This is the first time that I’ve enjoyed an anime while being barely able to watch it.
Patema Inverted is about the brave and curious girl who goes exploring in her underground world of tunnels and ruins and discovers a horrible truth. The film is sci-fi to the extent that it is set after a gravitational experiment goes wrong, causes people to fall into the sky and forces the survivors to live underground. This is not known to Patema or those of her generation.
This is an anime that benefits from fantastic plot and has a wonderful reason for some great illustration. Thankfully the art lives up to the challenge and we’re given some beautiful scenes.
So how come I could hardly stand to watch? Vertigo. I don’t have it bad but sometimes it triggers. I can’t stand to watch videos of those talented idiots who go climbing up the sheer sides of mountains with nothing but their fingers and a bag of chalk on their back to catch them if they fall.
Yasuhiro Yoshiura, the director of Patema Inverted must have some empathy with those rock climbers. Some of his characters could cope with dangling off incredible heights with certain death if they fall and some seem to enjoy it.
Then there are those scenes in which Yasuhiro Yoshiura is trying to use the height and fall to scare you. They did! Sometimes you can be too successful.
I watched Patema Inverted in the dark, on the big screen at Scotland Loves Anime 2013 and I’m sure that ‘enhanced’ the vertigo. The fact that it was a full house and I could hardly escape my seat only made it worse.
Those around me, those without a healthy respect for heights, all seemed to enjoy the anime greatly. I’m not surprised, Patema is a strong female character and Age, the boy she meets, isn’t needlessly wimpy just for the constrast. In fact, he’s a pretty likeable character as well. This is an anime that sparkles with likeable characters – except for the villain. Here I suspect we slip into the realm of unintentional comedy. The villain makes all the stereotypical moves; the mad stares, the sinister grins, the templed fingers, the god complex and an army of black uniformed thugs.
There is a lot to enjoy in Patema Inverted. It’s wonderfully scripted, very well drawn and voiced. This is one of those anime that is good enough to make producers wish they could make a live action version of but have little chance of making that happen.