Blu-ray Review: Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Since the late ’90s Mari Okada has been a prolific screenwriter in animated TV shows and films in Japan. She’s been part of the writing credits for anime shows such as Vampire Knight, Black Butler, Angel Tales, Mobile Suit Fundam, Lupin The Third and Gourmet Girl Graffiti. She’s written the scripts for the movie The Anthem of the Heart and My Teacher. After all that time writing the words, her script for Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms allowed her to do something new. She was able to put all her knowledge of the animation process to work as she directed her own work. She was able to do more than just turn in the script and let others interpret her work. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms is an epic fantasy that touches upon love, mortality and power.

The Iorph live apart from normal people because they have a remarkable ability to not age that fast. They can live hundreds of years and still look like young adults. They stay to themselves and weave a cloth that captures history as it happens. Among them lives Maquia. She’s an orphan who works directly for the head of the Iorph. She gets warned to never become emotional with a normal person because you will outlive them and have to carry that heartbreak for centuries. It’s a peaceful kind of life until the Kingdom of Mezarte invades. They swoop in on dragons and attack the kind souls. Why? They want the secret of nearly-everlasting life. Once they discover that it’s not a spell on a scroll, they begin slaughtering the Iorph. Maquia escapes when a solider comes down with “Red Eye” disease and loses it. She finds herself on the run. During the journey, she stumbles upon an orphaned human child. She rescues the child and eventually takes shelter with a woman and her children. This gets awkward as the child grows while his adoptive mother stays the same. Maquia also has to deal with the fact that the head of the Mezarte wants to marry and have children with an Iorph female he captured. This can not happen since that would mean the evil tribe will last forever.

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms is a marvel to watch as it balances fantasy, romance and action in this magical realm. The dragon attack on the the Iorph village is thrilling. It’s a movie that while from a female perspective won’t alienate a boy. Mari Okada gave herself a great script for her debut. There’s so much on the screen that makes Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms easily rewatchable a couple days later to see more of the details on the screen. The film should age like any Iorph.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out the sparkle of Maquia. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround in Japanese and English. There’s a fantasy edge to the audio to keep you in the right state of mind. The movie is subtitled.

DVD with the film.

Featurette follows Mari Okada and her crew through the animation process.

Trailer sums up the film.

Shout! Factory presents Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms. Directed by Mari Okada. Screenplay by: Mari Okada. Starring: Manaka Iwami, Miyu Irino, Ai Kayano, Yūki Kaji and Miyuki Sawashiro. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 115 minutes. Released: February 5, 2019.

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