All the Anime have been spoiling us for UK anime film screenings over the past few months, and certainly given us all plenty to blog and tweet about. Maria Okada’s directorial debut ‘Maquia: When the Promised Flowers Bloom’ is the latest film in their repetoire and is coming to UK cinema screens from 27 June!
No doubt your social media feeds have been full of reviews of this wonderful film over the last few weeks. So, I’ve emerged from my temporary hiatus cocoon to give you five reasons why you should catch ‘Maquia’ while you’ve got the chance! Get your tickets here!
A beautiful story
Maquia is a young Iorph, an ethereal race of people who live for hundreds of years by weaving their days into beautiful fabric. When an empire invades their home to obtain the Iorph’s power, Maquia is forced to escape and stranded far away from home. When she rescues a baby boy, whom she names Aliel, and decides to raise him. With no home to return to, she is forced to make her own way in the world as Aliel grows into a young man, but is constantly on the move as she herself doesn’t age.
‘Maquia’ is a tale about love in all its forms, told over decades with Maquia as its ever-youthful centre. It’s an intimate human story that deals with regret, betrayal and redemption.
A fantastic directorial debut
‘Maquia’ is Japanese anime screenwriter and director Mari Okada’s directorial debut. In other words, it’s her first big splash on anime screens and is bursting with potential and more exciting things to come. Anime fans may recognise Okada as being responsible for the screenplay of series ‘Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day’ and film ‘Anthem of the Heart’, so her talent is already well-know. However, ‘Maquia’ demonstrates the full extent of her talent; an original and heart-melting story that will move even the coldest of hearts.
An immersive fantasy world
I’ve always been a fan of fantasy stories, so ‘Maquia’ caught my interest immediately. Its sprawling mountainous landscapes, terrifying dragons and mysterious race of people are staples of any fantasy setting, but it is far from cliche. The focus is very much on the people, particularly the women and their struggles, rather than epic battles and witches and wizards. Rather than being thrown into the middle of political intrigue and fighting, the audience moves through the world with Maquia and Aliel as they mature. Maquia’s world already feels well-established at the very beginning of the film, meaning there is little need for endless exposition and drama after drama to keep you invested.
I’m not an animation expert by any means, but there is something very ethereal and delicate about the animation in ‘Maquia’. The art director behind the film is Kazuki Higashji, who has been responsible for beautiful anime series such as ‘A Lull in the Sea’ and ‘Charlotte’. Not only are the world and characters are beautiful, but the battles are also bloody and tense.
Tissues are required
I’m deliberately not going deep into the story because I don’t want to spoil much but, seriously, I haven’t shed so many tears in the cinema for a long time. ‘Maquia’ does many things as a film and its focus on human strife and perseverance, set against a backdrop of empire and war. Maquia herself starts off seemingly weak but matures into the strongest person of them all, and the people around her grow, change and learn as time passes by. There is so much to become invested in, it’s impossible not to shed a tear.