Origin: Spirits of the Past
What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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 weird 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.
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?
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?