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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A Japanese production.
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Violence & Scariness
Brief war violence, missile from a plane fired at a tower, explosions.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One of the adult characters often smokes cigarettes. Sake drinking at dinner.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Place Promised in Our Early Days is a 2004 coming-of-age sci-fi anime in which three teens become obsessed with a giant tower across the border in a divided Japan. The movie imagines an alternate reality in which Cold War politics has split Japan in two after World War II. One of the adult characters is often shown smoking cigarettes. Sake drinking occurs at dinner. There's some war violence: A plane fires a missile at a tower, resulting in a massive explosion. Aside from this, there are no serious concerns in terms of content, but the complexity of the story makes this best for tweens and older. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a heady coming-of-age anime that imagines an alternate reality and alternate universes. The Place Promised in Our Early Days imagines a Japan split into two regions between the Soviet Union and United States after World War II as three teens come of age in the mid-'90s on the border between the two, fascinated by a tower high above them on the other side. It's not without the melodrama that typifies so much anime, but this alternate reality angle is what makes it so unique and enjoyable, provided you can keep up with the story's complexities.
It's a lot to digest, and younger viewers will be forgiven for not being able to follow along. Stories and movies commenting on geopolitics and theoretical physics are obviously not for everyone, and especially not for kids who like their entertainment silly. Therefore, one's enjoyment of this movie is dependent less on the emo melodrama of most coming-of-age anime and more on how interested tweens and teens are in more complex sci-fi. This was the debut film of director Makoto Shinkai, and the high quality of the animation and his strength in using vibrant imagery to convey story come alive in nearly every scene.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.