Kumou no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho (Beyond the Clouds, The Promised Place)
Plot: "At the end of World War II, Japan was split and a great tower was erected that reached the skies. For three friends, Hiroki, Takuya, and Sayuri, memories of their summer spent together would stay with them forever. During that precious time, the three promised to one day travel to the tower in the skies on the wings of a white plane -- to finally see its brilliance and the surrounding land of Ezo -- but when Sayuri suddenly disappeared from their lives, the promise that once was made was broken. Though time continues to pass, will the three ever meet again some day?" (site synopsis)
Story: Before i begin with the analize of the story i need to say a few words as an introduction for this anime. I really need to say, and i really mean it, this anime is probably one of the best i seen this year, and one of the few anime that gets a 10/10 from me without hesitation/second thought.I blame myself because i knew stuff about this anime from like 1 year ago, i also marked it as a "must to watch" but i completely forgot about it, if i knew that this anime would be as briliant as it is i would have watched it long ago. However fate (i think this is the only reason why i did not manage to watch this piece of art until now) spoke and i got to see this movie today, which stunned me, not only the story was captivating and astonishing but it exceeds in other aspects as well, a true masterpiece and i mean it. Back to the story telling, at the end of WW II, Japan was split (from what the anime described the island Hokkaido was separated from the rest of Japan and was called Ezo) and a huge tower was construced which reached the sky. Hiroki Fujisawa and Takuya Shirakawa were two students who were obsessed by that tower and they were eager to fly to it. However one thing was connecting this two, Sayuri Sawakura a girl that both of them admired. Hiroki and Takuya were planing to construct a plane so they can fly to the tower, but to do that they needed to work so they could get their materials. Hiroki, Takuya and Sayuri spent a summer toghether and the memories from that summer would follow them forever. During that time the three promised that one day they will travel toghether to the tower in the skies. However when Sayuri disappears without leaving a trace, Hiroki and Takuya parted ways, and were not able to fullfil the promise that they had made. What i have to say here is that this anime has a very very slow slice of life aspect, infact in this movie there is no comedy, no action, only discussions. It has a very touching romance aspect, something that i seen in other movies made by the same studio which made this movie CoMix Wave Inc. (the same studio that made Byousoku 5 Centimeters and Voices of a Distant Star). This anime does not apply to everyone, the topics that are discussed in this anime seem rather intelectual, scientifical, kinda hard even for me to fully understand, i recommend it especialy for people who have some science knowledge.
Animation: Hands Down, i got nothing to complain about the animation of this anime, probably, only praises i can make because i cannot even describe the briliance of the animation quality and definition, and as well the character designs.I was truly impressed about the animation, infact this was the first thing that attracted my atention in the first time, i started watching this anime mainly because it seem to have a great animation quality and so it did.While watching it of course i immediately thinked about Voices of a Distant Star or 5 Centimeters per Second (in terms of animation this movies are the same).I don't even dare giving a lower mark than 10 for the animation. The sound was also impressing, fitted the anime environment and background 100%. I heard orchestral music, classic types that realy were touching, especialy when Sayuri plays the violin, that was the moment when i "fell in love with this movie". The soundtrack also is excelent and the voice-actors were also great.
Characters: Even so in terms of characters this anime is abit low but not by far. Since this movie had a very slow-paced slice of life aspect, and was more like centered on the visuals the character development suffered abit. We only know the feelings and thoughts of one of those boys (Hiroki) and Sayuri's feelings towards him were only revealed somewhere at the ending. Personaly i would have liked to see the other characters developed but even so since this is a slice of life show, probably it was not needed. The love relationship between Hiroki and Sayuri is like the only thing that impresses in terms of character interractions.
Overall: As i said above this anime does not apply to everyone, because i know many people that cant stand slow-paced/slice of life animes even though they are true masterpieces. In my opinion this anime is a masterpiece, what i seen in it was beyond my expectation, never thought that it could get that good after watching the first 30 minutes (another proff that you should not judge an anime at the begining). This anime is one of the few that exceeds in like most of the important aspects, briliant animation, captivating story and plot, enjoyable sound and decent, touching characters thoughts and their relationships, i doubt that you will need more reasons to watch this anime.
~Enjoy and Cya Around~