ANIME REVIEW: Origin: Spirits Of The Past (2006) U.S. DVD/Blu-ray Combo

If you’re a fan of Nausicaa In The Valley Of The Wind (1984) and/or Princess Mononoke (1997) I think you’ll dig this movie. Actually it has more in common with Mononoke in that at its core it’s a tale of Man vs. Nature and if you’re not in accordance with Mother Nature you’ll lose.

Origin is a post-apocalyptic tale where it wasn’t nukes or a virus that upended humanity but a genetic experiment that literally turned Mother Nature into a sentient force to be reckoned with. This is seen cryptically while the opening credits roll as something very, very weird. Vines, leaves, branches erupt from the lunar surface, destroying the moon in the process and head towards Earth. Taking the shape of these serpentine almost dragon-like formations they rained down on the planet ending our current state of affairs, to put it lightly.

What really happened was genetic experiments with trees were being conducted on the moon, and a man named, Shunack, wanted faster results so he over stimulated the trees and they became sentient and dangerous. Once this “force” got to Earth “The Forest” took over. The “face” of now sentient Mother Nature became these two “children” who are kind of like “deities,” half human half foliage. They are separate and they are one. Mankind survived in two factions: the military complex called Ragna, and Neutral City. Neutral City is where humans have learned to co-exist peacefully with The Forest, and it is the go-between of the Druids (half human, half plant beings) who control the water flow within the city. Humans living here have the option of becoming “enhanced” by The Forest. This is a process that makes you half human and half plant to better serve the city. Once enhanced your hair becomes silver, and you have powers similar to Superman except without the flying and the heat vision, and Swamp Thing where you can alter parts, or all, of your body into plant material.

The main male character is teenager, Agito. The movie’s female hero is Toola, a teen from the past whose cryosleep was accidentally disturbed by Agito when he stumbled upon this immense piece of machinery under the city. Apparently a select group of people were chosen for cryosleep, most are seen to be dead, since their chambers were broken and all that remains of them are corpses now. Toola’s been asleep for 300 years! She was also the daughter of the scientist who was in charge of that experiment that doomed and remade the world. She’s also not the first person from the past to wake. Before her another awoke, joined the ranks of Neutral City and was enhanced. But he began to miss the old world and decided he wanted it back, so he joined the military. This man was Shunack! Once he learned Toola was alive he finally knew how he was going to change the world back and it involved a doomsday device her father set up as a precaution. It’s basically a fortified volcano, and the only way to rid the world of Mother Nature is to reduce it all to ash and begin again.

Toola is for the moment swayed by Shunack’s desire to make things like they were, but she has a change of heart the moment after Shunack activates the volcano and now Agito has to save her.

The animation is great looking and so is the landscape! Loved the story, and it has happy ending too. I heard about this movie a long time ago, and was amazed by the trailer, so I’ve been dying to see this for a while and it didn’t disappoint!

Origin has been on DVD and blu before, but this re-release is new because it’s a combo this time! Two discs for the DVD (one for the movie and one for the extras) and a blu-ray with movie and extras. Odd thing, the review copy I got was missing the DVD for the extras though. You can buy it here on Funimation’s site!


Reverse Cover Art (far right)

Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.85:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 English Dolby TrueHD, 5.1 Japanese Dolby TrueHD—English subs only

Extras included . . .

  • The Making Of Origin (51:37)
  • Screening Event Special Preview (3:57)
  • Textless Songs (Opening: 2:48/Closing: 7:10)
  • Coming Attractions
  • Theater Previews
  • TV Spots

 

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About Shawn Francis

Movie collector and horror writer.
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