Posted by psgels on 6 August 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews


I actually started watching anime quite late. At the moment, it’s a bit more than three years ago since I started with my first fansubbed series, .Hack//Sign, when compared to most people. That’s why I’ve got a huge list of anime that I still need to catch up to. Anyway, another series I tried around that time, perhaps a bit later, was Now and Then, Here and There. It looked all-right, and I saw some good reviews of it.

I didn’t even last half an episode.

The way this anime seemed to start was like a bad shounen-title. We’ve got a brat for a main character, who happens to practice Kendo. He’s got a rival who is always better than him, and of course a girl he has a crush on. All signs pointed to the fact that the guy would grow, beat his rival and get the girl, and that lady luck would smile at him all the way.

Boy, was I wrong.

If I had only watched till the second episode, I would have realized that this anime is something very special. For starters, we never see the rival and crush again after the first episode, and already with the second episode, things are done to that boy you just couldn’t imagine. A lot of taboos in anime are scarily brought to the surface, and the first half has to contain some of the saddest hours of anime.

I’m SO glad that I decided to give this anime a second chance, as it really is something unique. It’s one of these anime that isn’t afraid to pull its protagonists through hell, and it actually succeeds in making this avoid the pits of cheesiness by developing a cast of excellent characters. The graphics may not seem to suggest it, but this is one of the darkest shounen-titles I’ve seen. And especially one of the most realistic ones. The music also comes with a perfect score to accompany this.

Still, all good things must come to an end. The problem with this series is that the second half of the series just doesn’t live up to the first half. Oh, it’s by no means bad, it’s got about half a dozen of awesome moments, but the entire thing is nowhere near as intense and unique as the first half, and at a number of points, it gets a formulaic and a bit unrealistic.

Still, you just have to see this series for its first half. It’s been a long time since I last awarded a rating of 90/100 and above, and this series deserves it. Like Eureka7, it’s a great example of how wrong first impressions can be.

18 Responses

  1. roguewrath says:

    Its been a long time since I’ve watched this, I might have to watch this again. I almost did the same thing with Juuni Kokki, which almost seemed to formulaic in the beginning. The only reason I stuck with it was because the books it were based off were supposed to be really good.

  2. kauldron26 a.k.a tman says:

    i agree that this anime was amazing, however like saikano they were just sooo heartbreaking that i dont think i have the heart to watch them again. have u seen saikano?? it will break ur heart many times over. its pretty phenomenal tho. funny thing i also struggled to make it thru

  3. Wyrdwad says:

    This is a great anime indeed, and it’s really hard to believe that it was directed by Daichi Akitarou, of all people… the same guy who directed Kodocha, Fruits Basket, Elf Princess Rane, Jubei-chan, Grrl Power, Sexy Commando Gaiden, Animation Runner Kuromi, and a bunch of other fairly light-hearted shows. I guess he wanted to try his hand at directing something dark, and I’d say he succeeded with flying colors. Just goes to show you, when you’re a TRULY good director, you can handle almost anything the writers throw at you…

    -Tom

  4. orangee says:

    I remember watching this and thinking of how the themes that resonate in this anime were unlike any other. And how surprised I was that it brought those themes to the surface.
    As much as it is not my favorite series, it still stands out because of the storyline, and it really reminds you that storytelling through anime can encompass many aspects of life, even the harsh ones.

  5. Chris says:

    Oh wow, I saw this anime when I was still very young, it was a very different type of show and I guess it made me look for more mature shows. Now and Then has got to be one of the most depressing series out there, and it’s also based on events that are going on in Africa so it’s even worse when you think of it like that.

    This series also features a great soundtrack by Taku Iwasaki (Read or Die, Kenshin OVAs, Witch Hunter Robin) and his sad violin pieces are very effecting (like when Sara is cutting off her hair.)

    My favorite character was Sara, I really felt for her through all her abuse and I couldn’t help but think of how violated she must have felt and how helpless her situation must have been. The main lead is very likable and I was really touched by his emotional strength and determination to go on despite everything that happened to him and the girl he liked. The only thing I didn’t like was the ending, it was very depressing I was hoping for something a bit more happy after all the ordeals these kids when through.

  6. shuffee says:

    i just discovered this about a month ago, and i instatly deemed it my favourite anime of all time XD!! i like depressing stories.

  7. ap says:

    I watched this 4 years ago – the last two episodes were breathtakingly beautiful.

  8. Solaris says:

    This serie is a masterpice and a perfect example of how much anime can be well done with adult themes. Dedicated to all those who think anime are child stuff

  9. nathan porrata says:

    i bought this anime after seeing it on amazon, and right away said “this is teh best anime ever!” i’ve seen all the greats and “greats” like EVA, Miyazaki’s films, Akira, Bebop, Graves of the Fireflies, but none of those animes, nay, almost NO movie i’ve EVER seen depresed me the way this one did. i literaly walked aroudn slumped over in a depressed stump for weeks after seeing this show. the best character by far is Sara, who goes through so much during this show and comes out in the end a COMPLETLY different person than she was at the beggining. her ordeal depressed me most of all.

  10. Pegah says:

    best anime experience i ever had. recommended for everyone.

  11. Oya says:

    This is an excellent one.

  12. Youwish says:

    The protagonist has his good parts, with his emotional strength (unrealistic if you ask me though) and optimistic outlook. I can understand his continuous outlook on things as strange, but his stupidity and the associated stubbornness really frustrate me. Albeit I haven’t finished watching the series, he drives me nuts sometimes…

  13. Gottis says:

    This is a really good anime, but I still liked Fantastic Children a lot more. In fact I did a small comparison post about the two anime in my livejournal, if someone’s interested to check it out. It’s here. ^^

  14. Firechick says:

    I just got into this series and I’m already on episode 6! Episode 6 frightened me because of Sara nearly getting raped and Nabuca (who is possibly becoming my favorite character) hesitating to kill that little boy in the end, when everyone else (except Boo and Shu) are. I can really see some heart in Nabuca, and FINALLY LALA-RU TALKED!! But she didn’t sound like Nazuka Kaori to me, but hearing her talk was fine for me of all things! I’ll finish this series soon because I’m already addicted to it even though I have a tight list of anime I need to finish up!

  15. Firechick says:

    I finally got to finish this, and I think I’m officially going to put this anime in my top 20 (or at least my top 30)! Everything about it was just incredible (though three of my most favorite characters died in the most horrifying ways and I DIDN’T EVEN CRY!!! Why don’t I cry at most anime!?) and heartbreaking! And normally if a character I like kills another, I’d hate them, but in this case I STILL liked Nabuca even after what he did! Sara and Nabuca are my all-time favorite characters in this show (along with the cute little girl named Soon)! I think this anime is gonna stick with me for a loooong time! I better find a DVD boxset for it and watch the dub! But before that, I recently started watching Haibane Renmei because of the overwhelming positive reviews. All in all, this anime was overwhelmingly great and cruel (though nothing can ever beat my #1: Shounen Onmyouji!) but awesome!

  16. cheesesticks says:

    aaaah this anime disturbed me, watched it as a child a couple of years ago. O.O brutal.

  17. israel84911 says:

    I just finished watching this anime because you gave it such a good review. Wow. This was truly brilliant.
    It reminded me a lot of Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky. There’s a boy and a mysterious girl and the boy spends quite a bit of time yelling her name and trying to find her. There’s a magical pendant/crystal. The evil dude is nuts.
    Except, you know, this is 6 bajillion times darker. Seriously. This is the darkest thing I have ever seen/read.
    Still, totally brilliant. I’m just amazed this ever got shown on television.

  18. Badesh says:

    Am i the only one who thinks this show is overrated? I was… not overly satisfied with the first half. The reason i kept watching was that it at least didn’t confuse me or demanded much of attention. The harsh fate of sara was the only thing that attached me but besides it was pretty underwhelming. I found the second halft way more satisfying – after the escape.

    But nevertheless i’d give it a 80 because it was allaround a decent show. I just don’t get how it can score higher than any ghibli movie you reviewed. (ah, i know its pointless to compare scores and nitpick – afterall its estimated score and personal opinion)

    great blog. you do alone what i can’t find on whole communities :)

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  • Bam
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 09:55 AM)
    Or as we Persians call it “Yalda’s Night”.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 09:55 AM)
    Happy winter solstice y’all!
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:47 AM)
    Though Aidan this is your chance to throw up a full review as a blog post that isn’t for an ongoing series.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:37 AM)
    Wait, ha I’ve figured it out, most of his work I couldn’t give a toss enough to get immersed in the plots either. Though yes I got immersed in Saya, which really goes to show that if a story is good enough to me I should be able to be fairer and not be too hard on the characterization.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:32 AM)
    Even though his works alienate me with their poor characterization, still still I was able to not care about that issue in Kikokugai and Saya no uta.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:24 AM)
    I forgot to say also a few pages back it needed more action scenes also. I could honestly see myself getting distracted from the thinness of it if there were more.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:24 AM)
    I wasn’t tying Gargania and Aldnoah. Hell Gargania was a step in the right direction for characters. Problem was that Gen only gave an outline. It Gen can’t write characters then he should leave them to other people and just handle story structure and the plot. It worked pretty damn well for Fate/zero.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:21 AM)
    But I’ve got a feeling Juno might not be so bothered by psycho pass 2 I do recall him saying before it aired he gave off the suggestion wasn’t going to come down hard on Tow.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:20 AM)
    *I’d
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:20 AM)
    I really wish Juno was here, really would right now because I’ love to see him argue for psycho pass 2 and Expelled from paradise.

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