Secret Santa 2010 Project Reveal

And now the part you have all been waiting for. The Secret Santas are revealed, the ancient conspiracy is foiled, and the destined couple finally consummate their relationship. This is the master list of all the participants, what they reviewed, and who gave them their recommendations. I know that several people are not going to finish on time because of various mishaps during the holiday season. So I will do my best to update this list at least once a day as reviews come in. Hopefully everyone watched something a bit unexpected and maybe learned something new about the range and scope of anime. Other than that Happy Holidays and I wish you and yours the best of luck in the upcoming year.

The Shining Darkness Series: The Place Promised in Our Early Days

There are simple love stories and there are complex love stories. Both of them have their place. Sometimes you need a simple boy meets girl story. Sometimes you need a love story with a little more dimensions and depth. I won’t say more real because sometimes love is not all that complicated. Angst does not make things more real. Love may be powerful, there might be numerous obstacles blocking it, and there might be hard choices involved with it but it is not necessarily complicated. Makoto Shinkai has progressed in his career and as such his love stories have gained more complexity.

I was so looking forward to this film. Seeing Makoto Shinkai jump from his little-over-half-hour creation to a full film was a very exciting prospect. What sort of story would be tell with a full cast, crew, and a more liberal budget? He brings the themes he cemented in our minds so well in Voices of a Distant Star and combines it with a more complex vision.

Japan is a divided nation. Southern Japan is allied with America and Northern Japan is allied with the Union. Since the division the North has created a mysterious tower that scrapes the heavens which can be seen from miles away. Two best friends, Hiroki Fujisawa and Takuya Shirakawa, decide to take a downed fighter drone they found and turn it into an airplane so they can examine the tower. One day the girl they both like, Sayuri Sawatari, tags along to visit them and becomes involved with their project. Sayuri disappears and it kills any momentum the boys had for working on the project. They grow up and go their separate ways each leading different lives and each dealing with the events of that summer in their own way. But what happened to Sayuri and what was her connection to the mysterious tower?

Sayuri’s first interactions with the boys, from the audiences perspective, are very different from each other. However, through them we see a girl who is full of life but constantly running from an unknown force. Everyone in the story is connected around the tower whether it is through relation to one another or helping to get there. While the story takes place in a warring and dysfunctional era, it is merely the back drop for an endearing story about love and friendship.

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