Patema Inverted is directed by Yasuhiro Yoshiura (Time Of Eve) and was originally released as a four part original net animation, Patema Inverted: Beginning Of The Day in 2012.
Patema (Yukiyo Fujii) is a young girl, raised in an underground society based in tunnels and never seeing the light of day. She dreams of a place she has been shown a photo of, a place of trees and sunshine and sky, but the strict rules of her elders prevent exploration of any kind, especially to the Forbidden Zone, where the “bat men” are said to be.
Age (Nobuhiko Okamoto)is a young boy, living in an equally strict society, but above ground. This is an oppressive regime, based on unquestioning conformity and adherence to the rule of law. No-one may look at the sky, as history tells of a race of people who interfered with gravity and fell into the sky. Now, it is regarded as a punishment for sinners. Age’s father built a flying machine however, against everyone’s wishes and although it was unsuccessful, his mind still turns to the stars.
One day while exploring the Forbidden Zone, Patema is startled by one of the bat people and while trying to escape she falls into an impossibly deep pit. Managing to catch herself, she looks down only to see the sky, rapidly approaching beneath her. As luck would have it, Age happens to be standing at the above ground edge of the pit, and he manages to catch Patema and prevent her from falling into the sky.
Although he knows she is an inverted and therefore considered to be a sinner he goes with his heart and resolves to help her. He takes her to a shelter, where they find that she can stand on the ceiling as he can on the floor.
Harbouring an inverted is a dangerous business and the authorities are soon looking for them, just as Patema’s people are looking for her. They soon learn that between them they can balance their gravity difference and travel further and faster than they could do alone.
Patema and Age become firm friends, as she is completely dependent on him for her survival and he must try to understand how it feels to be forever falling into the sky, and attempt to get her back home.
This is a truly fascinating piece of animation. The premise is brilliant and makes for some stunning sequences, as people are all ways up and more often than not when you see a ladder appear it’s almost impossible to predict which way up the person climbing it is going to be.
The story-line is well written and thought out and it is certainly very complicated, although in a lot of ways it does raise more questions about what happened than it actually answers. It is probably a film that will need watching several times on order to get your head around it, and even then it’s a very tough concept to grasp. The challenge is really good fun however.
It is a thoroughly enjoyable and heartwarming film that has you hooked (if a little confused) from start to finish.
A must own for anime fans and sci-fi fans alike, the stunning visuals and innovative view of the world are well worth a watch.
In addition to the standard release version of Patema Inverted (which includes both the DVD and Blu-ray version of the film, plus plenty of special features) there is also an limited edition Ultimate version being released. Funded by Kickstarter, this features bespoke packaging and an exclusive design works book as well as lots of other features.
Both of these versions are available to order now from Amazon.