Origin: Spirits of the Past is an interesting take on the dystopian future. 300 years have passed since the world was overrun with dangerous vegetation. Water is the leading trade commodity in the few remaining human civilizations. The druids serve as protectors of the forest and enforce the will of the woodland spirits. Neutral City has formed a peace treaty with the forest in exchange for resources. The neighboring city of Tria however attempts to overpower the woods and take water by force. While retrieving water from a restricted area, Agito stumbles upon a large machine and awakens a slumbering woman from the distant past. Agito and Toola bond quickly, but their desires may pull them apart.
After the world was undone and overrun with vegetation, humanity came together and rebuilt their society. Certain humans approached the spirit of the forest and were enhanced. In exchange for great power, these beings risk losing their humanity altogether. If the enhanced humans overwork their bodies with these new powers, they will become one with the forest. Agito’s father chose to be enhanced in order to build Neutral City and is slowly merging with the woods around him.
Toola is disturbed by the devastation in the land. Although she comes from the past world, the time in which she has awoken to is archaic and primitive. She soon learns of another man from her time, Shunack, who informs her that the world in which they remember can be restored with her help. Shunack is an enhanced being who serves in the Ragna Army from Tria. In her desperation to regain the life she once knew, Toola joins Shunack in his quest to eliminate the expansive forest.
Agito learns that if the forest is destroyed, the world will be lost as well. In order to prevent this from happening, Agito visits the forest and is enhanced. With newfound power, this young hero sets out to save Toola from making a grave mistake. After locating the key to destroying the forest, Toola learns the origin for the planetary forestation. Upon realizing this truth, she wishes to end the quest to regain her old life, but is it too late? Secrets unfold, wills are tested and the fate of the world teeters on the brink of destruction.
Origin: Spirits of the Past serves as a fresh take on the dystopian genre. Rather than global destruction due to war or zombie infection, the world lays in ruin from positive intent. The cause of the massive forestation is intriguing and pertinent for our time. The symbolism found throughout this film is deep, thought provoking and at times somewhat disturbing. Origin could have served as a gigantic add for the conservation movement, but it evolved into so much more.
The animation is a mix of 2 and 3D. This style can go downhill very easily, but there was obviously a lot of care and talent put into this film. The fight scene near the end of the film is creative and visually stunning. In a world of fantasy, the animation brings a sense of reality. The only issue I really have with the film is that Agito spends half the film just repeating Toola’s name over and over. It gets old very quick and weakens the overall sound writing in the rest of the film. One line near the beginning of the film from Yolda has particularly stuck with me. “For someone from the past, this all must seem primitive.” Boom!… This is a perfect example of the thought provoking dialogue made throughout the film. Make sure to watch after the credits for an additional scene.
The Blu-ray DVD combo pack can be enjoyed in both English and Japanese. The film runs 90 minutes with an additional hour of extras. Extras include a couple videos chronicling the making of the film and a screening event special preview. Other extras include coming attractions, previews, textless songs and tv spots. The original film was produced by Gonzo. The English version of the film was produced by Funimation Entertainment. You can purchase the film right here!