Note: Spoiler warning for Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
It’s been a couple months since that fateful day in August when I had the opportunity to watch Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms on my flight back from Japan. I remember sitting for a long while as the credits rolled thinking about just how resonant the film was to me but also not really being able to point precisely to why. At the time, I attributed it to the tiredness that came with being on a long-haul flight but in the months that passed since then, I still hadn’t really been able to nail down the reasons for my feelings. That is, until now.
Although I still haven’t gotten a chance to re-watch the movie, it’s perhaps because of this familial time of year and having the opportunity think about my relationship with some of the other series that affected me this year through these 12 days posts, that I’m finally able to put my feelings to words. And as it turns out, the reasons for my feelings were certainly nothing new.
Maquia, at its core, is a story about a girl discovering what it means to be a mother. It’s a film that explores the many facets of motherhood through a multitude of lenses and characters, from the mothers in Maquia, Leilia, Dita, and Mido, to the children in Ariel, Lang, Deol, and Medmel. As a person hasn’t experienced parenthood of any kind before, it was really through the lens of the latter that I saw this film, and so naturally, Ariel’s perspective was an easily understandable one.
The transition from the incessant and unstoppable compassion of childhood to the awkward and infrequent reciprocation of familial love in the teens was one that I had certainly gone through and it was through this relatability that endeared me to Ariel so much. And so when the time came for Maquia to take her leave from his life, the words he spoke to his mother struck me to my very core.
“You taught me everything.”
“The feeling of loving someone.”
These were the words that kept with me through the remainder of the film, the moments of quiet contemplation after, and in the months that passed since then. For Ariel, Maquia was his mother, his teacher, his guardian, and the most important person in his life. The many parts that made up the person known as Ariel came from his relationship with his mother, and the same could be said about Maquia. She learned what it meant to love and lose, how it felt to have to a person that she would sacrifice everything for, and what it would take to be able to protect the things she held dear.
This idea of understanding of things that make up us is what really rang true for me in the film. It’s through our relationships with the important people in our lives that molds our mannerisms, our odd habits, our understanding of ourselves and the world, and our capacity for kindness and empathy. We’re given a lot, and it’s what we do with it that’s the most important.
For Ariel, this was the moment that he needed to put these feelings to words. To thank his mother for everything that he had been given. And more than anything else, to remind her that she truly was, in every possible way, his mother.
I’ve realized that this idea is one that I’ve touched on a lot in these 12 days posts, only extended to the pieces of ourselves that come from the series that we watch. It’s become an important thing, for me, to understand, preserve, and most of all, vocalize the feelings of resonance that I get out of the shows that I love – Maquia included, of course. It’s a thank you, of sorts, to the creators that have made something that has become a part of me. As well as an invitation to everyone reading to write lovingly about the things that have affected them.
Some of this post came from a call to action from Bless’ excellent Maquia piece, and I’d like to extend this with one of my own. If you’ve ever felt the same kind of resonance from a film, series, or even just the people in your lives, speak out, vocalize it – make permanent the ephemeral feelings that come with the important moments that pass far too quickly in our lives.
Maybe you’ll get something out of it in the same way I did.
Thanks for reading,
This is the eleventh of twelve posts that I’ll be publishing as part of the 12 days of Anime event. Be sure to check out all other amazing writers that are participating in this year’s event here.