Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms anime movie cover art
Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Movie Overview

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou / さよならの朝に約束の花をかざろう) is an original anime movie by P.A. Works. Its genres are drama and fantasy, and it was definitely made specifically to make you cry — as many P.A. Works anime are.

The movie follows an Iorph girl named Maquia. Iorphs are immortal (long-lived?) people who live in a distant land separate from the continent of the humans. There, they spend their days weaving cloth that records the history of the world. They call this cloth Hibiol, though the word is also used to describe something treasured.

Maquia is an orphaned Iorph. I don’t believe we were ever told what happened to her family. But, the village elder raised her, so she’s not completely alone. And one lesson the village elder taught her was to not care about humans if she ever met any.

Maquia from the anime movie Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Why shouldn’t Maquia care about humans? Because Iorph are effectively immortal. Any human she cares about will die long before her — and then she’ll know what true loneliness is. Right from the start of the movie, we can tell that this is exactly what’s going to happen to Maquia.

So, after this is all set up, some humans attack the Iorph homeland. They capture the women and children and slaughter everyone who tries to stop them. Maquia, however, suffers a different fate. One of the dragon things the humans arrived on goes berserk and carries Maquia off on her own.

When Maquia wakes up, she finds herself on the human continent. She doesn’t know what happened to her homeland or whether she’ll ever be able to return. Not long after this, she finds an orphaned baby human, names him Ariel, and decides to raise him as her own.

A Bit More Explanation Needed

Maquia is a very good anime. But, there were a few things I would have liked a bit more explanation of. Of course, I often say that not everything needs a complete explanation. And I still believe that. But, sometimes, a bit more explanation is necessary.

The first thing I would have liked to have explained more is the Hibiol. We know it’s a cloth woven by the Iorph. But, as it turns out, humans can weave it too — Ariel does. So, that seems to imply there’s nothing particularly magic about it.

Iorphs also use their weaving of Hibiol as a form of writing. When they say it records the history of the world, they mean that literally. But, other than it being a vague form of world-building, I’m struggling to see what the point is. It’s important because we’re told it is — that’s all.

Lang, Deol, Maquia, and Ariel (and the dog) from the anime movie Maquia: When The Promised Flower Blooms
Lang, Deol, Maquia, and Ariel (and the dog)

Next up are the Renato (the dragon things). At the start of the movie, there are only 5 Renato left in existence. They routinely die from the “red eye disease” that makes them go berserk before burning up. I’d have liked a bit more explanation of this.

Leilia assumes that the red eye disease is a product of the conditions in which the Renato are kept. The humans keep them chained up when not used in war. They’re pretty much just there to be a metaphor for the captured Iorph. But, it still would have been nice to have a definitive explanation.

And the last thing I want to bring up are Iorph-human hybrids. There are 2 we know of in the movie: Barlow and Medmel. Barlow has the Iorph’s long lifespan. Medmel does not. I guess Medmel just got bad genetic RNG.

Everyone Is the Worst

What surprised me most about Maquia is how all the characters ended up being terrible people. Some of them I can forgive more than others. But, they all made pretty selfish decisions, some of which I still don’t really understand.

Let’s go through a few of these selfish decisions while spoiling the rest of the movie.

First up is Ariel, who comes to resent his mother, Maquia. As he grows up, he realizes that he isn’t her biological child. He ages and she doesn’t, so it’s pretty obvious. It gets to the point that he basically disowns her. In the end, he does come back around, though.

Okay, so Ariel had a rebellious phase. I can forgive him for that even though the things he said to Maquia were uncalled for. But, I’m having a hard time forgiving Maquia’s actions.

Maquia kissing Ariel after he dies from the anime movie Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
Maquia kissing Ariel after he dies

After reuniting with Ariel and helping his wife give birth to their daughter, Maquia dips. She leaves Ariel, who’s like 20 and begging her to stay. And she doesn’t see him again until literal minutes before he dies of old age. She abandoned him, and for what? There was no real reason.

Speaking of abandonment, there’s also Leilia, an Iorph kidnapped by the humans. They forced her to marry the prince and bear him a child. But, since the child (Medmel) was a mortal girl, they considered both Leilia and Medmel failures.

Now, why does this make Leilia a bad person? Well, ever since giving birth, she wasn’t allowed to see Medmel, despite wanting to. And likewise, Medmel always wanted to meet her mother.

But, when they finally get to meet each other at the end of the movie, Leilia jumps off a cliff in front of her daughter. Again, for what?

Maquia: Recommended

I complained a lot in this review of Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms. But, I still think it’s an 8/10. It’s a very good movie and I do recommend it. But, the fact that it’s hard to like most of the main characters does leave a bad aftertaste.

You see, I’m pretty sure the movie wanted me to be crying at the end. But, instead, I was pretty mad about Maquia and Leilia abandoning their children.

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