Deconstructing “Origin: Spirits of the Past”

Origin: Spirits of the Past cover

Origin: Spirits of the Past is an anime movie that came out in 2006 which, while not focusing as heavily as it could on this aspect, gives commentary on the relationship between man, machine, and wilderness. At the start of the movie, we see that humanity has been replaced as the dominant, intelligent species–its replacement? Plants. Nature has taken over after a genetic engineering experiment gone wrong. The trees gain consciousness, after which they wipe out human civilization. The future is hard-pressed, and the water supply for humanity is controlled by the forest life.

Origin: Spirits of the Past

Two branch off groups of humans exist in the world, with two cities–the pacifistic Neutral City, and the militaristic state of Ragna. Neutral City exists solely of people that attempt to gain the forest as an ally, increasing the water supply and establishing peace with the forces of nature. These people exist in a state that can be considered “one” with the wilderness. Certain people within the city even undergo a process where they essentially walk into the forest, talk with its sentient plantlife, and become “enhanced;” meaning they gain powers from the forest in exchange for a part of their humanity. They are wild and untamed compared to the Ragna, who exist to overthrow (or even destroy) nature, and exist as far away from it as possible (the city is located in the desert and made mostly of metal). Ragna focuses on the manufacturing of synthetic components, industrial machinery, and weaponry.

Without getting too indepth, the story reaches a point where the mechanical- and the natural-aligned humans must war for the future of humanity. Should they return to their mechanically-oriented life of the past, or continue on the road of coalescence with nature?

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One thought on “Deconstructing “Origin: Spirits of the Past”

  1. No, we would like you to be more in depth when you synthesize ideas. This is a good connection, yet it’s entirely clear how these issues of wildness and being tame/untame relate to the national parks writ large.

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