Origin: Spirits of the Past

I just finished watching this really good anime called “Origin: Spirits of the Past.” It was a beautiful anime, with incredible art, colors, and special affects, but it had an all-too-familiar plotline. Well, not the plot in itself, but the whole theme. All the same, I strongly, strongly recommend this.

When you watch this, there are quite a few things that you need to understand. Take, for instance, the beginning: it’s a bit confusing, but it is fascinating enough in itself that you ignore your confusion and let the movie guide you through, understanding as you travel along. I would just like to make a few notes on this.

The plotline is as such: 300 years from now, we encounter a dystopian Japan. (Dystopian, for those of you who don’t like vocab, means “a society in which the conditions of human life are miserable, characterized by human misery, poverty, opression, violence, disease, and/or pollution. Opposite of utopia, more widely known as “the ideal society.”) Everything is in ruins and plants, not humans, are the dominant race– they have colonized humans to be under their control, going as far as to killing humans and controlling their water supply. We arrive in Neutral City, which is a city that was built by three surviving humans who decided to coexist with the forest to live in peace. However, nearby is Ragna, a military city that is basically a huge weapons plant that is designed to destroy the malevolent forest.

How did the forest, where we used to find peace, become the evil danger to humans that it is in the future? The answer is such: extensive genetic engineering on trees, conducted on a research facility on the moon, in order to produce trees that could grow and flourish in hard, arrid conditions.

However, something went tragically amiss: the trees became conscious, after their growth rate was impatiently attempted to be sped up. The trees spread to earth in a fiery holocaust, creating an apocalypse and wiping out most of human civilization and, in addition, blowing a hole in the moon. We no longer have a moon that changes cycles to full, quarter, half, crescent, etc., we have a moon which appears to always be full, but is missing a huge chunk.

Now, the movie begins by explaining what happened, but we don’t really understand that yet. We see Earth, and we see the moon with trees growing off of it at an alarmingly fast rate, then spreading toward Earth. As they do, they begin to form in the shape of beasts, an almost dragon-like animal with red eyes, created from interwoven trees.

We begin to see explosions as pieces of the moon and the trees dive into the Earth– and for a moment, we see a young girl also. Her head snaps up and her hair, a strange lavender color, flies about her face, but we only see one eye, which looks terrified and filled with fear. This is confusing and took me watching the movie twice to understand: this young woman is the “forest.” The young woman eventually splits in two, which we discover later, as two seperate and at the same time joined girls. One of them has orange-blond hair and has only her right eye visible, which is a deep red, and speaks in a husky, scratchy voice that suggets bitterness and even hostility. The other girl has chestnut hair and has her left eye visible, which is violet. She speaks in a high, girlish voice that is full of anxiousness and vulnerability. They represent, speak for the forest, dictating to the humans in Neutral City the forest’s feelings.

Enter Agito– a normal boy living a normal life. He and his best friend Cain, while trying to steal some water from the city’s water hole, are caught by the Druids– another confusing aspect. Druids are the forest’s soldiers– half human, half plant.

Agito escapes and accidentally encounters a cyrotank grave underground. The only one that is still working and hasn’t killed the human inside holds a young girl named Toola, who is frozen in suspended animation, tears halted as they were still running down her cheeks.

Agito awakens her and discovers that she has been asleep for 300 years and was saved from the apocalypse, stuck in her cyrotank. He takes her back to the city and she is stunned to see that the old Japanese city she used to live in is reduced to feeble ruins that people have only patched together to make necessary buildings and shelters.

Toola is taken to meet Yulga, an “Enhanced” elder who allows her to stay. An Enhanced is someone who agrees to help the forest, and in return the forest allows that person to use their power. This gives the person super strength, power, speed, reflexes, and senses– and the ability to call on nature to transform themselves into trees, or at least parts of them. What sets an Enhanced apart from others is their silver hair, a color unique to only an Enhanced. There are only four known Enhanced humans, three of which were the founders of Neutral City. The last one is Shunack, who became the leader of the Ragnas.

Toola begins to adjust to life slightly, but she lingers in the past, which disturbs the forest greatly. The two spirit girls are distressed and tell Yulga that she needs to surrender Toola to the forest to kill her, as she is a danger. Why is Toola dangerous? The device around her neck, which looks like a necklace, is actually a Raban, which is an electronic that holds the information to destroy the earth in an instant, and at the same time, rebuild it as it was 300 years before.

Toola eventually gives in to her past life and joins Shunack, who was also encased in a cyrotank and is from the past. She plans to rebuild the Earth so she can go back to the life she wasliving, and also give Agito a new chance at life– where people rule and not plants.

However, she is being decieved, and it’s up to Agito to help her see the truth. And the only wat he can do that is to become an Enhanced and chase her down before it’s too late– for all of them.


This is the English movie preview. The dub, I found, was as good as the Japanese. I really liked the music– it was frenzy and mysterious at the same time, and had such a unique style to it. In the preview you see a lot about what I was talking about.



4 Responses to “Origin: Spirits of the Past”

  1. Sarah, I like this. At first I thought it sounded kinda lame, you know. Dystopian society, isn’t that in like, every anime? Then you started talking about the ‘Enhanced’ or whatever, and I was intrigued. Toola also intrigued me. It might have been the frozen tears down her cheeks, or maybe because she was sort of 300 years old. Overall, you did a very good job of summarizing the film.

    • Exactly– it took an overused idea and put a new spin on it, y’know? Anyway, Toola also did something interesting. While asleep in her cyrotank, she was crying, reaching upward slightly, and her mouth was open like she was going to say something before she was frozen.
      When Agito woke her, she reached up and screamed in this agonized, hysterical voice, “DON’T LEAVE ME HERE BY MYSELF! NOOOOOOO!”
      Also, the two girls who represent the forest…they’re kind of cool. They were, like, creep-tacular. You’ll know when you come across them.
      Did you notice in the preview the girl whose head jerked up as the world exploded around her? That was the forest– humanized.

  2. You know, as long as that was, it wasn’t as long as your other summary. It sounds like an incredibly intense/mysterious anime, and something I might check out… maybe. It seems a bit too sci-fi-ish for me. But I’ll give it a shot, just cause you never actually pick anything bad to watch. ^-^

  3. Hey, wonderful blog you have here! Keep up the good job!

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