雲のむこう、約束の場所

[Screenshot]I was first intrigued by this by some fairly vague trailers airing on the Anime Network, suggesting it had a lot to do with love, airplanes, and war. Also, that The Place Promised in Our Early Days was the most cumbersome title to come down the pike in some time. recommended it too, so I took a look at it (this is what I love about Netflix: I can satisfy all sorts of curiosities). So, yes, there are love, airplanes, war, and all the beautiful artistry I can imagine over a sentimental story. As my response to Whisper of the Heart might indicate, this pushes several of the right buttons for me.

There were some aspects of the story that I wasn’t exactly prepared for, either by the trailer or the Netflix summary. The summary made reference to a divided Japan post-WWII; and since the film made reference to a US/Japan coalition, I assumed it was the post-war occupation and that this was real history (I know we occupied Japan after the war; I assumed that Hokkaido being an autonomous separate entity was just something I’d missed). So I figured this story took place in, maybe, 1947, until I saw computers and whatnot and finally figured out that it was an alternative history, one where Japan was partitioned like Germany (which would, I suppose, make the “Union” a Soviet territory). I suppose this is instantly obvious to anyone who actually knows anything at all about Japanese history.

But, anyways, the first section of the story, other than the historical differences, corresponds about to what I expected: young people getting excited about flying and first love and being all sweet and whatnot. Then the function of the tower is revealed, rather suddenly, and the story changes radically. It works, but nothing I read led me to expect that twist, and I couldn’t help but feel vaguely betrayed by the sudden left turn into pseudoscience. And after that twist, I expected another one: with the discussion of parallel universes and the experiments to make contact with them, I expected a clever twist along the lines as the Big Spoiler from Full Metal Alchemist. But, no, we never see the parallel universes, which is a bit disappointing, and in fact the story pans out about the way we’d expect.

I recommend this one on the strength of the lovely characters and excellent artwork (not superlative art, but pretty enough), but it’s a bit flawed in, as mentioned before, the plot thinness near the end and the excessive use of monologue. The monologue is entirely Hiroki’s, too, so we learn a lot more about what makes him click than either Takuya or Sayuri.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia, Anime News Network, AniDB.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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