The story begins with Maquia, who is from a family where all the members stop aging in their mid teens. She has no parents and, although her days are peaceful, she feels lonely. Their peace is shattered when an army invades, seeking the secret to her people’s immortality. Leilia, the most beautiful girl in her clan, is taken away, and the boy Maquia has secret feelings for disappears. Maquia is able to escape, but she loses her friends and her home. Wandering alone in the forest, she finds Erial, a baby boy who has lost his parents. The story follows the changing relationship between the two as Erial grows up and Maquia does not.
My friend recommended that I watch Maquia. She attended this year’s Anime Expo, and had the opportunity to see the movie. It came out in my local theater, and it blew me away. Maquia is set in a fantasy past, filled with immortals and dragons from mythology. Maquia belongs to a clan that never ages, and for that, a neighboring kingdom targets her village in order to establish dominance over the world.
Maquia is separated from her people, and faces the world on her own until she stumbles upon a young baby. Maquia adopts the baby, despite her having a different lifespan from humans. Essentially, the main theme of this movie revolves around motherhood. Maquia is a young girl, who is introduced as alone, and you can guess that she was an orphaned in her village. With baby Ariel, Maquia blends into the society, but she could never stay in one spot. She has no permanent home, and this is a problem especially as Ariel grows older.
This movie is emotionally driven, you know that Maquia will outlive her son, but as a movie goer, I had hope for a more positive ending. Maquia made me cry. The ending was extremely sad, but the movie was just so good. Though the tale is about Maquia and her experiences of motherhood, there is a complex political struggle happening in the background. Maquia and her people were sought to out due to their immortality. Her people were prized by a kingdom that tried to establish a hegemony over their society. Maquia is connected to the politics, due to her friendship with the queen. This movie establishes how much a mother is willing to go for her child.
Ariel was provided a happy childhood, and experience. As he grew into a teenager and adult, he has conflicting feelings for Maquia. The child version of Ariel is devoted to his mother, and willing to please her. Maquia tries to keep a normal childhood for her son, though people regard her as strange. There is a point in the movie when Ariel’s friends make fun of him for liking his mom. The teen version of Ariel suffers with conflicting feelings over Maquia. Ariel loves his mother, and is conflicted because they appear to be the same age outwardly. In his teenage years, he suffers a identity crisis because Maquia is viewed as his sister, and he has no means of protecting her.
I really wanted a relationship to be established between Maquia and Lang. There were a couple events in the movie that would have allowed for a romantic relationship for Maquia. This movie is not about romance, but a love that is pure and kind, and endless: Motherhood. Maquia loved Ariel as her son, no matter what happened to her. She devoted her life to raising her child, and that makes this story beautiful and unique, and well worth your time.
Maquia is a beautiful story, and you will find yourself in tears by the end. It is worth it to see! The animation and music are beautiful. I had no idea that Mari Okada directed this! It was wonderful. I’ve seen her other works like Anohana.
Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐