The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Patema Inverted

Title: Patema Inverted aka Sakesama no Patema
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: Purple Cow Studios Japan
Format: Movie; 99 minutes
Dates: 13 June 2013

Synopsis: Patema is a young princess of a society that lives in a vast system of tunnels and caverns underground. Although constantly warned by her elders, Patema likes to explore the world beyond her village. One day while exploring one of the danger zones, she is attacked by a figure standing upside down on the ceiling. She falls through a deep pit and finds herself on the surface of a new world. Patema meets a boy named Eiji, who from her perspective is standing upside down, but for Eiji, she is the one who is inverted. With her world upside-down, Patema must seek help from Eiji as she is in great danger of falling into the sky.

The Highlights
Characters: Cute, but not a lot of development.
Gravity Hijinks: Not that fun due to underwhelming direction.
Forgettable: Movie fails to leave a lasting impression.

Patema Inverted is a demonstration of the difficulties of telling a compelling story within a small amount of time. The movie is a high-concept, science fiction tale about gravity being inverted for the surface world and the people underground. It is an intriguing setting with a simple hook, but the film does not use its time efficiently enough to explore it to a satisfying degree. Director Yoshiura Yasuhiro is certainly no novice, but Patema Inverted lacks the human touch and directorial imagination that made his work on Time of Eve so wonderful.

Although it is not atypical for high-concept works to provide little character development, in the case of Patema Inverted it is to its detriment. Patema and Eiji make a cute looking couple, but the film gives them little time to establish a genuine connection before springing all the zany action sequences on the audience. While somewhat fun to watch, these crazy action scenes of gravity going haywire do not provide enough thrills to be the entire essence of the movie. Moreover, while the film is definitely produced at a high budget — the backgrounds are especially gorgeous — it is bereft of stimulating camera angles and shots that can captivate the viewer. Yoshiura does not exploit the dynamic concept of gravity enough with his directing to create truly memorable scenes, which makes Patema Inverted a bit underwhelming.

Unfortunately, the movie does not have much else to fall back on. There is a startling absence of exposition regarding either Patema’s underground society or the surface world of Age. The totality of the film’s conflict is a simplistic one: Age’s government fears another manmade disaster so they attempt to prevent their citizens from thinking of flying or interacting with the underground people they label as sinners. The eventual twist of the movie is a neat one, but Patema Inverted simply does not offer a lot of depth to dig into.

Without delving into more detail about the characters or setting, the film fails to make a lasting impression. It is a fleeting experience that one forgets about almost as soon as the credits roll around. Patema Inverted is a very easy watch, but it is a disappointing effort for Yoshiura, who is capable of so much more.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Reckoner

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