“You can not fall in love with someone from the outside.
If you fall in love you will truly become alone”
The concept of immortality isn’t new to the medium of anime, it has been used countless times in several series and movies but what sets Maquia apart is that it takes the same concept in a very holistic manner. It delves deep into the idea of familial relationships and of finding oneself in this never-ending world. It also tackles the notions of freedom and loneliness simultaneously, in a unique format to give out a new experience as well as a contemporary perspective.
Maquia takes us on a journey of what it feels like to be tied with the chains of freedom in the cage of immortality.
Loneliness, the underlying and the most significant theme portrayed in the movie could have been another mundane plot convenience for the story to progress. But Mari Okada (director and writer) cultivated this theme into a very intriguing aspect.
The notion of ‘being alone’ is always present in the movie and works in an overarching manner throughout its run, be it from the fear of separation, of not accepting the truth or through the tumultuous fire of revenge. Maquia, in a very elegant manner, captures the essence of what it truly means to be lonely in a world devoid of everlasting life.
Another important theme tackled by Mari Okada’s directorial debut is of parenthood, inclined towards the parenting of a single mother and the hardships that she follows through. It’s quite ironical that a movie about the love parents have for their children would start on such a harsh note; that love would eventually be lost forever, but that is what more fascinating about Maquia.
It approaches this particular idea in a very unorthodox and oxymoron-ish manner. The responsibility that comes with being a parent is burdening and is not always joyful but Okada makes sure that it’s also filled with happiness and some heart-melting moments, as to compensate for the heavy burden of responsibilities.
The animation and soundtrack only add to the Maquia’s strengths, making it more powerful as well as important at the same time. PA Works did an amazing job with the movie, the animation feels fresh, vibrant and aligns with the ideas depicted, it fits all the themes well and exudes an aesthetic vibe. Also, there’s some use of CGI here and there which clearly stands out in not so good manner but that’s a rarity so it doesn’t matter much. Throughout the entire run of the movie, it didn’t have any drips and was stunning from start to end.
About the soundtrack, it was pretty solid, every tone perfectly reverberated with what was being presented on the screen to me. At times, I thought that Kenji Kawai composed this heartfelt music exclusively for the movie. Overall, the animation and music department only strengthened Maquia.
Coming to the negatives, the time skips and the pacing sometimes are off the mark. It’s a movie and has a limited time screen but the imminent timeskips only creates a ‘disconnect’ and leave its viewers in an oddly confused state. Furthermore, this also leads to spontaneous changes of the events as well as the characters but that probably is what Okada wanted to show, the sins of an immortal love of a mother, in a world where people constantly change and grow.
Despite there being an inconsistent pacing, one thing is for sure, Maquia is a coming of age show with some crazy narrative and a beautiful culmination of the ideas of freedom and loneliness in parenthood.
It is truly a fascinating journey of an immortal child who tries to become a mother in a lonely world, as to fill in the gap of love which she wasn’t able to get. The movie is about the nature of parenting; what it takes to be a parent, how do you love your child and being there when it matters the most. In all, Maquia is a beautiful journey of a child who is learning to ‘let go’.