Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Place Promised in Our Early Days

Okay, as a guy, I don't normally like romance films. They usually seem cliched to me and tend to bore me. However, The Place Promised in Our Early Days is one of the rare exceptions.

The Place Promised in Our Early Days takes place in alternate timeline where Japan has been divided into two nations, with the main island of Honshu occupied by the United States and the northern island of Hokkaido occupied the Soviet Union. On the southern tip of Hokkaido, the government has built a mysterious tower that is so tall that it is visible from Tokyo. By the time of the story's beginning, the two nations are gearing up for war.

 The story begins with two boys, Hiroki and Takuya, in their last year of middle school. They live on the northern tip of Honshu, where the tower is right across the Tsugara Strait to the north. Fascinated by the tower, they begin building a plane to one day visit it. As they build the plane, they become close friends with a girl named Sayuri, whom they promise to bring with them when they visit the tower. That is, until Sayuri disappears over the summer.

I can't reveal much more of the plot without spoiling the whole movie, but let me assure you, this is one of the most heart-breaking films I've ever watched. I'm not afraid to say that I was crying by the end of this film.

The director of the film, Makoto Shinkai, is an absolute genius who has frequently been referred to as "The Next Miyazaki". All of his films deal with the themes of childhood love and separation from the ones you love, so all are heartbreaking to watch. So, I would also recommend his other two films, 5cm Per Second and Voices of a Distant Star, although this is without a doubt my favorite film by him.

The film is also notable in that the animation is absolutely beautiful and suits the mood of the film perfectly. Especially the backgrounds, which are so beautiful that they deserve to hang in an art museum. The background for this blog is actually from one of Makoto Shinkai's other films, 5cm Per Second. And for your viewing pleasure, here's some of the backgrounds from The Place Promised in Our Early Days.

So overall, I would recommend this film as being one of the few romance movies I've enjoyed, that is both heartbreaking and beautiful to watch. Not to mention it has an amazing soundtrack, with a beautiful violin solo getting special mention. For those of you with Netflix, it is available on instant play.


  1. I'm really glad that you included some anime in this blog. I know a lot of it can be really eccentric and nonsensical, but they all are done really well and they tend to have better musical scores than other Western movies. I'll have to check this one out sometime...

  2. How do you find all these international movies? I feel so uncultured. I liked anime more when I was younger. I grew out of it, but passed it on to my younger sister, who reads the comics, watches the shows, and is an amazing artist with an anime twist.

  3. You have surprisingly good taste in animation. Its rare to see people look for obscure, non-mainstream titles in anything. You find the obscure in the obscure. And that is just awesome!