Reviews: Now And Then Here And There

Good Show (Spoilers Contained)

Please be warned that my review contains spoilers.

NTHT is an excellent anime, and its creator has demonstrated a strong understanding of human nature, specifically people's capacity for violence and cruelty toward their fellow man. Shu is a perpetual nuisance, but that aspect of his presence is critical to the show's themes regarding the stubbornness, moral simplicity and idealism that often come with childhood. I'd argue that NTHT has one of the better portrayals of children in terms of how children respond to and initiate reprehensible acts.

My complaints seem to derive less from the show itself and more from other audience members, but first, a few words on other characters. I disagree with the popular interpretation that Lala Ru sacrificed herself out of some sense of kindness or affinity toward humanity. Lala Ru explicitly expresses her contempt for humanity several times, and she rightfully argues that humans pointlessly drive themselves toward destruction despite initially having the best intentions. I can't settle with the notion that Lala Ru relinquished her human form to "save" humanity. Rather, she grew tired of the squabbling and finally decided to part ways with a relatively trivial pursuit. I don't hate Lala Ru as a character. I enjoyed her, but I'm wary of the belief that a supernatural, thousands-year-old being is going to be all that sympathetic to human suffering, having seen this same pettiness repeatedly.

And there is the infamous pregnancy dilemma with Sara and Sis. Others have made valid complaints about Sara's initially unwanted pregnancy and how Sis attempts to dissuade her from an abortion. Simply put, that aspect of the series was not handled well. I would have appreciated it more if the other characters had backed off and let Sara decide for herself. And please don't tell me that Sis wasn't being intrusive or self-righteous. If you have any experience with the burden of raising a child (food, education, shelter, etc.), you should be able to see how Sis's and Shu's rhetoric regarding "a new life" is a bit insulting and unrealistic, given the austere environment they're in.

Overall, I enjoyed the characters and their world because it faithfully reflects what kinds of people would exist in such a horrible place. Parts of the real world are already like the one in NTHT.

Now or never...

A highly intense and emotional series; perhaps the majority of tropers and viewers already know the traumas that occur within, but my thoughts on the whole thing must come out.

NOW AND THEN, HERE AND THERE lingers with you. The images and events are ingrained into the mind; each character is vividly alive, making what happens to them all the more horrific, and, oh, it is ever so horrific...

Aesthetically, the show is beautiful, perhaps resembling one of those 80s ovas you may have once seen on an old VHS cassette. Only, instead of fantasy and escape, it is a microscope on the horrors of death, war, abuse, trauma, and other unspeakable terrors that sting, if only because it is true.

It is also marvelously written. Here is a show that now only succeeds in creating a beautiful atmosphere, but in making believable people. Shu, despite what you might think, is one of the most interesting protagonists ever, decoy or not. Everyone else also fits the bill, from the insane King Hamdo, to the innocent but clearly scarred Soon. Each personage is carefully imagined. Therefore, the tragedies and random things that befall them are all the more harsh and unfair. But that's the way it is.

What makes the show ultimately uplifting is the utter unrealistic quality Shu brings. He is so out of place, so out of his depth, and yet so optimistic, that we are reminded of the reason for such feelings. He stops being silly and beings to symbolize the best in all of us. I personally believe that he is the hope spot for all the others, which makes their fates even more tragic. Unfortunately, he is a miracle in of himself. And besides, these things already happen in OUR times. "All the good people of this world are dead" indeed.

I suppose there isn't much more to say except to see this series. Truly, a work of art, and highly memorable. Like I said before, it lingers, now and then, here and there...