The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Now and Then, Here and There

Title: Now and Then, Here and There aka Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku
Genre: Drama
Company: AIC
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 14 Oct 1999 – 20 Jan 2000

Synopsis: Being an emphatic optimist, Shu is not predisposed to any negative thoughts. Even a staggering defeat in front of a girl he planned to ask out does not faze this energetic boy. During a short excursion to an abandoned smokestack, he encounters a mysterious young girl named Lala Ru. Little does Shu know that this chance encounter will mark the end of his quiet life.

The Highlights
Story: Absolutely unforgettable.
Characters: Genuinely human.
Seiyuu: Extraordinary.

Anime is artistic expression through both visual and acoustic mediums. However, at its very core, it has a homogeneous root with virtually all other conventional media. This show epitomizes the fact that powerful writing is the key ingredient to any classic. Despite its simplistic character designs, Now and Then, Here and There is still one of the most memorable pieces to ever dawn on the animated world.

Now and Then, Here and There almost intentionally starts out in a misleading fashion. A hard-headed, optimistic young boy, Shu, meets a mysterious girl before they are transported to another world. However, unlike most alternate universe settings, the characters do not merely enter a dangerous world; they enter a world completely and utterly dominated by fear. The futility of hatred, the futility of vengeance, the futility of war, these are themes of the anime, but the series never sounds like a soap box lecture. Shu’s unfettered and often baseless optimism serves as the flickering light in a war torn land of death and decay.

While, many of the more risqué scenes are tastefully omitted, the show still manages to drag out a visceral sense of hate, fear and hopelessness. The weak art constantly reminds the audience that none of this is real, but some scenes are so emotionally raw that I will be haunted by these moments for years to come. With a sweeping soundtrack that never fails to make the heart skip a beat and impressive seiyuu performances that never require abridgement of belief, this anime is nothing short of a true epic.

Never does the series preach or trumpet the failures of the human race. In contrast, Now and Then, Here and There is more of a celebration of life. This anime is a frighteningly believable microcosm of war, but it places greater emphasis on humanity’s resilience in the face of such adversities. Unlike most anime, the series never relies on trite statements like “war is hell” because, instead of telling, it oh so vividly shows.

The Rating: 10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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