The Place Promised In Our Early Days starts out with a very tranquil slice of life setting, but don’t get fooled by first appearances. It soon takes on a more dramatic tone, with a sense of sci.fi. over it too, depending on which of the two male leads’ story it’s currently following. With the dreams of the female lead popping in here and there, you have three fantastic story which grabs you on a deep, emotional level, and it all ends with blending the three together in one splendid end scene, which I’ll remember a long time.
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 Makoto 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 is 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.
The Place Promised in Our Early Days begins simply enough. Without going into too much detail, we’re thrown into the rather mundane lives of Fujisawa Hiroki and Shirakawa Takuya. Both are rather normal; attend school, participate in club activities and hang out. What strikes with us is that they’re rather normal. Hiroki is a regular teenage boy with a crush on a cute girl Sawatari Sayuri. As the world they live in is slowly unraveled and we see the differences between ours and theirs we also see how Hiroki and Takuya are different from normal boys. It is during this first part that we get to see watch the key scenes of friendship between Hiroki, Sayuri and Takuya. Despite the differences in their setting we get to see that they’re, in fact, just like us. They have dreams and aspirations. Makoto Shinkai has truly created characters we can relate to and understand. This sets us up for the later parts where as the story delves closer towards the two male protagonists, we can clearly understand their current actions as influenced by their early days.
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.
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.
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. The Place Promised in Our Early Days provides a fusion of character depth and a surreal view of how friendship and love know transcend all obstacles. Given the characters and situations they’re placed in, we can all sympathize with one of them and that’s what strikes home.