"Somewhere Far Away" – The Place Promised In Our Early Days (anime) – 9/10 Leprechauns

Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth, to some good angel leave the rest; For Time will teach thee soon the truth, there are no birds in last year’s nest! ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Genre: Romance/ Drama/ Sci-Fi

Review Status: Complete (1 Movie/ 1 Movie)

Licensed: Yes, this anime is licensed in the US.

Art/Animation: Gorgeous. The animation is very well-done, while the art is breathtaking- you can see the light sparkle in the ice and water, the gleam of reflections in the glass, lightning flashes in distant clouds. This movie is total eyecandy.

Summary: In school they were best friends. And they shared two passions: the plane they built together, christened Bela Cielo, and a girl, Sayuri.

Oblivious to the tense international environment, the three form an indelible bond and it seems nothing can ever come between them and their dreams. The boys believe that someday they will reach the distant tower- and touch Sayuri’s heart- however far away it may be.

But time passes. War escalates. Alliances are changed. Friends become enemies. And Sayuri falls into a dreamlike state that seems inexplicably linked tot he mysterious tower of their youth. At the brink of a World War, Sayuri seems to be the key to a new world peace… or a frightening and bitter end to life as we know it. (Back of the DVD cover)

Review: Two friends, as thick as thieves. Determined to fly and see the Tower that has overshadowed their lives…. Who are drawn to the Tower in ways that are inexplicable. Takuya, a boy that is popular among the girls, but refuses them all. Hiroki, who is attracted to one girl in particular, but she might not be attracted to him the same way.

But with her coming into their lives, they are drawn into a world of politics and potential war.

This is a story that unravels itself a bit at a time, building upon itself. The firesndship is focused on in the first part, where you see them dreaming and working towards their goals. In the background are radio reports of tense relations between the Union and the rest of Japan. And Sayuri has a vision of horrible things to come.

This movie mad an effective use of a time jump, with things leaving off on a good note for the first part, but three years later, there is a melancholy tone to most of the things the boys are doing. They lost their passion for their plane. While one is now working for the government, discovering alternate universes, another has taken himself away from the little town on the border to Tokyo, where he is haunted by the sudden disappearance of Sayuri.

Little pieces of what happened over those three years are revealed through different viewpoints. No one has the full picture of what’s happening, and the viewer can only watch as it comes together bit by bit. The connections made between the friends and the events that come around them are astounding, creating a story that truly comes full-circle.

To see the change in the characters is both haunting and familiar, as many friendships in real life come fall apart or become distant. To see how they deal with the loss of their friend also seems familiar. And all through this, you wonder, ‘can they meet again?’.

The way this brings together the threat of war, the dangers that Sayuri herself represents, and the way the friendship is torn apart over this is done very powerfully and well.

There are other things that made this a delight to watch, from the gorgeous art, to the lovely instrumentals chosen as background music and the effective use of silence and background noise in contrast to it, to the excellent voices for both the dub and sub version. I will say here that the dub is definitely one of the best I’ve heard, starring Jessica Boone (Rue from Princess Tutu, Chiyo from AzuDi, and Misaki from Angelic Layer, among other roles) and Chris Patton (Sousuke from FMP!, Greed from FMA/FMA: Brtherhood, Yuuichi from Kanon (2006), and Fakir from Princess Tutu among other roles). The story was nicely and deliberately paces, with each bit bringing more story to light and none of it seeming excessive or out of place.

But while these things added to the movie, it would have been good without them- it’s a story about love and the choices we make in life, the importance we place in eachother, and the dreams that we have.

My only regret is that, as beautiful as the movie is and the relationships are, the relationships feel ever so slightly underdeveloped- enough to bump down my score from a 10.

Overall, this was a beautiful story about love and distance, where two souls could cross time and space to find eachother.

Recommended: YES. Makoto Shinkai is considered one of the best anime directors out there, with Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon. 12+, for one instance of a shirtless man (it’s the summer and it’s hot out), one use of the h-word. There is also some blood spatter when one of the boys gets shot (doesn’t die)- it’s brief but could frighten the younger viewers. There is also some blood that gets splattered on the Bela Cielo goes through the war zone. There’s also a brief shot of Sayuri changing, you get a very short glimpse of her in her bra.

Other titles you might enjoy:
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (anime)
Voices of A Distant Star (anime)
Macross Frontier (anime)
Alice 19th (manga)
Romeo x Juliet (anime)
Air (movie and anime)
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle (manga)
5 Centimeters Per Second (anime


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