Yesterday I was fortunate enough to see Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou) in theaters. I didn’t think my local theater would receive a screening of this film, but low and behold it did! A big thank you to the heavens and universe above for listening to my prays…because I have been DYING to see this film ever since I covered it on my blog back in December of last year. If you want to check out that post you can do so by clicking here: https://kawaiipaperpandas.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/topic-tuesday-why-the-hell-is-no-one-talking-about-this-upcoming-anime-film/.
If you haven’t seen the trailer for Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms here is a short synopsis of what the film is about:
This film follows Maquia, a lorph girl from a clan who stops aging in their mid-teens. Maquia is lonely, despite living a peaceful and idyllic life. The lorph’s long life span is sought out by Mesarte’s army who hope to receive an heir with this same immortality. Leilia, Maquia’s childhood friend, is taken in order to produce this heir. Maquia manages to escape the destruction and chaos of war, but with no home or people, she becomes a wanderer in a dark forest. It is here that Maquia stumbles upon a village that has been ravaged by highwaymen, and a baby boy who has lost his parents. Maquia decides to raise this boy as her own and names him Ariel. This story follows the relationship between the two…as Ariel grows up and Maquia does not.
There will also be minor spoilers throughout this post…but I feel like they won’t necessarily ruin your viewing experience when you finally see this film. Just thought I would give you guys a fair warning though!
While this story is a hauntingly beautiful roller-coaster of emotions that mainly focuses on what it means to be a mother and how that bond is forged over time, I want to focus your attention onto other themes throughout this movie. Mainly the emotions of love and obsession (if you couldn’t already tell from the title of this blog). In my personal opinion, I think love and obsession go hand in hand but first we need to look at these two emotions separately.
Love is a healthy emotion that grows between two people once they have invested enough time and energy into getting to know one another. That would represent Maquia’s and Ariel’s relationship throughout the film. Obsession is a bit different. It could feel like love at first, but as time goes on it grows into an unhealthy emotion that becomes more and more suffocating over time. This type of emotion would represent Leilia’s and Krim’s relationship as the film progresses over the course of many years. I should also tell you that Leilia and Krim had a romantic relationship before they were ultimately separated by Mesarte’s army. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms happens over the course of Ariel’s lifetime (from birth to old age).
See, there is a devastatingly fine line between love and obsession. With love, people tend to maintain their identities and interest. The love between two people naturally grows and builds on the foundation of acceptance/trust. With obsession, it becomes nearly impossible to be one without the other. The partner that is projecting obsessive tendencies will start to feel a physical need to be with the object of their obsession every day. This is what drives Krim throughout the film. Krim is consumed by his obsession to save Leilia from the kingdom, but it was Leilia’s choice to stay under lock and key as she was pregnant. Krim tries several times to save Leilia from her position, fundamentally failing each time. Leilia is kept away from her daughter Medmel, and you can tell her once free-spirited nature is becoming devoured by a crazed mad woman.
Negative feelings such as jealousy and paranoia are all related to obsession. An obsessed person will spend countless amounts of time trying to please their partner. That is exactly what Leilia was trying to do with the Prince of Mesarte. There is one scene in particular that shows how fragile Leilia has become after being alone for so many years. She is being dressed by her maids in order to be presented to the Prince, but Leilia quickly becomes engaged by all the jewels dripping from her body. She violently rips them off in a fit of anger and starts breaking things around her. She is a bird trapped in a steel cage looking for a way out. Izor, the leader of the Mesarte army, comes in to speak with her. Leilia confronts him about seeing Medmel and asks why she hasn’t seen her since her birth. Leilia desperately wants to see her daughter, but instead says if she can’t see Medmel then Izor must find Maquia instead. You can see Leilia’s emotion at 1:01 in the trailer for the film (the movie hasn’t been out long enough for me to find a gif of this scene):
Most often than not, an obsessed person can become verbally or physically abusive and then express great amounts of remorse afterwards. The scene I describe above with Leilia is a perfect example of this. Another example of this is when Krim (kinda) kidnaps Maquia and holds her captive for sometime. This scene is more towards the end of the film. You can tell it has been a few years from how long Maquia’s hair has grown out. Krim comes in to cut the dye out (Maquia dyed her hair when she was raising Ariel in the human world). He gathers Maquia’s hair and tugs on it pretty hard before chopping off the ends. At this point you can tell Krim is devoid of his emotions and only cares about trying to save Leilia once and for all. You can see this at 0:42 and 0:59 in the trailer.
Mari Okada did such an amazing job fleshing out the characters of this film. Even though this film happens over the course of many, many years I believe she captured the essence of what it means to love someone and what might happen when that love turns into something else after being alone for so long: Krim being away from Leilia, Leilia being away from Krim and her daughter, Maquia watching Ariel grow up and have a family of his own (even though this was a more healthy relationship Maquia was still infatuated with what the true meaning of being a mother meant), Ariel wanting to protect Maquia to the best of his ability as he grew older.
Each character had their own trials and tribulations to work through. The story wasn’t solely focused on Maquia’s and Ariel’s relationship, it was all encompassing. These characters were all connected by the thread of fate, which is pretty ironic considering Maquia and her people wove together hibiol’s (fabrics of life’s memories). I believe this film came full circle; starting with the hibiol and ending with the hibiol. It pulls symbolism from the Fates in Greek Mythology. The Fates were a common motif in European polytheism, and were often depicted as weavers of a tapestry on a loom, with the tapestry dictating the destinies of men.
As Maquia’s Elder says in the beginning of the film, if Maquia were to fall in love with someone from the outside world she would know the true meaning of loneliness. This film is that story. It dives deep into the sentiments of happiness, love, loneliness, anger, despair, obsession, and what it means to grow up even when you can’t grow older. If you want a more in-depth spoiler free review I suggest checking out the video Mother’s Basement did back in June. You can watch it here:
As Geoff states in the beginning of his video, Mari Okada loves to make her characters suffer in the most beautiful ways. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms had me so invested in the story-line that I cried like a baby at the end. It is HANDS DOWN the most exquisite anime film I have ever laid eyes on. It definitely beats out Kimi no Na wa (Your Name) and A Silent Voice #sorrynotsorry…I guess I’m just a sucker for drama anime right now. I hope you all get the chance to see this film. It is playing again on Tuesday the 24th so check your local theater listings! I got super lucky and saw that it was playing here in my city all because I decided to check movie times on a whim. I will be pre-ordering this movie as soon as possible. There is no way in hell I wouldn’t be adding this to my anime collection! It is too good to pass up.
That is it for me today my pandas. I’ll see you guys back here on Tuesday for my latest edition of Top Ten Tuesday. Catch y’all on the flip side! ❤
Disclaimer: All imagery and photos come from searching for them on the internet. I have no claim or right to them. The featured image for this post can be found here: https://www.zerochan.net/2274857#full.