Kumo no muk˘, yakusoku no basho (The Place Promised in Our Early Days) (2004)
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The anime feature The Place Promised in Our Early Days (AKA Kumo No Muko, Yakusoku No Bashu) opens with an alternate ending to World War II, when the islands of Japan are divided into northern and southern territories, and the island of Hokkaido - Japan's second largest prefecture, at the nexus of the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean - is annexed. Around the turn of the millennium, an enigmatic tower is constructed on Hokkaido, and though its purpose is inscrutable to the locals, it causes the tension between the northern and southern territories to double in intensity. As this occurs, two local teenage boys - friends since early childhood - contemplate the mystery of the tower and devise plans to build a plane that will enable them to explore it. They also fall hopelessly in love with the same girl, who lavishes her attentions on each. The three vow to always stay together, and to see the plans for the airplane through to fruition, but in time the friends forge separate paths and a devastating sickness threatens to claim the girl's life. What they cannot even begin to anticipate are the truths that will be uncovered when time and destiny pull them back together. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Kumo no muk˘, yakusoku no basho (The Place Promised in Our Early Days)
By any standard it's impressive anime; as a feature debut it's a remarkable achievement.
I suspect that in 20 years, film buffs worldwide will be pointing to The Place Promised in Our Early Days as the introductory work from one of cinema's first-rate directors.
Shinkai Makoto, who made the 30-minute 'Voices of a Distant Star' by himself on a laptop computer, has written and directed an anime that favors human emotions over robot battles.
Audience Reviews for Kumo no muk˘, yakusoku no basho (The Place Promised in Our Early Days)
An achingly beautiful, poetic, simple movie about love and limitlessness.
Makoto Shinkai > Hayao Miyazaki. Everything Shinkai has ever done has touched me profoundly.
In "The Place Promised in Our Early Days," Hiroki and Takuya are a couple of childhood friends who go to work at a junkyard in the middle of nowhere in exchange for parts, so they can repair an airplane that they intend to fly in order to explore a mysterious tower just across the border. Soon after, they are joined by Sayuri, another friend.
After which, "The Place Promised in Our Early Days" jumps ahead seven years. And what I had initially thought of as a movie about the near future(unless I missed something), becomes something much more interesting and weirder in simultaneously taking on the topics of dreams and parallel realities, in this case a plausible sounding one where Japan like Korea and Germany is divided after World War II. So while this is the rare science fiction movie, albeit an animated one, that is truly evocative, it also proves that alternate realities can be just as headache inducing as time travel and I mean that as the highest compliment. Now, if the ending had only made a little more sense...
From Makoto Shinkai's three best-known pieces, The Place Promised in Our Early Days possesses the most pronouncedly plot-oriented narrative: An ambiguous love triangle, a symbolic separation of worlds, and characteristic to Makoto, an open-ended and beautifully depressing conclusion. The characters of The Place Promised in Our Early Days are rather stationary and similar to those in Shinkai's other productions, are young, quiet, wounded, idealistic, and marvellously uninteresting. The characters are simple but their raw emotions are beautifully portrayed. Above other merits, characters in this movie are representative of good sense, human integrity, and beautiful resilience to losing love, being alone and growing up.More
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