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I used to be a fan of anime, a huge one too... but the more good live-action movies one sees, the less one is impressed with anime writing, plots and characters. I'm set for life on screaming 15-year-olds, thank you.
Then again, once in a while a concept anime comes along that just completely blows your wig off, and Patema Inverted is one of these. The main characters are a pair of 15-year- old... dang it. All right, it's not completely original, and sometimes even bad, like when it has an obnoxiously evil general right out of Gundam Wing for a villain. Fortunately, the central couple are very modest with tears and histrionics, which is all the more impressive considering the terrifying anti-gravity hijinks they go through (a "69" version of Castle in the Sky, to put it in very general terms).
The movie opens with the sight of a large city over radio transmissions. The voices begin to talk more quickly, then transition into an outright panic, and then, we see the buildings detach from the ground and fall up into the sky, in ruins.
Patema is an adolescent girl born after this tragedy. She lives in an tunnel community deep underground, and likes to explore the "forbidden zone" - an uninhabited area where for some reason, all the EXIT signs are on the floor and railings attach to the ceiling. One day, she finds a colossal vertical shaft and notices that in this shaft, dust motes travel up.
She decides to follow the motes and explore, and discovers a world outside, covered in grass and trees, where the sky is visible and the stars shine at night. It's too bad that gravity here is the opposite of hers, and she's basically clinging to the world's ceiling for dear life, with the sky waiting to swallow her as soon as her grip gives out. Then, things get wild.
Direction and visual design are superb, and exceedingly creative with the possibilities of inverted gravity, especially when two people - one inverted, one straight - clasp onto one another. In fact, maybe a little too good - there were points where I kept imagining streams of vertigo puke spew out of my face and fly into the clouds. If you're scared of heights, you will sweat more watching this than any horror movie.
Did you ever watch Memento and then spend a couple of hours thinking backwards or expecting to forget everything any second? This type of lasting head-job is something I got very strongly watching Patema. Hell, I'm typing this in Notepad right now and automatically wondering how many lines I can write before they come unstuck from the top of the window and crash down.
Without further spoilers, I give Patema Inverted the highest possible grade. I only just have one additional complaint: have any of these people ever heard of a rope harness?
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