There are many things in this world that are beautiful but undiscovered by most. ‘Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms’ is one of them. With a very mellow art style and a pacifying soundtrack, Maquia presents to us a story about motherhood and what it means to love.
The movie begins by introducing a community of beings who resemble humans but are actually the “Iorph”. They live longer and age much slower than regular people. The Iorph are detached from most of humanity, living singularly within their own kind. Weaving cloth that express their sentiments and experiences, they pass each day in monotone. Among the Iorph is a girl named Maquia, the titular character. Timid but kind, Maquia is often teased by her friends for being too soft. The rest of the Iorph seem to have families, but Maquia is an orphan and therefore lives with the community Elder. Seeing her become full of grief that she has nobody to go home to, the Elder warns her that she must refrain from loving someone from the outside. The Elder explains that if she loves somebody then she will truly be alone in the world.
Before the days are able to pass, the neighboring kingdom of Mezarte invade. The Mezarte take over the Iorphans, killing most of them. As Maquia miraculously escapes into the outer world, she encounters an orphaned baby boy in the arms of his dead mother. Despite the Elder’s previous warnings about interacting with outsiders, Maquia decides to adopt the boy.
The story continues following the lives of Maquia and her adopted son, Ariel. They move from town to town, fabricating their identities and relationships with each other. The movie has a very unique take on the idea of young motherhood. Maquia herself is just 15 years old when she takes in baby Ariel. She painstakingly learns how to love and care for someone. Similarly, Ariel also fights his own battles trying to figure out who or what Maquia means to him and what his significance in this world is.
There is a stark contrast between the character development of Maquia and Ariel. Maquia’s development is much slower than Ariel’s. Whether deliberate on the creator’s choice or purely a coincidence, it gets the aging differences between the Iorphians and humans across. But even if it’s slow, almost all the main characters in the movie go through substantial changes, either for the better or for worse.
Fixing somebody else when you yourself are broken is not easy. Although the Elder warns Maquia not to love an outsider, she does so anyway. But regardless of how she may feel at the end, Maquia braves her way into life and does whatever she can for Ariel. Thus, she makes him her first priority. Even though as an Iorph, she will live past human Ariel, she gives him all the love for as long as she can. The movie is crafted beautifully. Although it presents morose ideas, it exhibits them in a very sublime way.
Both the art style and music go along with the mellow themes of the movie. They both have a subtle but distinct feel to them. It’s a gentle movie, you can guess what will happen. But you won’t be able to change how you’re supposed to feel about it.
“Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms” is an outstanding piece of art and deserves much more recognition. If you have not watched it already, you should give it a go. It’s not just an anime about relationships and hard times, it’s a lesson about the strength of vulnerability.