I have never had an experience where a movie gave me motion sickness until I watched Patema Inverted / Sakasama no Patema (2013). At least, not that I recall, anyway. Not saying that everyone who watches this might have the same experience—in fact, from reading several reviews, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else complain about the same issue.
For some reason, I think my brain just had a difficult time processing watching one character (or world) constantly being upside-down while the other was always right-side up.
Sometimes Japanese animations confuse me, and this definitely fell under that category. Maybe it’s in part due to the fact that I don’t really understand Japanese (just select phrases here and there), but I also think that sometimes there’s just a lot missing. (Normally I’d go back and watch it again, to try and figure out what I might have missed, but I felt so sick after watching it the first time, I don’t think I’ll be doing it again.)
Here’s where the spoilers start, so if you don’t want to know them, don’t read this next section. There were two main parts of the story that confused me. First, was the whole subplot of Lagos. I was dissatisfied with how his story was “resolved.” He died, but they don’t really tell us how. His body was also preserved, but we’re also not really told why. (As a trophy, perhaps? I don’t know.) The other part I was confused about was after finding out that it was actually the citizens of Aiga who were the real inverts, it made me wonder how the people who weren’t inverted ended up believing that they were the inverted ones in the first place.
There were also so many opportunities to flesh out the story that I felt weren’t taken into consideration—or maybe they had, and just needed to cut them out due to time/budget constraints. Regardless, I thought it could have been nicer to see more of Lagos and Age’s father, and give them some more character development. I found that their untold stories were, in some ways, more intriguing to learn more about than watching Patema and Age’s story unfold.
Final Thoughts: If you have issues with motion sickness, you might want to stay away from this movie. Removing that factor, would I recommend this movie? My feelings on that are mixed. On the one hand, the animation is beautiful. On the other hand, I found the story was, at times, either incredibly frustrating or lacking in some fashion. I think I lean more towards recommending this as a rental than for the permanent collection.