Now and Then, Here and There follows the story of an innocent boy named Shu who is dragged into a futuristic world that has fallen into turmoil and chaos. He is one of those 'I don't think anyone should die' characters that can sometimes grate on people's nerves, but he has such a sincerity about him that it's hard not to appreciate his viewpoint. (Also, the fact that he is in a world where war is on a break out and people are being murdered left and right helps the viewer to follow his point).
This anime explores the human conidition perfectly - the fact that humans are innately selfish, innately cruel and yet somehow pure, but too easily tainted. It explores their willingness to sacrifice anyone in their way for their own goods. One of the best and most powerful parts of this show revolves around two of the characters: Nabuca and Tabool. Both characters were forced to join the war efforts as children - both even came from the same town. However, their psychological development is completely different.
Nabuca never fully believes in the war, although he chooses not to cause dissension. He even takes a younger officer under his wing and shows kindness to Shu (in his own way) and can seem reluctant to carry out orders. (Take note, however, that he still carries those orders out, due to the fact that he thinks it's the proper thing to do). Tabool, however, becomes what one could call a sociopath. He begins to idolise the leader of the efforts, Hamdo, and aims to become just like him. Watching his scenes are fascinating, because it's clear that he was once just an innocent boy, as most children are, but he was so easily brainwashed.
Although this anime does portray a gritty reality with brainwashed characters and other characters who are thrown into tragic situations. However, it does not leave the viewer feeling hopeless. Not only is their hope in the ending, there is also hope in the characters themselves; those characters who portray the good in society, such as Shu and Sis. It reminds us that for all of the bad that there is, there is still quite a bit of good.
This anime reminded me of a quote I had read by Audrey Hepburn once. I can't quite remember the quote, but I remember it had to do with war. About how war is so unfair to children, children who have not even had time to form enemies if they were to even have any in the first place. Very few anime can blow me away with their message, but this anime did. However, it would not have been the anime that it is without the amazing portray of the characters and the breakdown of the human psyche.