Now and Then, Here and There
All Now and Then, Here and There released episodes
A Girl Admiring the Sunset
Happy-go-lucky boy Shu encounters a mysterious girl, and is drawn into time warp that thrusts him into a hellish future.
A Boy and a Mad King
Lala-Ru is captured by Abelia’s men, but her magical pendant escapes with Shu at the last moment.
A Feast in the Dark
While imprisoned, Shu meets a fragile blue-eyed girl named Sara who found her way to this hellish future under similar circumstances.
The young soldiers have their marching orders: Search the entire ship from top to bottom for Lala-Ru’s missing pendant.
King Hamdo’s frustration reaches a boiling point as the mission to recover the pendant continues to be fruitless.
Disappearance in a Sandstorm
The young soldiers are now faced with a tour of duty as they leave Hellywood to seek more soldiers.
Night of Flight
While in prison, Shu uncovers an unbelievable mystery and the fate of this hellish future suddenly falls squarely in his hands.
Two Lone Souls
Now that Shu is on the run, he must face a whole new set of dangers in the wild desert.
In the Chasm
Shu and Lala-ru don’t realize it, but the village they’ve encountered is actually the target of King Hamdo’s revenge.
"Now and Then, Here and There" seems to be a big hit with the more critical sections of the crowd. Scouring around the web, it's hard to come across reviews of it that are not overwhelmingly positive. But despite all these glowing reviews, I honestly didn't find the show to be that great, and since there's an abundance of opinions stating why it's good already, here's my take on why I don't think it's all that.I don't really like the "Lord of the Ring" books all that much. One of the main reasons for this is that there are points in the books when it felt like it's trying to be a fairy tale adventure for kids (the Tom Bombadil part especially), and then the next moment, it gets all serious again, trying to be an adult's fantasy novel. As a result I was confused over what frame of mind I should be reading it in.Unfortunately, "Now and Then, Here and There" suffers from the same problem. My initial impression was that it's meant to be an anime aimed for younger viewers, due to the simplistic character design style which gave it an almost Studio Ghibli kind of look. In episode 2 or 3 the anime starts showing its true colours, portraying the kind of disturbing violence and cruelty that makes it obvious that it isn't meant for kids. And yet, and yet... the kid's style animation is still there, glaring out at me from my screen, sending contradicting signals into my brain and confusing the hell out of me. The early sudden change of settings in the opening episode definitely didn't help me get to grips with this anime either."Now and Then, Here and There" seems to be made with a specific purpose in mind, with a specific set of morals they wanted to tell through the anime, and it does succeed at times through some really hard hitting moments that may have caused many other viewers to forget its flaws. However, I found myself unable to look past its flaws and enjoy the show - its attempt to get its message across is just too amateurish because its story and characters often don't hold water.The primary example here is King Hamdo. No doubt other viewers have already pointed out that history has shown how such an insane dictator can exist, and most likely pointed to dictators such as Hitler as evidence. But, in reality, there are always complications that give rise to such situations whilst in contrast, "Now and Then, Here and There" gives you a retarded version that just shouts at you: "the leader is mad... just like it can be in real life!!" You can only get away with this kind of simplification of "Mad King ruler" if you're spoonfeeding a fairy tale to children, for whom the content of this anime obviously isn't suitable for. I haven't studied other dictators in history lessons, but I can tell you a thing or two about Hitler that I learnt back in school all those many years ago (bear in mind that even this is a watered down version for kids, and the reality would have been even more complicated). Yes, Hitler may have been crazy, but there was far more to him than that. He had amazing leadership ability, and was one of the finest orators of the 20th century. He wove a magic spell over the German population, raising morale, restoring German pride and giving them new hope when the nation was suffering in the wake of an economic collapse in combination to the backlash of losing World War I. And what's more, he delivered. Germany was on its knees when he came to power, and not only did he led them to recovery, he led them back up pecking order into a position to challenge the most powerful nations in the world at the time. Although in retrospect, it seems unthinkable someone like him could have got hold of power, when you take a closer look at the details, it does make you see how it could have happened.Now lets take a look at King Hamdo. He's obviously mad. Um... that's it. Oh yea and he's incompetent and is totally devoid of charisma. Wait! Why is he in power again?? Sure his fortress made his army practically invincible, but that isn't exactly because of his competency. A muppet could sit there and produce much the same result, so what's stopping people from overthrowing him? It seems infeasible that he could stay in power like that, especially considering that, from the way his subjects seem to feel about him, it doesn't appear to be the kind of monarchy where people see the King as some kind god's chosen - it feels closer to a dictatorship that's evolved from a military organisation. How can someone as useless and mad as King Hamdo keep his grip on his position in this kind of environment when he can't even keep his hold on his own sanity (or even give the impression that he is anything other than mad)?Then we have Hamdo's second in command Abelia, who isn't really a bad person at all. I can't understand why she hasn't taken power over from Hamdo, especially in this military environment that requires discipline and cool headed decision making. As King Hamdo is clearly in no condition to rule, you'd think someone like Abelia would just confine him somewhere, take care of him, and stop him from hurting everyone including himself. But instead she chooses to just stand around taking abuse and having her conscience knocked about on a daily basis. But of course, if she takes a course of action that actually made sense, then there would be no half-built platform for the anime to launch its intended messages from etc -\_- I waited and waited to see why Abelia was so obedient to Hamdo, but still couldn't find the answer by the end, and can only conclude that it hasn't been thought through properly.Instead of showing some of the realistic dilemmas of war like, say, "Gundam Seed", "Now and Then, Here and There" opts to go for the simplified, one sided "fighting is bad, full stop" version, and ends up tripping over it's own messages. By painting in such a saintly light one of the characters Sis who, without providing an alternative solution, is against any sort of action against Hamdo, and also painting all those who wants to take action against Hamdo as being hot headed youths, the anime is clearly endorsing her pacifist view. But at the same time, it unwittingly showed the fact that doing nothing is probably is why things have become so bad in the first place. Hamdo's own sustained grip on power is due to the unwillingness of his subordinates to overthrow him. How many lives are lost because of this kind passiveness? I'm not annoyed about which particular side of the argument that "Now and Then, Here and There" has chosen, but I'm annoyed that it has chosen to present it in such a black and white, overly simplified manner, and I'm also annoyed that it doesn't make a particularly good argument for its case - it's a bit someone like preaching against violence of any kind, including fighting back, while a crazy guy is running around unrestrained in the background mowing people down with a chainsaw.Unlike "Lord of the Rings", the fantasy world in "Now and Then, Here and There" is severely lacking in details. We are thrown straight into this chaotic world, and at no point in the anime do we get to hear an explanation for how it got into this mess. I want to know how it happened, and I want to know about all the strange technology this world possesses. Why are they so desperately short of water when they have all this technology to go to other worlds? Can't they just appear near a massive lake in one of these other worlds and collect water?! You can argue that this isn't the point of the anime, but because of the omission of such information, it's not really easy to get a good grasp of the situation or to sympathise with the unwillingness of the characters to do the right thing. For example, if more background information is provided, then I \*may\* be able to understand why King Hamdo holds so much power over his subjects, for example. Throughout the series, I couldn't help but constantly questioning many aspects of "Now and Then, Here and There", and when this happen it's almost impossible to really enjoy the show. "Now and Then, Here and There" is by no means a bad anime, though. At the end of the day, King Hamdo doesn't get that much screen time - he's just someone who annoyed me immensely with his mere existence. The main character also quite annoying with his incredulously happy-go-lucky attitude - is he from some alien race that are incapable of feeling pessimistic or something? But those aside, there are some fairly interesting characters that I would have liked to have seen more of, but their potential are not fully explored for the most part. Some of the emotions generated by the series feel very real and touching (something that's well reflected in the slow, contemplative ending theme), and the portrayal of issues such as rape is very gritty - much more convincing than some shallow attempts made by other shows such as "Elfen Lied". But at the end of the day, its childishly simplistic view of dark, complex issues just doesn't work. It's a bit like reading a twisted version of a fairy tale like Snow White where an extra bit of storyline got inserted, in which she gets raped by one of the seven dwarves or something, and has to deal with the mental trauma that results from it - it's just feels all wrong and out of place! I guess you could say that "Now and then, here and there" does kind of live up to its title though - it doesn't seem to quite know what it's doing, so ends up being a bit here and a bit there, and ultimately neither completely here nor there. I was really expecting something so critically acclaimed to be better constructed!
There's bold, there's audacious, then there's firm. Now and Then, Here and There is the rare sci-fi where it doesn't have action being the final blow to the plight, creates a scenario and still plays by its rules, and keeps themes subtle, alive, and haunting. It seems many great anime are under (or equal to) 13 eps. Like a monumental debate, Now and Then does a thankless job of setting up common ground. Shu is just a boy; energetic, "is invincible!", and likes kendo. He's old enough to like girls yet young enough to like them as people. Immature with his outlook, he is otherwise secure and full of stubborn integrity portrayed with a realism that one could call "too normal". As Mr. Plinkett from RedLetterMedia.com would say "it's necessary for a protagonist to be someone who's relatable when stepping away from the only reality we know" (I'm loosely coining) What this means is that Now and Then wants to tell us something... and it wants us to listen hard. Atypical of him, Akitaroh Daichi, uses a light-hearted soul in a dreary bleak body. He stretches the realms of his earnest positivity only so far; probably because it can only go so far. Shu, thanks to some militant new friends and an Ico-stylized heroine, ends up in an inverse utopian future where we see earth being the rock at the bottom. "Perhaps too far into the future..." some would say. "Why is it like this?" "How?"Fair questions, but the answers aren't direct ones of causality but interpretive answers based on what remains there. Kids aren't kids, adults aren't people, and leaders... well the leader wields the highest level of passion 2nd to Shu... or maybe even surpasses him! Now and Then's ingredients probably lie on the basic side of things, but complicating a bare wasteland with info that doesn't affect anything now makes sense when it comes to Shu (and viewers), so tough luck if you can't handle internal debate. Remember: If it feels real enough to where you'd compare it to a story based in real events (Grave of the Fireflies, wink! wink!), then I'd call that a success. Speaking of Fireflies, Daichi also pulls a smart move in having simplified art; less focus on shock value, and more about letting the action sink in. The animation isn't weak, but its underchallenged. Given the amount of intense battles, the attention to physics is astounding.(water is highly valued in the series so maybe that's why it moves so well...) Switching to and fro between this and the Rurouni Kenshin OVA's Taku Iwasaki enters his name into the Top Anime Compose list. From technopunk to silent chords, to uplifting mixes; Taku delivers a mechanical but serviceable and versatile soundtrack. Two types of ambiguity: 1. Something like Baccano where you realize that everything is there but it's hard as hell to structure it cohesively. 2. Something that has parts that independently have truth(s) which may or may not add up to something more... like Now and Then. Why I say this is that this show will make more sense the more you think about it, and watching it again and again doesn't dampen any questions that arose during the 1st time. Not to mention that it helps that each event is nicely packed into each episode, leaving matters never melodramatic. One could say that it dwindles in settings a bit too much... but c'mon, it's a wasteland with 0.2% civilization; I did say it plays by its own rules...For me, that's rare. Both for a sci-fi, an anti-war, or an anime.So the show is in my Top 10 for basically not wasting time, being open-ended like many great things are (NGE, NHK) and begs you to understand it.A detached mind seems like the only way to properly enjoy the show. But it all goes back to the honest intents it has; we have Shu (or Ico's predecessor) to help us get the perspective and that's hard too for sci-fi, anti-war, or anime. Who knows, by the end of the show, you too might reflect from "now" back to "then", and look back over "there" from where you are "here"....after watching it of course... Letter Grade Time (LGT) **Story**: A (steady, precise, and dynamic; you get something from here and you can get more with each watching) **Art**: B ("simple and clean is the way you are making feel...") **Sound**: A- (a tad limited, but evocative, supportive, and ultimately memorable) **Animation**: B- (restricted, but responsible) **Characters**: B+ (characters are symbolic, but powerful unpredictable ones) **Enjoyment**: B+ (engrossing, haunting, inspiring, smooth) **Overall**: A- (a prime example of sci-fi and mature anime)
Director, Script, Storyboard, Original Creator
Episode Director, Storyboard
Storyboard, Key Animation, Animation Director
Theme Song Composition, Theme Song Arrangement