In a fantasy world a lasting bond that transcends time and the tragedy of being immortal is explored in a emotional tale. Welcome to the story of Maquia.

Anime screenwriter turned director, Mari Okada brings us her debut feature and passion project; Maquia: When The Promised Flower Blooms.

Set in a fictional fantasy world of sprawling steampunk and vast acreage, where immortal beings and dragonkin creatures aren’t a thing of myth, the tale follows our protagnist Maquia; a woman of young appearance who is part of the centuries old Iorphian race of beings that are near immortal and weave their legendary stories into cloth known as Hibiol. After the peaceful civilization is attacked by the army of the King of Mezarte, who is desperate to find out the secret of their everlasting life, Maquia is thrust into the outside world where time progresses at a much more contrasting pace. Here, it is where Maquia (voiced by the extremely talented Manaka Iwami) learns the grim reality and true curse of her people: falling in love will ultimately leave her alone.

In an age where Anime is finally finding its feet in Western Cinema, it is always an absolute pleasure when a brand new director brings us their own take on fantasy based stories. An intimate yet epic tale of tabooed maternal love and barriers between worlds being broken, is presented to us here with an extensive fleshed out world, a dark but optimistic narrative and a rather spellbinding score, all wrapped up in a elegant package which will bring audiences to their knees in tears.

Every inch of the expansive scenery was meticulously crafted to contain heart and soul with even the side characters and over-arcing storylines adding to the bigger picture. As the story progressed over its near eight decade time span, we saw a vast array of characters evolve so much even though the runtime is just shy of two hours. Normally, an achievement like this is only seen in an Anime series.

Ultimately, every anime film for the foreseeable future will likely be compared to the likes of Studio Ghibli’s extensive catalogue or Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name by most, but rest assured, Mari Okada’s debut feature Maquia stands firmly on its own two feet as a breathtaking look at the tragedy of the immortal, the importance of love over all else and the power of being a parent. One cannot wait to see what other magnificent stories this brand new directorial talent can accomplish in the future.

Maquia: When The Promised Flower Blooms is released in UK Cinemas on June 27th 2018. More dates may be added in the future.