Friday, May 16, 2014

[Movie] Patema Inverted (Sakasama no Patema)

An anime from 2013, and interesting one that caught my eyes. If you like anime like Howl's Moving Castle, Ponyo on the Cliff, Spirited Away, all that sort of animated film, then you'll like this one. Colorful, mysterious, and just for fun this anime have a huge plot twist right at the end. What kind of plot twist? The 'Inception' kind of plot twist. Patema Inverted, or also known as Sakasama no Patema, is an animated fantasy film by Yasuhiro Yoshiura. The same guy who also works with the Time of Eve (Eve no Jikan) and Evangelion 2.0.

This film was released somewhere around November 2013, I think in Japan it was on 9th November. But I watched it much more later than that. That is why I actually decided to write about this animated film. Frankly, I have never written any animated film before because I thought, you know, cartoons, they came out by the dozens each season.

But I suppose some animated film like this is quite exceptional. I kind of regretted that I didn't wrote anything about the Spirited Away. It contain a lot of cultural references, and it was both entertaining and educational. Well, to me it was. Then again, animated film like this rarely entered my country or even the local cinema around my place. The only time I could get to know about film like this is when it available either in DVD or uploaded to Youtube.

Anyway, back to the film, the story is about when the world turned upside down. Literally. The plot started with some catastrophic incident occurred where people, buildings and ground lifted to the sky. Killing people in the process and the humanity almost wiped out.

The survivors, ended up living underground and never went to surface ever again. It wasn't explained exactly what caused the disaster, other than it was caused by mankind's hubris and vanity.

Patema is the name of a girl who were part of the human underground dwellers. A curious girl, who had a older friend (father?), Lagos that went missing when venturing to the the 'Danger Zone'. Apparently, the Danger Zone is an area where everything fell upward. It was quite magical really. Her friend went there with a dream that one day humanity would resurface back. But he never returned. This enforced the belief that the surface would forever be dangerous. In fact, her tribe, the underground dweller, consider themselves as the guardian of a terrible secret. The secret that no human shall ever again consumed by their greed just like they did on the surface. They remain underground to remind themselves the very punishment for that.

Patema always quietly went to the Danger Zone when she went exploring. Because of the earlier catastrophe the befell humanity, the survivors live off by looking for supplies buried underground. Patema felt like their daily lives are numbered because they cannot depend on the buried supplies forever. His friend, Lagos, always bring her some gift from the surface world where she were told the existence of open blue skies and everything. The problem is that, if they went out, they would fell down to the sky. Pretty mystical, yes?

It was not a lie. When Patema went again to the Danger Zone, she stumbled into the 'monster' known as the Human Bat because they walk on the ceiling. The Human Bat tried to catch her, but in her panic, she fell into the hole that suppose to lead all the way to the surface.

She fell and fell until she stuck on a tree. And surprise, the sky is just right beneath her. Beautiful and starry, and also bottomless. If you fall up to the sky, where would you land, you might wonder. Would you splat on the clouds, the moon or the stars? Or you keep on just falling? Interesting concept, no?

It turns out that there are people living on the surface. And they do not take kindly on the Sakasama (Inverted) People. The surface people consider them as some sort of sinners that deserved to fall up into the sky, because it looks like they were picked up by some punishing divine power or something, that proved their urm.. corruption. Also, they believed that it was the Sakasama people that wrecked the human world in the first place.

Anyway, Patema accidentally met with Eiji, a boy from the surface world. Eiji happened to be a son to a researcher that built a flying machine that allow him to fly up to the sky, which supposedly to be forbidden by the surface people's religion. And his father was branded and died as some sort of  a heretic. Eiji was surprise to met with Patema, an Inverted person who supposed to be a sinner that deserves no quarter. Eiji saved her by bringing her into a hut where she could step on the ceiling. Both of them bicker for awhile, because they were radically different in term of their standing. Patema called Eiji as the Human Bat, but from Eiji's point of view, she is the one that hanging from the ceiling.
Things got a little bit confusing, where Patema lives like an underground scavenger while Eiji lives a normal life where he got to go to school. Even in the school, the surface people seems to be very fanatical with the belief that the going to the sky is a sin, in fact looking up into the sky is also bad for the soul.

To poor Eiji, he can't help but felt like all the sermons and lectures were directed to him. Because he is a son to a heretic who went up to the sky. After school, he went back to the hut where Patema was hiding, and brought her some food. Patema seems able to eat the same food as him, because it was just a bread. The only difference was that when the bread fell off on the ground, it fell on the ceiling for Patema. But Patema didn't have that problem back at her own home. They chatted all day long, and during the night, for the first time Patema could enjoy a sky full of starlight.

Seems like a very happy ending, but the story not ended yet. Remember the Human Bat that tried to catch Patema earlier and caused her to fall off toward the sky? That Human Bat turns out to be the city guard, and reported about Patema's intrusion. The city's authority quickly found her hiding in the nearby hut where Eiji hid her, and dispatched the city guards to apprehend her.

This is the part where everything turned and twisted into an incredible plot. Patema got caught by the city guards, while Eiji got hurt. Back to the city of Aiga, where the Non-Inverted people lives, the crazy City Chancellor revealed that he knew about the catastrophe that befell humanity, but used it as a leverage to maintain his power. The disaster was actually caused by a freak accident from an experiment to draw power from the gravity as a renewable source of energy. But things turned awry, and lot of people died. Those who survived were condemned as sinners and heretics, where they were no longer allowed to come to the surface lest the disaster repeat again.

Not only that, the Chancellor also came across Patema's friend, Lagos. And had him killed while turning his body into some sort of an experimental thing. He was kept in a preservative tank and all his belonging were kept for research to unlock the secret why everything Lagos was in inverted state. The Chancellor fear that if their blood, the inverted and non-inverted, were to mingle to together, it would bring forth the same catastrophic effect as the first one.

Eiji, couldn't turned away from Patema dilemma, decided to help. He believe there are more going on to this inverted thing, and went to rescue her. They managed to escape, but in the whole chaotic situation where Eiji almost got shot, Patema jumped and grab Eiji, causing them to fly toward the sky. They flew (or fall) all the way up, until they ended up in the clouds(?). Surprise! They ended up on a surface of a huge metallic construct.

Turns out the starry night that they both have been seeing, weren't stars at all. In fact, it was this bulbs light, by the thousands, emanating from this huge metallic surface. Just what the hell is going on here? They landed (dropped?) nearby to a flying machine constructed by Eiji's father years ago. In that machine, they found some notebook, and yes, Eiji's father was actually working together with Lagos. Their dream was to unite the divided human race, the inverted and non-inverted. Their first step was to unravel the secret where the sky ended, in short, Eiji's father wanted to see the whole of Aiga and why was it they were all clumped together in one place. What happened to the rest of the world?

The machine was thought to be lost, along with whats left of Eiji's father journals and notes. It turns out that the metallic construct composed of the the entirety of the Aiga's sky. So yeah, in a way it started to feel like the 'Inception'. Do they live underground within the underground? What the hell is going on? One thing for sure, the metallic construct not only serves as the starry night, but also as the blazing day. So as the day crept up, the metallic construct's surface started to glow and grew hotter by the minute.

Good thing there were some notes left by Eiji's father on how to operate his machine, where Eiji used it to returned back to Aiga's surface. But the crazy Chancellor and his henchmen were waiting, so vicious chase ensues all the way back downward to the underground. Everything turned into chaos because the Aiga people, known only as the Human Bat were invading deep into the underground tunnels chasing Eiji and Patema. The rest of the underground dwellers, the Sakasama people, scattered by this invasion, and the Chancellor was dead set to capture Eiji and Patema to set an example out from both of them. Very fanatical.

But in the climax, and accident occurred. While the Chancellor had both Eiji and Patema pinned down, the ground shook and gave away. Another mind boggling incident happened. The Chancellor and Patema both fell down, and to that crazy old bastard Chancellor, he was completely surprised. Because he was falling up into another sky. Which is deep below underground of the Aiga city. That is right. There was another sky down there. The Chancellor, in his panic, got hit by the flying machine that Eiji's father created. The machine actually doesn't fly, it just use the different material from both the inverted and non-inverted world to counter its weight. And at that time, the machine were falling down to the Aiga people perspective, which is down, all the way to another sky. Bringing the Chancellor along with it.

And finally, the truth were revealed. Yes, the big twist. This new sky, not only have blue skies and clouds, but also the moon and other celestial bodies. And the ground surface of this area, there were remains and ruins of the previous civilization. So which humanity was the inverted people? Turns out, the people of Aiga were those who was affected by the freak gravity accident that caused everything went up to the sky. They were the real survivors, helped by those who weren't affected. To atone for their mistake, the unaffected went underground, and built facilities for the affected people to live down there. That is why the underground dwellers consider themselves as the guardian. So that the Aiga people could live normally, as they should be. With this revelation, Aiga people is no longer in dispute with the Sakasama people. And also that fanatical city Chancellor was dead.

Eiji and Patema finally could be together. Patema's dream of coming to the surface finally came true, and Eiji was happy because his father was right all along. Humanity can unite once again, they were not so much different with one another after all.

I almost cried at the end. Sob..
Nice soundtrack at the end, perfectly captured the mood.


  1. Hello. I just want to say that Eiji's father died after falling down from his machine/being shot by the Chancellor's men. He returned down to Aiga's surface as a dead man. That's all. :)

    1. Oh yeah, sorry. I can't believe I misunderstood that scene. It was the scene where Eiji's father being on a scope. Actually I thought the reticle was from a binocular. Thanks for pointing it out.


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