Many years ago, I remember watching an interesting short film on YouTube. It was called Aquatic Language. It did not make any bit of sense to me, but it did introduce me to what would become one of my favorite directors: Yasuhiro Yoshiura.
My favorite aspect of Aquatic Language was Yoshiura’s skillful usage of mixing traditional animation with 21st century 3D modeling techniques. It was present in Aquatic Language and he would use it even more in Time of Eve. In my experience, the blending of traditional animation with 3D modeling is a hit-or-miss; I thought it was well-done in Zipang, but when I watch Code Geass: Akito the Exiled I want to vomit. In both films, Yasuhiro blends them together in such a way that lets me enjoy the movie undisturbed. They do not look perfectly blended together, but it is easy on the eyes.
Patema Inverted would be Yasuhiro’s first full-length feature film (Time of EVE was originally an original net animation (ONA), and was broadcasted on the internet in 6 episodes; it was later made into a movie format and released in theater). The story of the movie was originally explored in two media formats: a series of animated shorts and a manga.
In short, the animated shorts are about a girl named Patema, who lives underground in a community of other humans. She enjoys exploring the underground tunnels, and what seems to be the vestiges of a much larger–and long gone–human society with great industrial power. She is forbidden by her elders to explore, however, and we quickly learn why when she is attacked by a humanoid (face is concealed) that is… walking on the ceiling.
After being attacked, Patema falls down a giant hole that takes her to the surface of the “Earth.” Interestingly, she continues to fall upwards, into the sky, until she gets caught on a fence. If you do not understand what I am saying, then simply look at the movie poster above; Patema is falling upwards.
I have read interpretations about this story. One of the more likely ones, was that this is like Alice in Wonderland; that instead of falling into the rabbit hole, the protagonist falls out of it. A humorous analogy, but there is not much less to suggest that Patema Inverted takes any inspiration from Alice in Wonderland, as far as I can see.
The animated shorts explained, what I would assume is, is the beginning of the movie; that is, how Patema got to the surface of the “Earth.” The manga, on the other hand, explores the human society that Patema lives in and the history of it. Unfortunately, the translation of the manga was halted by the original translation group that picked it up. As far as I know, the entire manga remains untranslated into English.
Both the shorts and the manga hinted at a much bigger story, which I assume the movie will explore.