Now and Then, Here and There (NaTHaT) is an anime which explores human morals. If we were to suddenly 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 and children 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, you never do get to hear the thoughts of the characters as they undergo their experiences. Their actions and comments spoken aloud give you enough sense of how they deal with life in this hellish future.
Character-wise, NaTHaT features excellent characterization to reflect its themes. Shu is the outsider of a war being fought 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 vengence 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 blend in too well in the intense environment of NaTHaT. Soundwise, the musical pieces of serenity and 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 anything back. If you are a person who enjoys any war or drama titles, then you will enjoy NaTHaT.