They’re the best Anime that 2004 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Saint Seiya: Tenkai-hen Josou – Overture, Dead Leaves, Doraemon Movie 25: Nobita no Wan Nyan Jikuuden, and more!
5: Saint Seiya: Tenkai-hen Josou – Overture
English: Saint Seiya: The Heaven Chapter – Overture
Japanese: 聖闘士星矢 天界編 序奏 ~overture~
MAL Score: 7.21
After the Saints’ victory against Hades, Seiya is left wounded and motionless in a wheel chair with no possible chance of recovery. Athena’s sister Artemis, the Virgin Goddess of the Moon and twin sister of Apollo, makes an elaborate proposal – to restore Seiya’s physical health in exchange for the supremacy of Sanctuary. Athena accepts and Artemis and her “Knights of the Sky” swiftly take control of Sanctuary. Now Seiya and his fellow Bronze Saints combat the forces of Zeus to regain their homeland but it will not be so easy. Bronze Saints Hydra Ichi and Unicorn Jabu, and Silver Saint Ophiuchus Shaina have join forces with Artemis and Apollo.
Note: this is about the Heaven saga, the last part of Saint Seiya, so there are some spoilers of the previous sagas (but not for this movie), so please, have that in mind.
With the positive opinions the Hades Saga (chapter Sanctuary) received, Masami Kurumada, Saint Seiya’s creator, finally got the OK to make the final stage of the series, that one that hadn’t even been in the manga: the heaven part. For the very first time, we would receive an adaptation of the Olympus war, that final showdown we only heard rumors about. The idea was that this movie would be the kickoff for a few movies, or a continuation in the OVA format (like the whole Hades project, or Lost Canvas). However, that didn’t happen: Overture was a failure, and several heads were cut. Why? Let’s see.
Overture’s story begin showing us that, at the the end of the battle against Hades, Seiya is quite injured, and now is confined to a wheelchair, under Athena’s care. While the Pegasus knight was resting in a semi-vegetable state, is attacked by the angels, the saints of the goddess Artemis. Like all the gods in the past, Artemis comes to the mortal land to tell her sister that the humanity is corrupted and must be eradicated for their insolence. Athena gives the control of the earth to her sister, and even tells her that she will sacrifice her life in exchange for forgiveness for mankind in general, and his saints in particular. Artemis accepts the request of her sister and prepares its execution. Since that is outrageous, Seiya (which miraculously healed), Shiryu, Hyoga, Shun and Ikki (which for a change, arrives on time) go to the Sanctuary (now under the control of the goddess of hunting) to fight Icarus, Theseus and Odysseus, and ultimately, Artemis AND her brother, Apollo.
What’s wrong with the story? Despite being quite similar to the one in the third movie (Legend of Crimson Youth), things are setted in a weird, confusing way. For a spoiler thing, I can’t give too much info, but the ending is unintelligible. There isn’t one ending scene, no… there are three: one at the end (let’s say, the proper ending), then black and another final scene (totally different from the first one), and after the credits, one more scene! A total madness! No need to say that one of the heads that rolled was the one from the director, that one fella who decided this…
Another problem here are the characters. In this film, the Athena saint’s are like… crushed mentally. Basically, they don’t believe they can win the battle, but they fight anyways cause they feel they owe it to their goddess. They look sad and angry sometimes. That’s unbelievable, since in the past, this people defeated 4 Gods! And now they don’t believe in themselves? What the hell! Seeing the bronze knights fighting resigned, without their typical belief, is something I find very, very shocking, especially if we consider that one of Seiya’s powers is getting up no matter what happens (and Ikki can’t die, no matter what xD).
The visuals are… spectacular. Seriously, it’s incredible. Not even the most passionate critic could say anything wrong about them. The Sanctuary is different (argumentally justified), but it looks amazing, specially the flooded parts (and believe me, there’s water everywhere!). The character design is superb. The angels have a similar vibe to the Corona Saints, Artemis looks the way she acts (cold as ice), and Apollo is awesome (his hair looks like fire. That’s way too cool).
Sound time. Although the seiyuus did a great job, everyone, and i mean absolutely everyone, were fired after this movie because Toei / Kurumada said that it did not sound like in the 80’s (didn’t sound like 25 years ago? That’s crazy!). The soundtrack follows the lines of quality of the series (was made by the same person n_n), and it was a nice touch that the ending (Never) is sang by Make Up, the group that give us Pegasus Fantasy and Blue Forever.
So, at the technical level this is an amazing work, but it fails in the most important things, the plot and characters. This movie is boring. A lot. At first is pretty dense, the fights are meh (pretty serious deal in a shonen… not even an enemy for each bronze saint, since this is 3 vs 5), and the ending is pure nonsense. The final product was so bad that, shortly after the movie premiered, Kurumada made Next Dimension, a new manga that would work as the official continuation of the Hades saga. That means Overture was removed from the Saint Seiya canon, and now is just like the other films.
Anyways that’s about it. I can’t really recommend this, but I know every true Saint Seiya fan will see this eventually. At least is pretty in the outside…
And remember, thanks to this film, we don’t have the original seiyuus anymore!
Nota: esto trata de la saga del cielo, cronológicamente la última parte de Saint Seiya, por lo que hay spoilers leves sobre las sagas anteriores (pero no de la película misma), así que por favor, léase con discreción.
Aprovechando las críticas positivas cosechadas por los OVAs de la saga de Hades (capitulo santuario), Masami Kurumada, el creador de Saint Seiya, finalmente recibía el OK para animar la etapa final de la serie, aquella que ni siquiera había sido plasmada en el manga: la saga del cielo. Por primera vez recibiríamos una adaptación de aquello de lo que solo habíamos escuchado rumores, de esa batalla definitiva contra los dioses del Olimpo. La idea era que esta película sea el puntapié inicial para que de una vez y por todas la historia de Saint Seiya sea concluida, ya sea con otras continuaciones cinematográficas, o con series de OVAs (como la saga de Hades, o Lost Canvas). Sin embargo, esto no terminaría sucediendo: Overture fue un fracaso, y rodaron varias cabezas.
La historia de Overture nos muestra que, al final de la batalla contra Hades, Seiya está en silla de ruedas, hecho bastante mierda, y es cuidado por Athena. Mientras el caballero de Pegaso descansaba tranquilamente en estado semi-vegetal, es atacado a traición por los ángeles, los santos de la diosa Artemisa. Al igual que todos los dioses, Artemisa viene a la tierra a decirle a su hermana que la humanidad esta corrompida, y que debe ser eliminada por su insolencia. Athena decide entregarle el trono de la tierra y su vida a su hermana, a cambio de que perdone a la humanidad en general, y a sus santos en particular. Artemisa acepta la petición de su hermana y prepara su ejecución. Como esto no puede quedarse así, Seiya (que se cura milagrosamente) junto a Shiryu, Hyoga, Shun e Ikki (que para variar, llega a horario) se dirigen al Santuario (que ahora está bajo el control de la diosa de la cacería) para enfrentarse a Icaro, Teseo, Odiseo y de ser necesario, también Artemisa y Apolo.
Que es lo que está mal con la historia? A pesar de recordar bastante a la de la tercera película (la de los santos escarlata), las cosas están planteadas de forma bastante confusa. Por una cuestión de spoilers no puedo dar detalles, pero el desenlace es inentendible. No hay una escena final, si no 3: una al final (lo que sería el final de la película), después negro y otra escena final (totalmente distinta a la anterior), y después de los créditos, otra más! Un delirio total! Demás está decir que una de las cabezas que rodaron fue la del director, que fue el que decidió esto…
Otro problema son los personajes. En esta película, los santos de Athena están como… abatidos. Básicamente, no creen que pueden ganarle a algo tan descomunal como dos dioses, pero pelean por que sienten que se lo deben a su diosa. Esto es una estupidez monumental, dado que en la batalla de Hades vencieron a tres! Ver a los caballeros de bronce luchando resignados, sin su convicción típica es algo que me resulto muy, muy chocante, más si tenemos en cuenta que uno de los poderes de Seiya es levantarse sin importar lo que pase (y el de Ikki es no morir. Literalmente).
El apartado visual… es espectacular. En serio, es increíble. Ni siquiera el más enardecido detractor podría criticarlo. El santuario esta cambiado (argumentalmente justificado), pero se ve realmente muy bien, especialmente las partes inundadas (por que hay agua por todos lados!). El diseño de personajes es soberbio, y los ángeles tienen un aire similar a los santos de la corona. Artemisa se ve cómo actúa, fría como el hielo, y Apolo es imponente (su pelo parece que se prende fuego, y todo).
Sonido. A pesar de que los seiyuus hicieron un gran trabajo, todos, absolutamente todos fueron despedidos después de esta película, dado que Toei/Kurumada decían que ya no sonaban igual que antes (que no sonaban igual que hace 25 años? Qué locura!). Eso por el lado de los japoneses, por Latinoamérica recibimos esta película junto a las cuatro clásicas, con las voces originales, en un trabajo descomunal n_n. La banda sonora sigue las líneas de calidad de la serie (hecho por la misma persona, de hecho), y fue un buen detalle que el ending (Never) sea interpretado por Make Up, el grupo que canto Pegasus Fantasy y Blue Forever.
Así que bueno, por lo dicho anteriormente, a nivel técnico esta es una gran producción, pero falla a nivel argumental, y lo peor de todo: es aburrida. Mucho. El principio es bastante pesado, las peleas son meh (ni siquiera había un rival para cada caballero…), y el final es insólito. El resultado final fue tan malo que, al poco tiempo de estrenada la película, Kurumada creó Next Dimension, un nuevo manga (con la publicación mas errática de la historia del comic japonés) que sería oficialmente la continuación de la saga de Hades. Eso quiere decir que Overture fue sacada del canon de Saint Seiya, para simplemente ser como cualquiera de las otras cuatro películas. Ah, y gracias Overture, nos jodiste a los seiyuus originales!
Also, the saints do not have the same faith and confidence in their powers, what is very realistic, since the golden saints are absent and Seiya has not the same power from before. All this contributes to create a much more real scenario, in which you really feel that maybe the protagonists will loose in the end. Other factor that makes this have sense is that Athena apparently abandoned Earth, which is now in the control of Artemis.
In terms of animation the movie is very good: the colors that were choosed combine perfectly with the idea of a Sky saga, the action is fluid and dynamic, and more importantly: the art is capable of expressing the emotions and feelings that the story needs.
In regards to the theme it is coherent with Saint Seiya as a franchise: the mortals challenging the gods, what is very well developed, with Seiya regaining his power until he can face the gods and angels. The end is a controversial one, but I personally love it: it has impact, it is strong, and it expresses the thematic that was developed not only in the entire movie, but also in the original series. In conclusion, Overture offers a version more realistic, thematically coherent and well animated than the majority of the series, being in my opinion the highest point of the Saint Seiya franchise.
When the movie hits the Icarus vs Seiya part it slowly starts to build up to the more emotive shonen Saint Seiya real deal. Suddenly everything it’s decent and makes you remember what you have been following this franchise for such a long time. Simple a clean shonen it it’s purest form. Still love it!. Thanks to that the movie gets a refresh and its saved from failing miserably as being the worst Saint Seiya material ever released.
Conclusion, if you love Saint Seiya, at first will be a bit slow but you will get rewarded. If you are not a fan please avoid it. If you haven’t seen anything of Saint Seiya just try the Series first.
4: Dead Leaves
English: Dead Leaves
Japanese: デッド リーブス
MAL Score: 7.22
Pandy and Retro awaken naked on Earth with no recollection of their past. They embark on a devastating crime spree in search of food, clothing and transportation, but are captured by authorities and sent to the infamous lunar penitentiary named Dead Leaves. While incarcerated, they quickly discover that Dead Leaves is also a top-secret cloning facility, occupied by villainous guards and deformed genetic experiments. Ultra-manic chaos and hyper-violent bedlam ensue as they organize a prison break with the aid of their fellow mutant inmates.
The story for Dead Leaves is as nutty as you might expect. A couple find themselves naked and without memories and turn to a crime spree in which they are eventually caught and sent the moon’s prison called Dead Leaves for life. They soon manage to free themselves and the other prisoners and find themselves in a life or death struggle to escape, and to recover their own memories that seem to be related with the prison. It’s not incredibly deep but the action is furious and nonstop. Don’t blink or let your attention wander because you’re bound to miss something and become confused.
A word of warning for anyone who is going to watch this. This one is not for the small kids. The humor is perverse, highly sexual, graphic and gory. The body count and level of death is shockingly high. I have railed against violent humor before in the past but Dead Leaves is one in which this actually works. Dismemberment has never been so much fun or humorous.
Characters are a real strong point as this movie features some of the most enjoyable I have seen to date. The two protagonists are Pandy and Retro. They are both drawn in a very bizarre style like everything else in the show. The first thing that will probably strike you is why does Retro have a TV for a head? There is good chemistry between the pair and I can’t see anyone not liking these two from the start. There is a plethora of supporting characters, many of them are quite hilarious. Most noticeably “Dick Drill” and the Doctor. I’m not sure if it’s even possible for me to describe these two to someone who hasn’t seen this anime. Just watch it, if you don’t think they are hilarious then check your pulse because you’re dead.
The animation, well it’s unique. I would say that it is a masterpiece really but I can’t really justify it. It is so odd and so bizarre that it is sure to not appeal to everyone. I thought it was perfect because it set the tone so well for both the story and the characters personalities. It all really fits together well. Like I said before those who have seen Furi Kuri are going to find a lot of similarities here. The acting is also top notch. With so many crazy personalities the cast does a wonderful job of bringing out all these quirky and insane people and giving them life.
I really recommend this movie highly to everyone. If you like zany, graphic, and wild comedy then this show is definitely for you. FLCL fans should also check this out without fail. I would also recommend another series called Trava which is very similar in art style and story pacing. Dead Leaves isn’t for everyone, but I think everyone should give it at least a try.
Anime: Dead Leaves is a 55 minute OAV that was created by Imaitoonz (who also did work on the 3D mechanical designs on Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann), was produced by Production IG (known for their work on Azumanga Daioh and the Ghost in the Shell series), and directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi (who also directed Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and FLCL). It was released in Japan on January 17th, 2004, and was licensed Stateside by Manga Entertainment, who released it on September 28th, 2004.
Story: Retro, a guy with a TV screen for a head, and Pandy, a girl with a panda-esque mutation mark over her eye, wake up naked on Earth with no idea of who they are or how they got there. They promptly decide to go on a crime spree to get food, clothes, and transportation in Tokyo, and are promptly captured and sentenced to time on the lunar prison known as Dead Leaves. Little do they know what awaits them there.
There is but one thing you need to know abotu this OAV: It is cracktastic. No other word for it. Utterly cracktastic. And when you look at the director’s previous works, it’s not all that surprising.
There is no real overarching plot and character development is minimal. The OAV moves along very quickly from sequence to sequence, sprinkled liberally with sex and mayhem and violence and insanity.
It’s a hell of an OAV to watch, and definitely worth it, in my opinion. Just don’t expect much in this department, and just let the crazy wash over you.
WARNING: Very crude (one character has a drill for a dick), sexual acts/references, over the top violence, and some nudity.
Art: The art on this is absolutely insane. And I love it. The entire OAV is animated smoothly, which makes the freneticness of the entire thing that much more awesome to watch. There are very sharp contrasts in this, along with striking color choices, which I absolutely love. The character designs also score major points for originality; all the designs are just as crazy as Retro, Pandy, and drill-dick guy’s.
Music: Nothing that stood out too much here.
Voice Actors: I watched this dubbed, which is pretty unusual for me. The VA work on this was excellent, and I’m amazed at their ability to keep up with the speed of the lines that was required.
Dub: Not covered here, as I don’t have much to compare it to.
Length: Seeing as I am convinced this is crack in a pure, distilled form, this was about all that I could take; any longer, and my brain would have exploded, any shorter, and it wouldn’t have made a bit of sense.
Overall: Cracktastic. Definitely worth a watch, if you can stand a lack of sense, and crudeness.
Voice Actors: 9/10
Overall: 40/50; 80% (B)
In terms of art design the film has a highly stylized look that is fabulous to look at, it’s very sharp full of bright block colours that help the animation stand out greatly and when the animation moves hold on to your seat because this film just moves like a crazy carnival ride. The animation is completely consistent and never lets up and there are points when so many things are happening at once while the screen moves from place to place you may up incapacitated.
The sound in the film is very nice, the choice of music is very upbeat and helps amplify the chaotic action and while it’s not really memorable in any kind of way it works for the film itself. The characters in this film are cool, Retro is just a madman who knows how take care of things in a crazy fashion and the fact that he’s voiced by Kappei Yamaguchi just adds to the character too. Panda is hot chick who is packing heat when the action starts, she seems to be calm in every situation she’s in and is almost the opposite of Retro outside of the battlefield. The villain of the film isn’t half bad and the supporting characters are really funny bunch of people.
To be honest I totally loved Dead Leaves, I thought it was great, while the story wasn’t ever going to be really engaging it had a unique concept behind it and was good for what it was. I recommend this highly for anyone looking for a little epicness in their lives. And lastly if there are any people who have watched Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann should give this a go for sure.
3: Doraemon Movie 25: Nobita no Wan Nyan Jikuuden
English: Doraemon the Movie: Nobita in the Wan-Nyan Spacetime Odyssey
Japanese: 映画 ドラえもん のび太のワンニャン時空伝
MAL Score: 7.32
One day, Nobita finds a stray dog drowning in a river while playing by the river side. Feeling sorry for the dog, he decides to take it home by hiding it in a “kennel on the wall” and names it Ichi (originated from “One”, which sounds similar to “wan”, the sound a dog makes according to the Japanese language), and secretly feeds it and plays with Ichi with his Kendama to find. Soon after, he also adopts a stray cat named Zubu (or wet in Japanese, due to the discovery of it in a rainstorm)… and many other stray cats and dogs. With so many stray cats and dogs, Nobita, along with his friends, decide to send them back in time, 300 million years ago, where there was no other living beings around. After using the Ray of Evolution to allow them to operate a food-making machine, they depart, with a promise to return to the present.
However, when they try to visit them the next day (from their point of view), they encountered a time-space anomaly, sending them crash landing 1,000 years before their original time-destination— to their surprise, They found out the dogs and cats have evolved enough to form a civilized society that rivaled those of Future Society. As the time machine is broken, they try to find help to repair it so they can continue their chrono-journey, only to learn of a bigger issue — a cluster of asteroids are going to Collide with Earth.
Will Nobita finally reunite with Ichi, as he promised? More over, what’s with Hachi, a dog who resembles Ichi greatly? The 300 million years of time and space adventure begins.
MAL Score: 7.34
Ray is a young wunderkind inventor living in Victorian England. His life is turned upside down when he receives a special package hailing from the United States, sent by his grandfather, Lloyd Steam. The package contains a device called a Steam Ball, a device so powerful that it can drive any machine that requires steam with a nearly limitless amount of energy.
Ray is instructed to not let the Steam Ball fall into the wrong hands, which include the mighty O’Hara Foundation, who desperately want to bring the Steam Ball back into their control so they can achieve their less than noble goals.
He will need to use every bit of his brilliance in order to dodge the countless goons that are sent to snatch the device from him. It will be a battle between good and evil, a battle for redemption, a battle for the future!
The plot of Steamboy is really nothing all that original. If you’ve seen any adventure stories before then the overall premise is going to feel very familiar to you. The story centers around the boy Ray Steam, who is an inventor from a family of inventors. After he receives a mysterious package from his grandfather he soon finds himself chased by villains who want it for themselves. The story has lofty goals but by the time the movie ends, I found myself confused about what actually happened and what the purpose of the whole thing was. Also it didn’t feel like any of the villainous characters ever really faced any consequences for their actions and the only people hurt were the innocents they stepped on throughout the story. Maybe I am being to idealistic but I want the bad guys to get their just deserts, and Steamboy didn’t leave me feeling that they had.
There is a lot of very good action in Steamboy however. Fans of action will have a lot to like here. The battles and action scenes are marvelous to watch and the CGI effects are wonderfully embedded within the animation. The movie also does a wonderful job in building a Victorian Age fantasy with amazing steam powered machines of all types. It reminds me a lot of a Jules Verne style story.
Ray Steam is an adequate leading character. He is heroic and idealistic and very much a standard and predictable character type for this kind of story. There just isn’t enough development of his past or personality to make him all that compelling or memorable. Scarlett is even less interesting as we learn almost nothing about her either. I did not find her to be all that likable nor did I care much about what happened to her. She’s spoiled and arrogant and cruel to animals. She seems to make a little progress as the story unfolds but not enough to make me actually like her. Steamboy’s villains are not anymore interesting. While they don’t fit the black/white stereotype that one often seen in these characters for this story type their motivations are obscure and not well defined for most of them. The ones that are just don’t give you enough reasons to dislike them and cheer on our hero.
While the animation was really top notch in most cases, I did not care for the character designs. Particularly that of Scarlet as she looked more like a cross dressing boy than a girl. As I mentioned the animation for the various steam machines and action was amazing. The level of detail and fantastic designs were definitely a highlight. The music and acting was all very good though. The background music did a lot to build the grand scale of the movie.
Steamboy is overall though just an average adventure story. I certainly didn’t dislike this movie at all, I’ve just seen a lot better. Still I don’t think anyone would dislike this so if you enjoy fantasy and adventure stories, Steamboy will be well worth your time.
It’s not ‘weird’ as in something ridiculously abstract or disturbing, but weird in other ways.
The alternate-history setting is a visual feast for the eyes via Production I.G’s commitment to detail and quality animation. The dub is actually really good, and this is coming from a guy who hates dubs. But in a story like this where its set completely in 19th century England, it would be too strange to hear Japanese voices, so the heavy Manchester and cockney London accents fit very well with what’s going on. Yeah, an anime set entirely in 19th century England, with no Japanese characters, weird already.
And damn if what’s going on isn’t bloody amazing. I actually think this is a two act story which is very interesting and unconventional. For any laymen to cinema theory reading this, most common films have three act structures, but Steamboy is basically Setup and then Resolution. Maybe a bit of an act 2 is floating around somewhere in this strange anime, but you’d be hard pressed to find it, as it moves so quickly from a beginning that feels deceivingly generic: a regular boy-receives-package-and-goes-on-run-with-it scenario that doesn’t follow all the clichés of the past thankfully, but instead saves us the trouble of watching the story lull then pick up then lull over and over again. No, Steamboy just keeps going from the first chase scene and doesn’t let up until the destructive climax.
But what a climax. There are images in this anime that are purely breathtaking. Images you’ve never seen before. Katsuhiro Otomo’s eye for apocalyptic action is second-to-none; no one can do it better than him. Seeing it in action in London is a treat. His direction, especially in action sequences, gives you scope to all the mayhem, his pans and tracking shots are perfect.
Its all complemented by humour in the form of a bunch of weapons buyers on a tour of a gigantic weapon of mass destruction, unwittingly being involved in the ‘demonstration’, to sly observations of Londoners’ reactions to horrific disasters unfolding in front of them, it’s never forced but very quirky and funny.
Steamboy can be criticised for its two act structure and may lead people to believe it’s all style and no substance, and I wont even try to defend it’s attempts at philosophising on the purpose of science and technology, as the two characters that keep spouting their speeches gets old very quickly, but this anime is simply unlike any other out there and for that reason alone it deserves your full attention.
There are so many things going on in Steamboy, from the surface narrative of a boy being dragged into an ideological quarrel between his father and grandfather, to the philosophical implications of steam technology on the 19th and 20th century, and most interestingly of all: that this was actually the origin of a superhero which just made me grin big time.
The only down-side to this anime I see is that it is very generic steampunk but I also see this as its bet asset to those who are interested in understanding this genre.
1: Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho
English: The Place Promised in Our Early Days
MAL Score: 7.52
Hiroki Fujisawa and Takuya Shirakawa harbor admiration for two things in their life: their classmate Sayuri Sawatari and the vast Ezo Tower that stands boundlessly across the Tsugaru Strait. Fascinated by the limitless structure beyond their reach, Hiroki and Takuya begin constructing an aeroplane from a fallen drone they discovered—naming it the Bella Ciela—to fulfill their dream of one day reaching the sky-scraping top of the tower. Later joined by the girl they love, Hiroki and Takuya promise Sayuri to fly with her to the seemingly otherworldly top together. However, Japan has suffered a North-South partitioning that has fueled conflict near the base of the tower, which marks the border between the America-controlled Southern islands and the Northern lands occupied by the Soviet Union.
Further along, Sayuri suddenly disappears, and Hiroki and Takuya never see her again. Unbeknownst to them, she fell victim to a sleeping disorder that left her comatose for the past three years. Although Hiroki and Takuya later learn about Sayuri’s condition, they also discover that the girl’s unconscious state is oddly linked to the same tower the trio had promised to conquer together.
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 ‘ voters (and you ” voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =)
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.
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.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho
3. Doraemon Movie 25: Nobita no Wan Nyan Jikuuden
4. Dead Leaves
5. Saint Seiya: Tenkai-hen Josou – Overture