Kumo no Mukou Yakusoku no Basho
- The Place Promised in Our Early Days
- by Makoto Shinkai
1974: Japan is divided in two parts: Whereas the south is controlled by the United States, the Soviet Union took control over the north. In the anime movie the island Hokkaido is called Ezo where a big tower was constructed reaching the sky. In 1996, the construction of the tower is completed and 3 students have the dream to fly to this tower. Hiroki Fujisawa and Takuya Shirakawa are childhood friends who are in love with Sayuri Sawatori. Both boys repair with the help of Mr. Okabe a crashed drone to fulfill their dream. They named the drone Bella Ciela. However, Sayuri disappears before they could realize their dream. Her disappearance is somehow related to that specific tower.
The main topic of the movie is ‘dreaming’. One of the boys (Hiroki) and the girl Sayuri are somehow connected through their dreams. In other words, Sayuri tries to communicate with Hiroki in his dream. We have to mention that the movie is a bit confusing at the beginning however it clears up and it becomes more and more interesting. The plot switches sometimes from present to past which is especially made to explain the disappearance of Sayuri.
Another topic in the anime movie is the friendship between the three main characters. They made a promise to fly to the tower but they were unable to keep it due to Sayuri’s sudden disappearance. The friendship between both boys breaks and each of them goes separate ways such as different high schools. The personalities of both boys changed drastically. Especially, Hiroki is very depressed and seems to be quite unhappy most of the time. So he starts playing violin as Sayuri used to do. He lives a very sad and lonely life and is not able to get friends again after the separation from Takuya and disappearance of Sayuri.
The setting takes place during the time of war which can be compared to the Second World War. Moreover, the characters of the anime movie are quite interesting. Especially the three protagonists represent usual teenagers who have big dreams and the will to follow these. The very strong relationship bonds them together till the day Sayuri disappears. Hiroki is the storyteller and expresses his feelings how everything has changed after that day. He also explains most of the things in the movie.
The beginning of the movie does not show much emotions but they increase towards the end. Many drama scenes are shown and the audience starts to feel sympathy for the characters. Sayuri talks about her loneliness in her dreams and that she wants to return to her friends especially Hiroki. Hiroki seems to be in love with her as he searches everywhere to find her. He also has sometimes the feeling that she is close by feeling her presence.
The art of the animation is not bad but also not stunning. The nature scenes and landscapes are well depicted whereas the design of the characters is a bit weak. Their faces do not show many details. To sum up, the art was okay as it was clean and kept very simple. Besides the art, we really like the choice of the music even the ending theme is a well match.
The fact that the movie is also from Makoto Shinkai, some similarities can be noticed to ‘Your Name’. For example, the connection of the two characters through two different worlds or time periods. Another similarity can be seen in the behavior of Hiroki and Taki: just as in ‘Your Name’ a boy does everything to save the girl.
Nonetheless, some negative aspects are included in the movie. The fact that it is a bit confusing at the beginning it also jumps too fast from scene to scene. For example, there is a lack of 3 years which are left out so that you don’t know what happened in between. Afterwards the movie continues very slow meaning that in some scenes nothing really happens. This makes the movie a bit boring and therefore we think that it could have been done in a 60 minutes movie.
All in all, the anime shows how friendship and love transcend boundaries and obstacles. Indeed, the whole movie is very beautiful and astonishing. The connection through the dream is a creative idea but not unique. However, we recommend the movie after all, because it contains an interesting storyline.