“Anywhere You Are” – Now and Then, Here and There (anime) – 10/10 Disco Balls


War does not determine who is right – only who is left. ~Bertrand Russell

Genre: Drama/Action/Sci-fi

Review Status: Complete (13 Episodes/13 Episodes)

Licensed: This anime is licensed in the US

Art/Animation: Both have stood the test of time. The art and animation is comparable to many titles today, though the colors do seem a tad faded or darkened in many scenes.

Summary: Shu is a typical Japanese boy, but has an unbeatable, optimistic and determined attitude. However, when he sees a mysterious girl with strange eyes named Lala-Ru up on a smokestack, he is soon pulled into a strange desert world. Shu soon discovers the true terrors of war, which includes genocide, brutal torture, hunger, thirst, and child explotation. Now Shu is trying to save Lala-Ru, as well as his hard earned, and often relunctant, new friends from the insane dictator, Hamdo. Whether Shu can possibly accomplish saving those he cares about while still holding up to his values remains to be seen. (Source: ANN)

Review: Give me a moment to dry my eyes….. This anime seems to have the sole purpose to make as many viewers as possible cry. This takes the typical “boy saving the world” premise and takes it up another notch. He doesn’t have to face ten billion enemies; he only has to face one- Hamdo, who wants nothing more than to rule the world, and will do everything in his power to do so.

This ramps it up in what he must face. This being war, there is torture of many types. Girls are raped to breed new soldiers. And when he does catch a break, it’s in a place where a fever of revenge has taken hold and places him and his new friends in grave danger.

This takes a fairly typical plot but puts interesting and believable characters into it. While Shu is the typical shounen hero, he’s backed by a quiet and almost unfeeling heroine. While she eventually comes around it’s hard to tell how much he affected her until the end. Hamdo, the antagonist, is not just cruel- he’s insane. He doesn’t care who he hurts, how many he has to hurt, or how brutally he hurts them in order to get what he wants. And his second in command is willing until the end to follow him and make his wishes true.

Virtually everyone Shu meets ends up important to the story, whether he knows it or not. This means that a rather large cast gets very distinctive personalities and behaviours. It’s amazing that they all play important parts in the time they get, and that’s a definite benefit.

While the story is heartbreaking, it’s still well-paced, with everything told in it’s own time. It never feels rushed. Both the sub and dub are good, though the dub can sounds stilted in some places. And the violence depicted never is without a reason, as senseless as that reason is. It’s not done without discretion in what’s depicted.

Overall, this was a heartbreaking but beautiful anime.

Recommended: Yes. But 17+ for some language (less in the sub than the dub), rape (implied but not shown), torture, massacre (very little gore but lots of blood), some graphic death (getting shot point-blank in the heart and head). And of course, showing the mental aftermath of going through that.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Grave of the Fireflies (anime)
Bokurano (anime and manga)
Kino’s Journey (anime and light novels)
Saikano (manga)
Shadow Star (manga)
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (anime)

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