Origin: Spirits of the Past

 
Gorgeous anime with strong pro-environment message.
  • Review Date: August 29, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
A strong positive message about the value of humans living in harmony with nature, each working together in conjunction with the other.
Positive role models
The main character, a young teen boy, is shown selflessly taking care of his father (and also respecting him). He then risks his own safety to rescue the girl and stop the bad guy; it's also he who comes up with the idea of man and nature working together in harmony.
Violence
Moderate fantasy violence including some slightly nightmarish imagery, with occasional bursts of fighting and shooting, without any blood or casualties. The fighting usually involves large machines or big groups. The final battle between one good guy and one bad guy gets a little stranger as the characters gain superpowers, grow tree limbs, and convert themselves into plants.
 
Sex
The characters flirt just a little. The boys seem to agree that the new girl is cute, and they joke around about who's going to get to marry whom.
Language
One use of "hell" and one use of "stupid."
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Origin: Spirits of the Past is an anime movie released in Japan in 2006 with a moderate amount of fantasy violence, without blood or death. It does contain some imagery that could feel nightmarish or disturbing to younger viewers. However, the message about learning to live in harmony with nature is a positive one. There's some minor flirting between tween/teen characters. Note: The version available streaming on Netflix is dubbed in English, but viewers who rent or buy the DVD will be able to choose between it and the Japanese language track with English subtitles.

Parents say

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What's the story?

In the future, scientists develop a super-breed of trees on the moon. These trees gain intelligence, destroy the moon and take over the earth. Now the people live in fear, attempting to survive by obtaining water wherever they can. While escaping from some forest sentries, Agito (voiced by Chris Patton) discovers a pod containing a sleeping girl, Toola (voiced by Carrie Savage). It turns out she is from the past, before the forest took over. A soldier, Shunack, who is also from the past, claims to be a friend of Toola's father and wishes to enlist her help in restoring the planet to normal. Agito realizes that Shunack has something sinister planned, but can he stop him in time, even with his new enhanced powers?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 
Like many other anime, ORIGIN: SPIRITS OF THE PAST includes a post-apocalyptic setting, weird creatures and transformations, and fantasy violence, but it sets itself apart with its exceptionally beautiful animation and sound. Director Keiichi Sugiyama, who worked on the TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion, shows an incredible sense for air and light, the movement of water, and a general feel for the outdoors and nature.
 
The two main characters eventually spring to life as well, with a lovely chemistry together, and experiences filled with touches of sadness, loss, and hope. Agito takes care of his father, who has become half-plant, and Toola wonders how she will ever fit into this strange new world. And while the movie's big, spectacular moments are impressive and imaginative, it's the scenes of normal life that work best.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's fighting and violence. Is it necessary to show this kind of stuff to get across such a positive message?
  • Do you agree with the movie's message? What are some ways that man and nature can live in harmony with one another?
  • Are the characters in the movie too young to be thinking about romance and marriage? How do they relate to one another?
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Movie details

DVD release date:February 20, 2007
Cast:Carrie Savage, Chris Patton, Laura Bailey
Director:Keiichi Sugiyama
Studio:Funimation
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Science and nature
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Origin: Spirits of the Past was written by

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Quality

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  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 0 years old February 4, 2014
age 4+
 

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What other families should know
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