Now and Then, Here and There Review

Hawkeye

The words to describe this anime are hard to find. Remarkable, extraordinary, captivating, and brilliant, none of them seem to do this series the proper justice. Now and Then, Here and There is about a regular high school boy named Shu, just a normal kid living a simple life. He has a family, a sister he bickers with, even a girl at school he has a crush on. But on the way home from school one day, he spots a beautiful girl with glimmering blue hair sitting on top of a smoke stack, and his life changes.

A blue sphere of light surrounds them and machines that look like metallic dragons start to attack the girl. A woman in a military uniform laughs, announcing that she has finally found the “real McCoy, the real Lala-Ru”. In an attempt to save the poor girl from an obviously horrible fate, they get transported back to a different world, a desert planet, war- torn and broken. A mad king is trying to capture the world in his iron fist, there’s an army of kidnapped children and a girl with the power to save them, and all the while Shu must adapt to his new surroundings and save poor Lala-Ru from a gruesome destiny. Can he survive this harsh planet and the dangers of King Hando and his fortress Hellywood? Can Shu protect Lala-Ru with out having to kill those who are after her? Can he maintain his humanity on this cruel world and eventually find his way home?

This is by far one of the most creative animes out there, each character creative and unique, and the story beautiful and terrifying at the same time. This anime is serious, and winding, twisting just enough here and there to keep the viewer on their toes, but not so much that one would lose track of the bigger picture. This anime doesn’t hesitate to give you all sides of the story, from the soldiers of Hellywood, to the rebels fighting for their lives, you get all of the details. This show deals with some hard issues, death, war, rape, depression, but it is all done tastefully as possible, steering away from gruesome bluntness and going for more of the Alfred Hitchcock suggestion look. This isn’t one for the younger viewers looking for a laugh or a giggle, this show should only be viewed by those seeking something deeper, something much more satisfying.

imageThe animation was refreshingly remarkable, popping with unsurpassed style and fluidity. The different perspectives, especially during the fight scenes really make this series. Also the use of light and shadow was beautiful, the oranges and yellows used throughout the desert gave the viewer the feeling of being there, of feeling the hot burning sun pour down on them, while the scene of the giant fortress Hellywood darkened in front of the fiery sky gave the viewer a sense of overwhelming foreboding. But the animation was not alone in making this series an utter joy to view, the sound was also quite enjoyable. The opening and ending themes are short, but both are worth listening to more then once, both almost like strange folk music. The voice acting was also superb, the children sounded like children, the adults like adults, and the inflection in the tones were brilliantly done. The conflict being narrated throughout the series was believable and delightfully delivered with perfection.

But what could make this series even better? An entire disc of extras, that’s what. The 4th disc in the box set is not more episodes by a special Bonus disc. Being an artist, there were a few things that really caught my attention on this special disc, like the character sketches, mechanical sketches and the story boards. These features are really unique and gave me an inside peek at what the animators were thinking as they drew this series. Something else that was fascinating was the scripts provided on the DVD. Never before have I seen a series that included and form of the scripts used for making the anime. The marketing team held nothing back with this one, and any true fan of this series will be giddy with goodies.

Entertainment: 10
This show was a pure delight, and worth watching over and over again. This is a classic and any serious anime fan should check it out. I’d be hard pressed to find anything that I enjoyed more then this series.

Technical: 10
This series includes everything you could possibly want, English dubbed, Japanese with subtitles, and an extra Bonus DVD with more features then you could shake a stick at.

Overall: 10

Box Set includes: 1 Collectors Box, DVD V.1 Now and Then, Here and There – Discord and Doom, DVD V.2 Now and Then, Here and There – Flight and Fall, DVD V.3 Now and Then, Here and There – Conflict & Chaos, Now and Then, Here and There – Bonus Disc

Bonus Disc includes: Character Sketches, Mechanical Sketches, background Sketches, Trailers, Storyboards, From Then to Now: Behind the Scenes, Japanese Opening, Art Gallery, Scripts, Cast and Production Credits.

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