Patema Inverted is an award winning animated movie created by Japanese director Yasuhiro Yoshiura. Back during the 2013 Scotland Loves Anime film festival the movie scooped up the Golden Partridge accolade – the affectionate moniker given to the best movie prize (nicknamed after festival organiser Andrew Partridge.) After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Anime Limited has secured the rights to distribute the flick over here in the UK. Providing that the release is not marred by Anime Limited’s usual knack for delays/technical issues, the DVD combo pack should be available to buy early in November. Yeah, I’m still a tad miffed at the company as they have yet to replace the defective Durarara discs they sold me back in January.
The movie is titled after princess Patema, an adolescent lass who was born and raised in an underground settlement. Despite the warnings of her elders, the curious girl decides to venture out and explore a restricted zone on the outskirts of her village. Upon arriving at the destination, Patema comes face to face with an unfriendly batman hanging from the ceiling. Patema attempts to flee from the unfriendly Dark Knight only to slip and plummet down a nearby pit, faster than a Persian messenger who mocks Leonidas. One unplanned descent later, Patema emerges to the outside world – an experience that literally flips her outlook on life upside down.
Patema’s awe at seeing the sky for the first time is short lived as she quickly learns that gravity’s effects are reversed for anyone who is not native to the outside world. Instead of falling down to earth she is pulled up to the heavens, whenever she fails to anchor herself to a rooted structure. Thankfully for the blue haired princess a passer by named Eiji manages to grab onto her, moments before she can unwillingly ascendant to oblivion. Eiji offers to escort Patema back to the safety of her subterranean sanctuary, but the trip won’t be an easy one. The authorities have been alerted to Patema’s presence and have been instructed by the nation’s despot leader to capture her.
Having recently watched Patema Inverted I can say that the movie is worthy of all the plaudits lavished upon it during last years Scotland Loves Anime fest. It’s a sweet fantasy tale with a likable pair of leading characters who share some good chemistry. As a viewer I enjoyed journeying with Patema in her discovery of the planet’s surface and unveiling the sci-fi mysteries it harboured. The movie’s only weakness would have to be the antagonist named Izamura who is nothing more than a stereotypical evil dictator. Revealing his motivation for hating inverts would have been nice along with an explanation for his oppressive rule that bars citizens from gazing upon the sky. Does he simply hate people from down under because Kylie starred in that awful Street Fighter movie?
Visually the movie is gorgeous thanks to its hand drawn art and spectacular set pieces. Patema spends most of the movie flipped upside down, which gives director Yoshiura the opportunity to experiment with unique perspectives. The titular character’s ability to levitate is also used creatively during the action scenes, were on more than one occasion Eiji is able to float over danger by gripping onto the damsel in distress. I was so impressed by the finished product that I have no hesitation awarding it five stars. I can highly recommend Patema Inverted to animation fans everywhere, although I would advise against pre-ordering the DVD. Given my prior experience with Anime Limited, it may be prudent to wait until the Kickstarter backers report that the release is fault free before coughing up any cash.