Dreams, parallell worlds, broken promises, expectations and hope. Add beautiful music and stunning animation and you have The Place Promised in Our Early Days.
In this story Soviet Union is occupying the northern island Ezo (Hokkaido) while the rest of Japan is controlled by America. When the second world war was over in the 70s the union started to build a high tower, a tower that seems to reach beyond the clouds and further out. Fast forward to the beginning of this movie in the middle of the 90s; three friends, all fascinated by this tower.
Two boys in 9th grade; Takuya and Hiroki, are building an airplane, all for the sake of one day reaching that tower. Their curiosity and need to find out what the tower is, overshadow everything else in their lives and every second of their free time they spend on building that plane, a plane they get parts to by working at a military plant. The owner, mr Okabe helps them out as much as he can, he himself interested in the tower for different reasons.
One girl; Sayuri, asks Takuya if she can come with them one day and after that the three are always together, the boys building and she reading or exploring the surrounding and occasionally she falls asleep and dreams. She dreams a lot about strange things.
Winter turns to spring, that turns into summer. One day Sayuri is gone. Vanished without a word. Both boys loose the will to carry out the mission without her, years pass by and they get separated; Hiroki moves to Tokyo to attend high school while Takuya starts to work at a research facility researching parallell worlds. The research is closely connected to the tower.
The tower is a threat, opening time rifts into parallell worlds, it can cause a total collapse on Ezo and likely the rest of Japan as well. Only one thing stops it from growing; a sleeping girl and her never ending dreams.
Hiroki, Takuya and Sayuri will reunite again, in some way. They all have something precious they want to save. But as always, there are obstacles in the way, war being one thing. The sleeping girls dreams another. Not everything is even possible to save.
It is a beautiful tale about friendship and love. About the curiosity within the youth and the importance of a promise. It is a bittersweet ending. I cried like a little child when the credits rolled for the things that were lost and for the words that were said. It was so hopeful, yet so sad.
The music is absolutely amazing and brilliant. I’d say that this OST is one of the better ones I have heard. It is so very adequate for the theme of the movie and every little detail in the animation ties in with the music beautifully. Also, I am a sucker for a lonely violin and both Sayuri and Hiroki plays the violin. (click on the picture and you’ll get to the full OST on YouTube)
I’m gonna mention here that I watched the dub (because that was what I stumbled upon yesterday when I browsed around). I usually don’t like dubs but this had a really good dub and it was actually a good feeling to watch something dubbed for once. I could concentrate fully on the picture. Notice all the little changes and listen properly to the music. In a movie like this I feel like that is important. I had one less thing to bother with when watching the dub. So, maybe I should watch more dubbed anime? At least when it comes to movies.
Well, this one turned into a more serious review than usually. It deserves it. Watch the movie people, it is worth it all the way to anywhere above the clouds where that tower ends. (I doubt it will end though seeing what it’s purpose is but still.) It’s on YouTube. (and apparently on Crunchyroll unless you live in a country, like me, where you can’t access it.)