Ima Soko ni Iru Boku

Title:Ima Soko ni Iru Boku
Now and then, here and there
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: DAICHI Akitaro
NOMURA Masanobu
R1 License - ADV (Renamed)
It doesn't look like this is going to be a great day for Matsutani Shuzo, nickname "Shu". The schoolboy has just lost a kendo fight in his dojo, and the girl he intended to impress walked away with his victorious opponent who even gave him a lecture after their fight. Depressed he retreats to the industry sector of his hometown, climbing up an old factory chimney, the "tower of courage" for his gang. To his surprise he meets a strange girl with blue hair and blue eyes up there... but then time stops for a moment - and shortly after this, he and the girl are attacked by huge mechas. Moments later he finds himself in a place he's never seen before, and his nightmare begins in a fortress named Hellywood where all values of humanity appear to be lost. And yet, Shu tries to plead for his ideals...

[TV series, 1999-2000, 13 episodes, 24 minutes]
1:24min Series Opening - YouTube Video
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 9 8 8 9 10 9 Ggultra2764 [series:918#1552]
I haven't seen an anime with this much intensity since Grave of the Fireflies. Now and Then, Here and There (NaTHaT) is an anime which explores human morals. If we were to sudden be put in a way of life where its values are opposite to those you were born and raised on, would you be able to maintain those inner values as well as encouraging others to accept those values? Along with human morals, the anime explores a dark and disturbing reality looking at the possibility of a militiant government using their youth as their soldiers in combat. Heck, even throw in a case of child rape plus children actually being killed on the battlefield and you have one of the most intense anime plots you will come across. This shows you that NaTHaT is an anime not for the young or sensitive. Storywise, NaTHaT combines these elements quite brilliantly to create an intense storyline despite occasionally getting on the melodramatic side. Unlike most anime though, there are no character soliloquies reflecting a character's thoughts in NatHaT. Just straight out fighting, intensity, and insanity.

Character-wise, NaTHaT features excellent characterization to reflect its themes. Shu represents the outsider of a war being fought between as he tries to encourage the people in the world he enters that violence is not always a resolution to settle conflict. Every character we meet in this world have their own personal losses which they hope to recover or get vengenance for through either allying or opposing Hellywood and its ruler, Hamdo. To some extent, Hamdo reminded me of Hitler due to his physical appearance. But, his appearance goes well with his personality being a tyrannical and mentally unstable ruler who is merciless towards anyone opposing his rule. He is certainly an unconventional anime villian as many villians are mentally stable and intelligently plan their moves.

Animation wise, the scenery of the settings are vibrant and serene when outside Hellywood and dark and dreary while inside Hellywood. However, some of the character designs for the show, one of which include Lala Ru, could have looked better as their looks do not stand in too well in the intense environment of NaTHaT. Soundwise, the musical pieces of either serenity or intensity fit in perfectly with the scenes in which they are reflected. I especially loved the serene singing that came out of the outro song reflecting the themes of the show. The voice acting was done very well with a wide range of character personalities reflected through each of the voices heard. Hamdo's voice is the one which stands out from the others for the overall intensity that comes from his voice reflecting the insanity of the Hellywood leader brilliantly.

NaTHat is an anime which will not be for the young and sensitive because of its intense themes. But, it has a number of powerful messages reflecting war and morality that are presented intensely without holding back anything. If you are a person who enjoys any war or drama anime, then you will enjoy NaTHaT.

Last updated Thursday, July 17 2008. Created Thursday, July 17 2008.
Watch Forbin [series:918#1573]
Drama : High
Comedy : None
Action : Med
SciFi : Med (Yes I know there mecha but it isn't important as story)
Ecchi : None

Edit : Sorry had to downgrade this to a watch, it's just not a Miyazaki film.

Hmm what to make of this. It's not a love story. It's not a scifi story (Though there are tons of scifi in it but if you took them out, it would still hold up). It's definitely NOT a comedy. This is a cross between Otomo's Akira and any Miyazaki movie. It's about human nature and just how crappy it can get. As Devil Doll pointed out, everyone looks sorta childish. The hero looks like Ray from Steamboy, the girl Sarah looks like Angela from Someday's Dreamers, the leader's #1 looks like the Doctor from Kurumi, and Lala Roo looks like Yuri from Nadesico.

I really can't believe in this story. It took way too many liberties. 1st, why did Shu go so far for a girl he just met. Lets see, smacked, whipped, crucified (Sorta), beat with a orange bag, shot in the leg, deprived of food and water, thrown into a refuse pile...etc. The list goes on. Each time after 30 seconds, he's up and around with little or no injuries. For a girl he met for 30 seconds on top of a smokestack. Sorry Charlie, no dice. I more believe what happened to Sarah more than what I can think of Shu. After being raped Sarah retreated into a shell, then beat the next guy to death with some blunt objects, and ran away half naked into the desert, now that's realism. (BTW there are no rape scenes, everything was inferred)

Either I missed an episode or we never found out why Lala Roo was on our Earth. I thought it was water but umm...Earth is covered by 90% of it and they didn't care. And why they thought Sara was her. Sara doesn't look a THING like her. And Sara was 10,000 miles away in America. Yah...right.

I did like how Shu refused to use a gun. He was more content beating the living crap out of anyone in his way, but not to kill them with a gun. That was a nice pacifist touch.

So lets see what did I find wrong with it.

Super high tech mecha with no real explanation of where it comes from (That king doesn't know how to create, just destory). A magical girl who appears on Earth with no real explanation of why she is there. She just is. A boy with super healing powers who likes to whack people with a stick. A girl (Sara) that doesn't look a thing like the heroine but she gets raped, beaten, kills with a bottle of water, lives in America, but knows what a Croquette is. A self sufficent town that sends out suicide bombers every few weeks but is only part of a hate group in what is a pacifist village. Oh and 3 young people that can travel across a desert with no food or water and still be able to fight off things such as giant plant monsters. Add the Crazy king who has a set of talent underlings who do NOT want to bump him off and control the power of Hellywood. Of all the people, I believe in Sara, Sis, and Hamdo himself. No one else is very convincing.

So when this thing ends without much of a happy ending, I'm like WTF, this was a realistic ending, but I hate it just the same. So while I give it a watch, nice plot but so unbelievable that it wasn't my cup of tea.

Last updated Friday, May 06 2005. Created Thursday, May 05 2005.
Buy 8 7 9 8 10 8 Devil Doll [series:918#752]
[Score: 86% = Buy. Other recommended War animes: Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu, Seikai no Senki]

This story is the strongest pleading for humaneness I've seen in anime so far. But the price you have to pay for watching this series is high... probably too high for a significant part of the audience. This is harder to bear than, say, Hotaru no Haka or Saishu Heiki Kanojo

What started as a strange but occasionally funny series turns into a nightmare of slavery, bestiality, and rape before you can even think about it. These unbelievable violent scenes (Amazon says: "not rated", imDB suggests "PG13"... am I such a wimp?) during episodes 2-6, such as what Hamdo does to his cat, dominate episode after episode; I felt almost dazed after watching this part of the series. Fortunately they only hinted at things in many scenes - that's why this series is not hentai, for example. But looking into Sarah's eyes filled with horror was already enough for me. I felt oddly relieved after the opening sequence of episode 6... and the violence doesn't ever completely stop. In later episodes it hurts even more to watch it as it comes so unexpectedly.

The speed of narration changes permanently; it can become extremely high at times. The art is odd, unlike most anime I've seen so far. Tenchi Muyou! Ryououki has faces vaguely similar to this one, and most characters (intentionally) look childish. I don't like it this way; then again I accept what they probably wanted to achieve by this: Make the contrast between appearance and behaviour even stronger. Animation is nothing special; music is a mixed bag (mostly very rhythmic, a lot of techno-pop) including the all to soothing slow trailer song - but the sad and very rhythmic title track "Ima Soko ni Iru Boku" (in use from episode 2 on) stands out.

Almost every character in this story is valuable, if only in a strange, often perverted way. Nabuca is the character we have to focus on - his actions should be those which humanity might be judged by. But Lala-Ru turned out to be more interesting than I though as well, mostly during episode 8. And Sarah... good heavens, what a dreadful fate this poor girl has to endure. Still, in the end it is her who sends out the strongest message in the final scene on Hellywood.
The first episode looked like a psychedelic trip to me, despite some silly-funny scenes - Shu attacking these mechas with his Kendo bat and jumping into the abyss without showing any fear, this is just too super-heroish for that boy (these and similar scenes made me downgrade "Characters" one level). Shu soon has to face that he is no classic super-hero, and he is going to learn this lesson the hardest of all possible ways. But he still tries to stand out as an example of what is good about mankind, even in this worst of all possible environments. So in this aspect he becomes a true hero, ignoring beatings, bullet wounds and endless humiliations while still pleading for what he believes in. And like constant dripping wears away the stone, with time his words start to impress others and make them think. Sis, the protector of the weak, serves as example that there are others of his kind out there - all is not lost. And that soldier saving the child from drowning in the final episode is one more ray of hope.

In the end this is the message I took from this story: It's never too late to stop killing.

Last updated Friday, June 06 2008. Created Tuesday, December 14 2004.

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