a great dvd though and one that sits well in my collection of top anime films.
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