Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou, lit. Let’s Decorate the Promised Flowers in the Farewell Morning) is an anime film that is receiving a lot of publicity in the press, as it is Mari Okada’s directorial debut. Okada is an acclaimed screenwriter, known for Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, The Anthem of the Heart, and more. Prior to its official release on 24 February 2018, MANGA.TOKYO went to a preview screening! Let me introduce you to this noteworthy film. Can it surpass the popularity of Your Name?!
※ Please note: as of the time of publishing this article, many of the spellings for the characters and jargon have not been confirmed. The spellings may differ from the subtitles in the movie when it is released.
■ The Iolf: A fictitious clan where all the members stop aging in their mid-teens in appearance and have a lifespan of centuries.
■ Hibiol: Traditional fabrics woven by the Iolf people. They weave their days into their fabric.
■ Mezarte: A country that invades a village of the Iolf, wanting their blood for longevity.
■ Maquia: The protagonist. A loner Iolf girl who has lost her parents.
■ Clear: A Iolf boy whom Maquia secretly has feelings for.
■ Leilia: The prettiest Iolf girl of the village.
■ Erial: An orphaned boy whom Maquia meets.
The movie can be a little confusing at times, as not only is it filled with fantastical names and terms, but some of the characters do not change appearance as they age. Knowing certain keywords beforehand should help you understand the story when watching it.
The story starts with the disruption of the peaceful life of the Iolf, who were living quietly weaving traditional fabrics. The Iolf have a lifespan of centuries and maintain their teenage appearance, and thus they are called ‘The Clan of Partings’. They have essentially become a living legend. One of the villagers, Maquia, has lost her parents. While living peacefully with others in the village, she finds herself a ‘loner’. One day, an army invades the village, wanting the Iolf blood for longevity. Leilia, the prettiest girl of the village, is taken away by them, and the boy Maquia secretly likes, geso missing. Maquia somehow manages to escape, but there is no home for her to return to. As she wanders around in a dark forest, she finds an orphaned boy. She takes the loner boy in her arms and decides to raise him. As time goes by, the baby, named Erial, grows up into a man, but Maquia keeps her teenage appearance as an Iolf. What will happen to their relationship as their passage of time flows differently…?
My impression of the film is
Most of all, the visuals are beautiful! The fantastical world is beautifully depicted and is fixated on details. This film is characterized by its ephemeral qualities. The Iolf people live for centuries maintaining their teenage appearances and they have to part with others as time goes by. Submitting to their fate of the clan, Maquia meets somebody she comes to love and makes a heart-wrenching decision. At the same time, the emotions of those who meet and come to love Maquia are also stirring. You can enjoy it differently depending on which character you relate to.
Meanwhile, the star-studded voice cast adds color to this beautiful and fleeting fantasy. Protagonist Maquia is voiced by Manaka Iwami, a new star who is drawing people’s attention for her role inChildren of the Whales. The character seems a little precarious and that makes you want to help her, but she has a lot of inner strength. Erial, who grows up with Maquia’s love into a promising man and tries to protect her, is voiced by Miyu Irino. He was able to portray the complicated mind of a boy mixed with various emotions in a careful manner. In addition, many well-known voice actors including Ai Kayano, Yuki Kaji, Miyuki Sawashiro, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Tomokazu Sugita, and Hiroaki Hirata joined up for supporting roles.
Parting is not all about being sad. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms portrays a beautiful farewell filled with lots of love to warm your heart.