Hulu has lots of anime to choose from, including movies (as of this writing). I have not seen too many anime films, aside from most of what comes out Ghibli Studios and the occasional One Piece movie. I recently found a few on Hulu that looked interesting, though I had never heard of them. Patema Inverted seemed cool as it involves people who live upside down. It reminded me immediately of a movie called Upside Down that has the same concept.
In the future, scientists perform a failed experiment to harness gravity’s energy, which causes destruction over much of the Earth’s surface. A reverse gravity effect causes most people and objects to “fall up” and go into the sky. Imagine falling into a pit, but instead you’re falling upwards toward the heavens. These areas are called danger zones and are avoided at all costs. A nation named Aiga controls their citizens through mindless monotony and brainwashing. One boy in particular, Age, dreams of continuing his father’s work of exploring the skies, even though this is prohibited. He meets Patema, a girl from under the ground who is part of the community of Inverts, people who live upside down because of the change of gravity. They are seen as a threat to the livelihood of Aiga and considered sinners who only deserve to be punished.
Izamura, the leader of Aiga, is dedicated to eliminating every single Invert. He finds out about Patema and Age hiding out in a small shed and begins to hunt them down. The teens are on the run from soldiers until they are both caught. Patema is held in a tower, threatened by Izamura to be released into the sky and never return. Age goes to where he found Patema and discovers the other Inverts, where he meets Patema’s friend Porta, who joins him in rescuing Patema. After a near-death experience, both Age and Patema fly up to the clouds, where they find a large mechanical city of sorts. Age’s father created a floating machine that landed there, and he finds notes from when his dad worked together with an Invert to make it.
After making it safely back to the ground using this flying craft, they are confronted again by Izamura, who wants to take their lives. Eventually, good triumphs, and the two sides decide it’s time to work together now that the truth is known to each civilization.
What strikes me as interesting is how easily the Inverts are labeled as sinners. Not everyone believes in this, but most do. Just because they are different, they are beyond redemption according to Aiga, even though they had nothing to do with the past gravity experiment. The church of Christ and those outside of it come to mind, as often Christians will be quick to label those not in their clique, denomination, or community as outsiders. Christians can be rough on those that do not have it all together, or aren’t as spiritual as they are. We may claim that others are living in sin and judge them from afar instead of asking how we can pray, minister, or share the same peace that Christ has given us through His sacrifice and resurrection.
The Inverts are like the unreached, those that are in the “world” (secular, non-spiritual living) who are living opposite of the life that God has showed us in His Word. While someone may be praying or reading the Bible, someone else is off in a club partying, smoking weed, drinking away their sorrows, or letting anger control them. In real life, there are many people we see, meet, and interact with daily that live contrary to what God would consider moral and righteous.
Even though I have discussed how the Inverts are considered sinful in the anime, mainly because of how they live, I can also see “inverted” living as something positive and comparable to living by God’s standards. Everything that God commands us to do is opposite of what the rest of humanity is doing. God says to “not lie,” while everyone else lies to our faces. The Bible explains to not “lust after anyone, because you will have already committed adultery in your heart” (Matthew 5:28), but people are checking each other out all day long with perverted thoughts. Even prayer, faith, fasting, and other basic Christian disciplines are ridiculed, since their results are rarely immediately visible. For me, the older I get and the more I interact with others, the more I see myself as completely reverse to the lives of others my age. They might be talking about activities that don’t please God at all, and here I am thinking about serving others or even writing these articles in hope that someone will be ministered to by them.
Having the kind of compassion that Christ has given us and modeled is what drew Age to Patema in the first place, because he didn’t see her as this evil being, full of offense. Their relationship grew out of wanting to unite two conflicting people who literally live upside down from each other. Jesus Christ, when He walked upon the Earth, did not discriminate who He ministered to. Unlike today, where often people choose who deserves their time or prayer, our King of Kings gave grace and forgiveness to all. Age was interested in Patema because she was different—it didn’t push him away. Whenever I meet someone who looks or acts different on the outside, I do my best to not judge them and try to find something I like about them to compliment. For example, maybe someone has colored hair, tattoos everywhere, or if they don’t speak English (or Spanish, I am Hispanic so I speak both), I try to get to know them.
Patema Inverted is a movie that displays the value of bridging the gap between groups of people that are different than us. Throughout the movie, though, I kept thinking, “Both sides are human beings. There’s nothing different about the Inverts except gravity.” They weren’t aliens from another world, just regular people trying to survive. That’s the experience I took from this film, and I hope if you get a chance to watch it that you will see how similar we all are.