“Now and Then, Here and There” grips anime viewers with an illogical, emotional story revolving around adolescent warfare.
For a post-apocalyptic drama, this OVA is a shocker. The series takes young teenagers through a wide variety of heartbreaking situations. In fact, there aren’t any other shows that depict children in violent warfare and under sexual subservience. I’m glad that someone decided to re-release this series in a cheap box set in 2009, after all these years.
It opens as an innocent slice-of-life about Shuzo “Shu” Matsutani, a young kendo student. He meets a mysterious blue-haired girl sitting on top of an abandoned refinery building.
After a short conversation, their environment suddenly transforms into an alternate dimension, where the world has turned into a desolate wasteland. Shu is taken into the army of Hellywood, a humongous industrial fortress.
There’s nothing inviting about this world at all. Men force children to kill innocent people in indigenous villages. The soldiers must execute anyone who disobeys commands. In short, the new universe is almost as ruthless as the Holocaust camps.
The world’s only hope is the blue-haired girl, Lalaru. Her pendant has the power to release floods of water at her command. However, she is tired of being used as a tool to provide water for bloodthirsty emperors. Shu brainstorms a plan to save Lalaru, no matter how difficult the task is.
Technically, this is one of the most illogical anime shows ever made. Think about it.
There’s more than a couple situations where someone could have shot the evil dictator of Hellywood, Hamdo. He’s terribly vulnerable to gunshots and knives. No one really takes the opportunity because they’re supposedly afraid of him.
It makes little to no sense at all. With all that said, this is still an immensely emotional show. As far as I know, there’s only one other anime that focuses on sexual slavery and soldier children. That film, “Kite,” is still hard to watch because it is filled with so much disturbing sexual imagery.
“Now and Then, Here and There” makes for a welcome alternative. The second half of the series also offers plenty of insight on the ethical problems of warfare. Plenty of characters must make some heart-wrenching decisions about who lives and who dies.
Without giving anything away, the final scenes are shocking and frightening to watch. If the teenage characters weren’t compassionate, this series could have easily ended in a bloody apocalypse of chaos. Thankfully, the series carries a final message of hope for peaceful resolutions.
By all means, this isn’t the best series ever made. However, it is worth a rental. These children are easy to empathize with, so it’s hard to not feel sorry for them as they endure unbearable torture. Just keep in mind that it probably wouldn’t make that much sense as a whole.
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