Follow TV Tropes


Anime / Patema Inverted

Go To
They turn each other's worlds upside-down.

Patema Inverted (Sakasama no Patema) was originally a four-episode OVA series by Yasuhiro Yoshiura, the same man who directed Time of Eve, which was adapted into a film in 2013.

In a dark, cramped, underground world of endless tunnels and shafts, people wear protective suits and live out their modest, hard, and yet happy lives. The princess of the underground community, Patema, goes out exploring as always, inspired by her curiosity of the unknown depths of the world. Her favorite spot is the "danger zone", an area forbidden by the "rule" of the community that houses an impossibly deep pit. Despite being frequently chastised by her caretaker Jii, she cannot hold back her curiosity for the reason behind the rule, because no one would tell her what the "danger" was. When she approaches the hidden "secret", the story begins.

When Patema falls into the pit inside of the danger zone, she finds that she falls into a world nothing like her own, where the sky is not a roof, but a boundless sea of blue. Not only that, if Patema is not careful, she can fall off of the planet and into the stratosphere. However, by working together with a young boy named Age from this strange "surface world," not only does she learn how to survive, she learns that together, they can fly!

However, things become even further complicated later on, as Patema and Age soon discover a dark conspiracy, the members of which are determined to return Patema to the underground and silence all those who know of her home.

Patema Inverted provides examples of:

  • After the End: Long before the film takes place, people launched an experiment using the power of gravity that nearly destroyed the world. According to the history books, the "sinners" responsible for doing so were devoured by the sky.
  • Alien Sky: Patema never in her life saw open sky and the sole concept of it is frightening to no end, as she seems to be "falling" up, with no stable surface to stand on. Then there is the real sky, where all the debris from the failed experiment created a ring around the moon.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Subverted. The Aigans are being conditioned by their government to conform to their societal norms and to not think for themselves, or question those in authority. Simply being caught looking at the sky earns them 3 demerits since, according their government, that's the direction of "sinners". Any student who deviates in any way is labelled a "deviant" and placed under strict watch.
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: About 2/3 into the film, Patema and Age/Eiji get swallowed up into the sky, seemingly to their deaths. It's only then that they realize that the "sky" is really the underside of an abandoned facility. It illuminates during the night, while they're stranded there, revealing that the "stars" had only been lights. At first, this provides a Mind Screw of how exactly the world is operating with all the gravitational mishmash, before leading to The Reveal in the end.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The inverted-gravity people and objects are explained by some sort of science experiment gone wrong, but even allowing for that, gravity behaves strangely. When Patema and Age hold onto each other, they sometimes fall at a normal acceleration, but can jump higher because their total weight is low. (This is the "realistic" option if nothing else weird is happening.) Other times they fall extremely slowly, as if their terminal velocity is reduced to that of a feather. Which one applies depends on which one is needed for dramatic effect.
  • Bat People: Porta claims that the danger area is haunted by bat people, which is somewhat true. The Aiga's State Sec wears clothes and masks that does make them look like bats, especially since they walk on what's ceiling for Patema.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: The story flat-out portrays Izamura as a dangerous fanatic blinded by his belief to anything that goes against scriptures, while the religion in question harbors irrational hatred towards other people. It gets an ironic twist in the end when Aigans are revealed as the inverted ones.
  • Big Bad: Izamura is the leader of the Aiga society, with maniacal drive to root out "sinners", all while abusing his power in every single step.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: There are surveillance cameras set everywhere in Aiga, with a strict system of indoctrination and control. Any form of going against the regulations — such as looking up — marks citizens as "deviants" on a way to become "sinners".
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Izamura, all the way. The man is equal parts dictator and evil cult leader. He has schools display a giant screen of his face explaining propaganda to the future citizens of his society. He has an army dressed entirely in black leather belts with capes and, of course, gas masks with red lenses. He habitually steeples his fingers and smiles manically whenever he thinks about hunting Inverts. Oh yes, and he takes time out of his day to visit a kid who discovered an Invert for the sole purpose of stealing his chair, telling him to forget what he saw, threatening him with the same fate that befell his father, and finishes things off with grinding his boot into the back of the kid's head.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: It's clear from the start that unlucky Porta is nursing a crush on Patema. Sadly, he misses out on the adventure and loses what could've been his chance to get closer to her. She winds up together with Age by the end of the film.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • One of the most subtle and clever instances of it. Patema isn't "inverted", Age is.
    • Averted in the versions of the cover that are flipped. Though that's another trope altogether.
    • And yet subtly averted. The horizon and clouds hint at the curvature of Age's world.
  • Dead All Along: Patema dreamt of being able to explore the surface world with Lagos, ever since she was a child. She last saw him as he was preparing to set off on another journey. When she finally makes to the surface, years later, she finds out that Lagos had been captured by the Aigans and killed.
  • Dead Guy on Display: She learns what became of Lagos shortly after being captured by the Aigans. Izamura shows her Lagos' dead body preserved in a glass stasis chamber to both taunt her and instill fear in her.
  • Disney Death: Porta seemingly dies falling during the climax trying to save Patema from Izamura, but it turns out Jaku saved him.
  • Disney Villain Death: Somewhat inevitable, given the setting. Izamura, the dictator of Age's people, "falls" upwards into the sky as part of The Reveal that they're the true inverted ones.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The government leader Izamura's obsession with Patema, his plan to use Stockholm Syndrome to make her obedient to him, and utter rage at being "rejected" by her in favor of Age have some unsettling Pedophile Priest undertones.
  • The Dragon: Jaku/Jack is a loyal right hand of Izamura, carrying out all the physical tasks and closely monitoring everything.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: Izamura's regime is built on a lie: that the Aigans are normal and pure while the inverted are sinful. They will kill to keep this secret.
  • Esperanto, the Universal Language: The song played during the end credits is in Esperanto, sung by the French singer Estelle Micheau.
  • Faceless Mooks: As it turns out, Bat Men are not only real, but also State Sec of Aiga. Not a single one of them is shown without wearing the protective gas mask with red lenses.
  • Fantastic Racism: The government agents after Patema refer to her as a monster and Izamura even wants to hunt down and kill her people. Aiga's religion outright declares all inverts to be non-human creatures, only taking the humanoid guise to tempt true believers into their sinister ways.
  • A Father to His Men: Rather than pointlessly trying to fight "Inverts", Jaku without hesitation goes against the orders and saves his soldiers from falling down the shaft. Izamura completely loses it and tries to shoot his own dragon.
  • Future Imperfect: Unspecified time has passed since 2067 (the year of the failed experiment), implied to be entire generations. Nobody any longer has any knowledge of what exactly happened. This includes who really is inverted, why Patema's people live underground and why Aigans are banned from flying.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Not only is Izamura the only character shown to carry an actual weapon, it's a Walther P38 pistol. Gold-plated one.
  • Government Conspiracy: Age's world isn't ours. Schools have apparently taught the same things for years, and a lot of the curriculum is just propaganda (e.g. on who's really inverted). Some of the top brass in the military and government are also aware of the underground world, which is kept secret from everyone else.
  • Gratuitous Princess: Patema is a princess. Though the fact that she's a princess is sort of glossed over in the movie itself, only mentioned half-jokingly when Age complains that she's acting like one.
  • Happy Flashback: When Age finds his father's notebook, he finds it contains a detailed account of how he met and befriended Lagos. Which is shown via a montage sequence of the time they spent together working on their flying machine, so they could explore the mysteries of the sky together. The final entry is a scribbled note, summing up their elation: "We are alive."
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jaku/Jack rebels against Izamura, so he could atone for his role in Izamura's murder of Age's father and the arrest of Lagos, Patema's older-brother-figure.
  • Irony: "The sinners shall be devoured by the sky!" It turns out that the entire story takes place inside the Earth. The "inverted" people were meant to watch over those even deeper on the inside, who are the actual inverted ones. In the end, the Big Bad dies by way of being sucked into the heavens.
  • Just Following Orders: Entire society of Aiga is indoctrinated into this, which would explain how they could ever consider following someone like Izamura. Jaku, his very Dragon, eventually decides to do what's right rather than just taking orders and is wise enough to pretend he's still loyal.
  • Karmic Death: Izamura, the biggest oppressor of the supposedly inverted ones, dies by "falling" into the sky due to him and his people being the real "inverted" ones. As a bonus, the flying machine built by Age's father (whom Izamura murdered) smashes into him on the way down... er, up.
  • Make an Example of Them: Izamura put Lagos' dead body in a stasis chamber, still moving against gravity, making him a proof of the inverted still being around and endangering Aiga.
  • Meet Cute: Highlighted by the official trailer, which shows Patema and Age first meet each other while she's climbing the fence upside-down to retrieve her knapsack.
    Age: [in disbelief] Are you... inverted?
  • Mind Screw: If you lived your whole life with gravity being a certain direction, then wouldn't the opposite seem inverted to you? As it turns out, it's the Aigans who are really inverted.
  • Oh, Crap!: Age and Porta when during their infiltration of the Administration Tower, they barely manage to dodge a security camera by contorting just out of its field of view, only to realize that the Sinister Surveillance system has dozens of cameras about to turn on them.
  • Ordinary Highschool Student: A rare instance where the character in question is exactly that: ordinary. Age has no hidden powers or secret lineage, and remains that way throughout the film. The only thing that makes him different is that his father was obsessed with exploring the sky due to having encountered Lagos.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Aiga's religion considers even looking up in the sky to be a sin and deviation, while also forbidding flying on the grounds of being "the sinner's way". Turns out the real reason is because the "sky" is just a massive backdrop, but due to Future Imperfect, not even top brass knows about this anymore.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Jaku doesn't share his boss' obsessions nor fanaticism and simply follows orders, because that's his job and the alternative is being branded a sinner. He does, however, have second thoughts when Izamura starts tormenting a harmless child and eventually grows tired of being a heartless cog in the Aiga's State Sec.
  • Rebellious Princess: Patema's grandfather repeatedly admonishes her about playing around the "Danger Zone" and chastises her for it, whenever she disobeys him. It doesn't stop her from going back each time.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The security forces wear face-concealing masks with red lenses. Averted with Patema herself, however.
  • Religion of Evil: Izamura's cult calls the "inverted" ones collectively sinners worthy of persecution and denies they are even human to begin with.
  • The Reveal: Two:
    • When Age and Patema get sucked into the sky thanks to Patema's ankle being weighted, they discover that the "sky" is actually a complex machine designed to emulate a realistic sky. This ties into the next reveal.
    • When they in turn reach the very bottom of the danger zone, the "floor" is cracked and revealed to be a ceiling, thus showing that it's the Aigans that are inverted while Patema's people are facing the right way. They are the descendants of the scientists, who, through their gravity experiment, caused the disaster and were looking out for Age's people as an atonement for "inverting" them. Both populations forgot that (although it is at the very least possible, that the village elder and Jii knew) and the regime governing Age's people started to oppress Patema's people in a show of great ingratitude.
  • Rewatch Bonus: There are countless tiny hints all over the whole film pointing out who really is inverted. The Aiga's religious ban to not look in the sky and forbidding people from flying makes much more sense after The Reveal.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: In the final scene, Age asks Patema to take him with her to explore the ruins of the surface world. Which is strewn with collapsed skyscrapers that have been overgrown with vines, set beneath an Alien Sky.
  • Sadistic Choice: During the climax, Izamura shoots Age in the thigh, causing him not only tremendous pain, but deliberately aiming for femoral artery. The boy now has a choice: let Patema go to cover his own wound, or bleed to death, which will lead to Patema's fall anyway.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: The very reason Izamura dies comes from insanity overriding his very self-preservation. Rather than getting to safety, he continues to torment Age and tries to pointlessly kill Patema. All while not only being trapped in a shaft waaaaay below Aiga, but also being one step away from falling into the real sky.
  • Sanity Slippage: Izamura eventually completely loses to his fanaticism, to the point where he no longer can properly evaluate the situation around him or such "minor" inconveniences like numerical inferiority or direct danger to his own life.
  • Scenery Porn: The ENTIRE FILM is rife with scenic backdrops and dramatic lighting; including the underground city where Patema lives and the ceiling structure above the clouds, when she and Age get pulled into the "sky".
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Jaku eventually starts to question Izamura's pointless fanaticism, but keeps it for himself. The first indication of this happens when he fires a net toward escaping Patema and Eiji, but rather than capturing them, he provides them with additional thrust, making their escape leap possible.
  • Secret Police: The Aigan regime doesn't just make sure its people obey the rules, it makes sure they don't get too curious.
  • Sinister Minister: Izamura's reign has clear religious overtones, as he's the only member of the Aigan government to dress in clerical robes and spreads the propaganda of the "inverted" ones being sinners, who were and are punished for causing "the incident" years ago. But he's also an exaggeration, in that he's so Obviously Evil it's hard to believe anyone could ever seriously consider his intentions or actions to be just.
  • Sinister Surveillance: The Aigan government has an extensive network of surveillance cameras everywhere — from their government offices to Age's school. And those are the ones you can see, as it's later revealed that they have hidden ones monitoring the surrounding area outdoors. Which is how Izamura finds out what Age had been hiding.
  • Slasher Smile: The expression Izamura has for roughtly half the time.
  • Spoiler Cover: The cover where Patema is right side up and Age being upside down is a suitable hint.
  • Steampunk: While the Aigan surface world is idyllic, the underground city where Patema lives is rustic and set deep in what appears to be an abandoned facility.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: When Izamura kidnaps Patema, Age and Porta reluctantly team up to save her. The two clearly both care greatly for Patema, so they're not exactly thrilled to be working together, but they do so nonetheless.
  • Villainous Crush: Izamura towards Patema, which is creepy by itself without him trying to break her will by scaring her into thinking only he can protect her.
  • Voodoo Shark: The final reveal requires that, after a disaster, society spent enormous effort to create the illusion that a vast underground cavern is the surface and build a larger underground complex and then everyone (except possibly a few leaders) forgot about the basic situation, which affects almost everything they do.
  • Weird Moon: The moon has a ring of orbital debris, likely from the gravity experiment.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Shortly after Patema is captured by the Aigans, Izamura interrogates Age about his involvement with her. When Age fails to respond, Jack kicks Age out of his chair then pins him on the floor and restrains him with an armbar, which seems to briefly snap him out of it. Izamura picks up Age's chair and sits in it himself so he can resume questioning him, while also mocking his attempt to keep Patema hidden from him, by telling him she was now in his custody. When Age dares look him in the eye, Izamura loses it and forces Age's face back down on the floor by stepping on the back of his head and verbally lashes out at him about his father, before issuing a final warning to not defy him further. They leave Age lying on the floor in catatonic shock.
  • You Killed My Father: To everyone present at the time, it appeared Age's father lost his balance and fell to his death, at the start of his maiden voyage into the sky. But when Jaku has a flashback of the event, he views the flying machine through a sniper scope, with Izamura standing right next to him.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Sakasama No Patema


Patema's Memorial

Since the last Porta saw of Patema and Age, was them falling into the sky, everybody assumed they were dead. Cue their return.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / AttendingYourOwnFuneral

Media sources: