Title: Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho
English: The Place Promised In Our Early Days
Jap. Kanji: 雲のむこう、約束の場所
Synonyms: Beyond The Clouds, The Promised Place
Genre: Drama, SciFi
Companies: Shinkai Makoto (Shinkai Makoto / CoMix Wave)
Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho is the first full length movie made by Shinkai Makoto, whose recognition comes from his famous work, Hoshi no Koe, his independent anime debut. Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho tells a story of three young friends named Hiroki, Sayuri, and Takuya, and their dream to journey to the large tower built on Hokkaido. However, one day Sayuri suddenly disappears and their plans to venture to the tower are shattered. Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho is a reflective tale spanning over 4 years time expressing the innocence and beauty of youth to how just one event can adversly affect the future of a group of friends.
3 friends separated for 3 years. One becoming a scientist, the 2nd one missing somewhere in Tokyo and the 3rd one unconscious for 3 years, dreaming one and same dream all over again. Nothing special, you may think. Actually, the story is more complicated than this. What's the connection between the Ezo tower and the dream of Sayuri Sawatari? The studies on parallel worlds that Takuya Shirakawa is doing?
I must say, the story is great! At some times it may be a bit boring, but this is good, it's not rushing with events. It's narrated in segments; it "jumps" from the old scenes to more recent, and backward. This is just great; it lets you know what you need to know at each part of the story.
Just one word - great! Especially the scenery and everything else. It's great how the artist draw the calm morning sky, the freezing winter, the hot summer...
The bg music is also great. It fits every scene and situation perfectly. Mostly calm but at the end it "waves" along with the story and becomes stronger.
The chars are also quite good, personally I think they could be a bit better, though, can't complain about them. Sawatari (the dreaming girl) is most of the time the same, just develops some feelings toward Hiroki Fujisawa during the story. Though, we get to know about her dream in details.
The one that most changes in the story is Takuya. Especially his thoughts.
Also Hiroki is mostly the same since the start. He's also in love with Sawatari (since the start) but never tells this to her.
I hardly give a rating of 10 to an animation, but this one really deserves it ... especially the animation is great. The story music and the animation really fit together.
Edit: Ok, screenshots comming!!! xD