Now and Then, Here and There
Type: TV Series (13 episodes)
Genre: Drama
Version: Region 1 DVD
Reviewed: 10/9/05


To say Now and Then, Here and There is one of the masterpieces of dramatic anime is like saying the Grand Canyon is “pretty big.” You may have heard about it, and if you haven’t I’m going to tell you. And, much like the Grand Canyon, what you have heard and seen will probably fall incredibly short when you finally get around to seeing the material yourself. With that being said, I will try to do it justice.

Now and Then, Here and There is a story about a boy named Shu and his struggles in a world gone mad. He’s a normal Japanese boy out for a brief stroll. He sights a strange girl atop an abandoned smokestack, so he climbs up to say hello. They end up watching the sunset in silence, just sitting there looking down on a calm and peaceful world. This is not to last, however. Time seems to stop around them and some kind of robotic snakes appear operated by soliders. It seems they have come for the girl, who is named La-La-Ru. During the ensuing struggle, Shu ends up caught in the warp with these soldiers and La-La-Ru, emerging in a strange desert world. Here the security, morals, and values he knows are gone. It is a military fortress known as “Hellywood,” where abducted children are forced to fight in the military by the mad dictator, Hamdo. Shu must find a way to stop the madness, save La-La-Ru from Hamdo, and get back to his home world.

Screen Shot
The show has a few quite surreal vistas.

The plot is straightforward enough, but it ends up being anything but. There are many characters that Shu will meet throughout his travels, and each one of them clearly leaves an impression on him. They will also leave quite a strong impression on the viewer. The characters in this show are what it’s all about, you come to love them. So when it comes time for them to suffer, you suffer too. There are very dark themes at work here. War, death, rape, taking advantage of people, revenge…they all get their screen time. It’s from this and the characters that the show gets an absorbing amount of realism. Throughout all this suffering, Shu remains steadfastly optimistic. If it wasn’t for his motivation, many of the characters probably would have given up on hoping for something better. The viewer would also need a heftier dose of Prozac.

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There are quite a few disturbing images.

The music is mostly low-key and fits with the show well. The opening theme is a simple instrumental piece that really gets you in the mood for what you’re going to be watching. The end theme is a nice, quiet vocal piece that aids in you letting go of the final moments of the last episode, which were probably fairly intense. The voice acting is superb on both ends. There is pretty much nothing to complain about in either the sub or the dub.

There’s not much else to say about Now and Then, Here and There. It’s one of the most powerful things period that I’ve ever seen or read. It’s definitely not for everyone. If you’re looking for the next Love Hina, stay the heck away from this one. But, if you’re looking for a serious story that will make you question your own motivations and morals, look no further.

-Orie House