Parents' Guide to

Maboroshi

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Confusing anime romance has sex references, language.

Movie NR 2024 111 minutes
Maboroshi movie poster: Above abandoned factory landscape two upside-down Japanese anime teenage faces look at each other

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This part romance, part mystery, anime drama is incredibly confusing and frustrating. Many questions that arise while watching Maboroshi are never answered or fully explained, and the worldbuilding suffers because of this. Somehow, people in one specific town are trapped in time and space but also get glimpses of the other "reality" through cracks of light that sometimes appear. Further, a feral girl who doesn't speak much and seems to have the intelligence of a 4-year-old is the main clue holding the key to explaining how the town is suspended in time.

Oddly, the main theme throughout is romantic love, which is hard to stomach given the main characters involved are all 14-year-olds, and the stakes of their lives, the town, the adults around them, and indeed, the entire world, seem to rest on whether or not specific characters' romantic love for one another is real or not. The final scenes even put the feral child in question in a wedding gown while the drama ramps up to the conclusion. Also painfully slow, melodramatic, and long, this perplexing drama will make most viewers feel like they are also frozen in time.

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