Home > Anime/Manga, Movies, Ported Reviews > “Origin: Spirits of the Past” Movie Review

“Origin: Spirits of the Past” Movie Review

Hey, Frayed Wire readers! This is a review Josh made on his old site, but is now being moved here!

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It’s been a while since I saw a truly great anime movie. But after reading about numerous awards and high review scores of Origin: Spirits of the Past, I thought I had found the movie I was looking for. So I got it on Netflix and watched the movie.

Right away, I was impressed by the amazing animation. The detail in backgrounds and characters in this movie even rivals the work of anime legend Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Steamboy). Origin is great eye candy, and some people could watch it and enjoy it just for that. You want to take every frame of the movie and hang it up on your wall.

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Unfortunately, the same level of praise can’t be given to the story. It is confusing at times (or am I just dumb?) and never focuses enough on the characters. The story is about a kid named Agito who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the distant future. The apocalypse was caused when intense research on how to genetically alter trees so that they could live in harsh, arid conditions was made on Earth’s moon. The trees became conscious and formed a Forest Dragon that flew down to Earth and destroyed most of the world, as well as fragmenting the moon.

The bad part is that all that is never directly said, so you have to take what you find out at different parts of the movie to try and piece this all together. Again, is it confusing, or am I just dumb? I guess what I mean by that is that some people may easily understand what’s going on while others may not.

Anyway, during this future time where Agito’s village (Neutral City) is peaceful with the forest, Agito stumbles upon something during a race with this friend. The thing is a giant machine containing pods with dead bodies in them. But, there is one pod with someone who seems to be alive, so Agito touches it and awakes a girl named Toola. Toola has been asleep in that pod for 300 years, so she is shocked to find the world in the state it’s in. Agito takes Toola back to Neutral City, but the people aren’t completely surprised since there was another person who awoke from their pod several years ago, just like Toola did.

This person, Shunack, finds out about Toola and comes to Neutral City to persuade her to join his army. Shunack betrayed Neutral City and created the army nation of Ragna, which aims to restore the world back to how it was back before the mutant trees invaded. They can do this by activating a giant machine called Estoc, which has the power to restore the world to how it was – at the cost of wiping out everything in the world now, including the trees and people. Anyone taking refuge in Estoc can survive this death wave.

Toola joins Shunack, not knowing quite what she’s getting into. Eventually she finds out that her father is the one who created Estoc, but she still wonders whether she should activate it. You see, she’s the only one who can since she has a special Raban (an electronic device from her time). Agito, who wants the world to stay how it is, goes into the forest and allows himself to become “Enhanced”. That means he lets the forest genetically alter him so that he can become stronger through using the mighty power of the trees. So Agito, with his new super-human abilities, embarks on a journy to take Toola away from Estoc, so the world will be saved from the deadly machine.

The action is fun and the animation is amazing. The story really isn’t too confusing, but I felt a tiny bit lost when I was watching this movie. Origin: Spirits of the Past is not a bad movie at all, in fact you should go see it. It’s not’s going to make an impact on America like Spirited Away or Ghost in the Shell, but it’s a well-made movie nonetheless.

Final Score: 8 out of 10

By Josh60502

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