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The Place Promised in Our Early Days

4.1 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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(Jul 12, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Hidetaka Yoshioka, Masato Hagiwara, Yuka Nanri, Unshô Ishizuka, Kazuhiko Inoue
  • Directors: Makoto Shinkai
  • Writers: Makoto Shinkai, Steven Foster
  • Producers: Makoto Shinkai, John Ledford, Mark Williams, Naomi Toda
  • Format: Animated, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Section 23
  • DVD Release Date: July 12, 2005
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009PLMAS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,583 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Place Promised in Our Early Days" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Kraska on July 17, 2005
Format: DVD
After seeing the trailer at the ADV website, and knowing it was another Shinkai movie, I had to see this one, and it was just as good as I thought it would be. Hell, I'm almost willing to call it the best I've seen in the last few years. I can see now why some call Shinkai the next Miyazaki...if you think that is blasphemous to say, you ought to check out his works before judging that for yourself.

As much as I enjoyed Voices of A Distant Star (Hoshi no Koe), I found it too short. His animation style, the colors, the computer effects were all amazing...and even more so that he did the whole thing by himself.

Then he comes up with this masterpiece. Voices had an okay plot, but wasn't too terribly developed or interesting. This one is spectacular. It everything that Voices should have been...full length, proffessional looking, same beautiful use of computers to enhance colors, Shinkai's little trick of using real places in Japan to draw out just blew me away.

Any anime fan looking for something fresh and beautiful should check this out, it is well worth the small amount of cash it will cost you. And if you are fortunate enough to live in one of the cities where its being shown in the theaters, I highly encourage you to see it there on the big screen.

The story is about three children and their quest to greater know the world they live in. This alternate universe takes place after WWII, except here the island of Honshu (the main island of Japan) and all southern islands came under US occupation, and the northern most island Hokaido came under control of the mysterious "Union", who in 1974 erected an enourmous tower for an unknown purpose.
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Format: DVD
I wanted to see this ever since I heard that it was done by the same director who created Voices of a Distant Star, and I have to say that it lived up to my expectations.

Every single frame of this piece looks as though it could be framed on the wall as art. It looks amazing. The attention to detail is astonishing.

But Promise is not just eye-candy. There is a story, told in subdued tones, and supported by a rich, lovely score.

A complex blend of romance, drama, and science-fiction, the narration on both the Japanese and English tracks is perfect.

This is a film that will change anime the same way that Akira did, but for vastly different reasons.
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Format: DVD
This movie features and follows a number of characters as it unfolds, but the main characters are two youngsters (a male and a female) who have feelings for one another in a pre-war Japan. Seemingly oblivious to the turmoil erupting, they both look off into the sky toward a huge, thin, silver sliver of hope - the "tower."

As the story unfolds we learn that the tower links dimensions and is somehow threatening to destroy the world as we know it. Erupting warfare also occurs but all this is handled like a background story - for the main characters are still intent upon reaching their "promised land" (the land essentially surrounding the tower, encompassing the tower as well).

The bulk of the story takes place after the children have grown up and mysteriously the female character that one of the main male characters was attracted to in his youth suddenly falls into a coma. Without giving any more away, this story is about reaching her in much the same way Voices of a Distant Star was about the communication between two young loves across a war and worlds.

Thematic elements are similar between Voices of a Distant Star and The Place Promised in Our Early Days. Both movies feature innocent love, the battle of love lost, and a supportive art style which contributes to Shinkai's film's emotionally engaging story.

Shinkai does it again this time out-doing himself with amazing animation, soundtrack, and excellent captivating and emotional storyline. Between Voices of a Distant Star and The Place Promised in Our Early Days, Makoto Shinkai proves himself as one of the greatest Japanese animators. Extras show his transition from working solo to working with a whole team...
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Format: DVD
Place Promised in Our Early Days / B0009PLMAS


The problem with philosophical movies is that one person's "Oh my, wasn't that deep and mysterious" moment is another person's "Good grief, this is boring, tedious, and inane", and sometimes there's just no rhyme or reason to it besides differences in character, history, and experiences between the two people. And then the person who didn't like the film goes on Amazon and explains why they didn't like it in order to aid people in their purchasing decisions, and inevitably comes off looking like a jerk for 'hating' on someone's favorite movie.

And yet, here we are. I wanted to like "Place Promised", I really did. Firstly, and while this shouldn't *matter*, it's still very impressive, the movie is absolutely gorgeous. Seriously, this is some of the prettiest anime I've ever seen - there's a scene where a ladybug alights on a girl's hand, and it's so lovely I just want to cry. And, really, I *love* the plot premise - the horror of being totally alone in an alternate reality that you can't wake from is exactly the kind of plot premise that messes deeply with your mind for weeks on end. As well as the dual persona of the two boys - do they save their friend and risk the world, or do they sacrifice an innocent for mankind?

So why two stars? Honestly, despite all this I just didn't enjoy the movie. The characters are so bland and badly characterized that I couldn't get into it and just ended up being frustrated.
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