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In 1996, an enormous tower is constructed on the southern shore of Hokkaido, it's purpose-unknown. Curious, three school children make a vow to discover the mysterious tower's secrets. Will this promise have to be left unfulfilled when one of the three falls into a coma?
Makoto Shinkai made an impressive debut as a writer-director in Voices of a Distant Star (OVA, 2002); The Place Promised in Our Early Days (OVA, 2004) is his first studio work. In this alternate world, Japan was divided after World War II: Hokkaido, renamed "Ezo," belongs to "the Union;" the rest of archipelago is an American dependency. Ezo is dominated by the Union Tower, a seemingly topless needle. Middle school students Hiroki and Takuya dream of visiting the Tower, and start building an airplane. They're joined by Sayuri, who nurtures a crush on Hiroki. As the characters move into high school, Sayuri falls into a coma. Hiroki and Takuya learn that her dreams are linked to the Tower and to experiments in contacting parallel universes. Shinkai fills the screen with sun-drenched landscapes that recall the films of Hayao Miyazaki, but the story rambles and falters. Although his understated style is often effective, Shinkai needs to learn to pace a longer work. The narrative often feels choppy, and the ending weak. Serious anime fans will want to watch the progress of this talented young director. (Unrated, suitable for ages 13 and older: alcohol and tobacco use, minor violence) --Charles Solomon
Nope it's not good. Looks like it is gonna be good from the cover, but turns out it isn't. .Published 18 months ago by Peter Straus
I was introduced to Shinkai by the wonderful film "5 Centimeters Per Second", and maybe the problem in part is that it set the bar pretty high. Read morePublished 20 months ago by J. L. Boileau
This is an interesting story with beautiful settings...this also is one animation that I really liked the english overdub actors work...
I thought it was a perfect match. Read more
Makoto Shinkai makes beautiful films. Sun drenched skies, gorgeous clouds and wind-swept fields are all part of his signature style and every film he makes is truly amazing. Read morePublished on November 25, 2012 by B. Ackley
This is a really good anime. Three childhood friends promise to fly a homade airplane across the sea to explore a giant tower. But one of them falls into a coma and disappears. Read morePublished on September 30, 2012 by KevinB
Being a HUGE Studio Ghibli fan I found this film recommended and decided to give it a try. It's a beautiful animation! The details are gorgeous. Read morePublished on April 6, 2011 by LittleGreenMouse
`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... Read morePublished on January 18, 2011 by Spider Monkey
I REALLY wanted to like this film! I guess I went into it a little over hyped. I had seen Makoto Shinkai's 3rd film 5cm/sec and till this day hold it as one of my all time favorite... Read morePublished on January 9, 2011 by Dale Devore
It's a great movie with some drawbacks but it's definitely worth a watch. The visuals are absolutely stunning, and every frame of the animation deserves a second look just to... Read morePublished on October 28, 2010 by SP