Origin: Spirits of the Past (12)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner09/07/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

Enjoyable anime eco-adventure with strong characters, a compelling plot and superb animation, courtesy of Studio Gonzo.

What's it all about?
Origin: Spirits of the Past is set in the future, three hundred years after mankind decimated the Earth and gave birth to a sentient Forest after experimenting with the genetic engineering of the environment. The surviving humans split into two groups: the inhabitants of Neutral City, who try to peacefully co-exist with the Forest; and the war-mongering city of Ragna, whose people seek to control the Forest by force.

The story begins as Neutral City boy Agito (Ryo Katsuji) stumbles across a cryogenic tube and releases a girl from the distant past called Toola (Aoi Miyazaki). However, when Toola is recruited by a man from Ragna (Kenichi Endou as Shunack) who says he knew her father and is also from the past, Agito makes a pact with the Forest and gains special powers, hoping to stop Toola before she unwittingly destroys civilization.

The Good
Origin succeeds in quickly establishing its own fantasy world, thanks to a clearly thought-out plot and breathtaking animation courtesy of Studio Gonzo. The ruined cityscapes are stunningly beautiful, while the action sequences are extremely impressive, particularly the exciting lava-based climax.

In addition, the characters are both likeable and well-designed, though a couple of sub-plots - notably that of Agito's young admirer Minka (Omi Minami) and his best friend Cain (Masaru Hamaguchi) – seem to get lost in translation.

The Bad
Studio Gonzo are renowned for blending traditional hand-drawn animation with photo-realistic CGI work, though this yields somewhat mixed results - for example, the living Forest effects are spectacular, as are Ragna's realistic-looking robots, tanks and trains, but the water effects just end up looking weird. Similarly, the climax of the film feels a little rushed and just seems to fizzle out.

Worth seeing?
This is an enjoyable adventure with terrific animation and a strong ecological message. Make sure you stick around until the end of the credits, for one of the film's most arresting images. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 20/10/2017 11:45

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