‘Maboroshi’ Explained: Frozen In Time, Thawed By Love

Maboroshi Poster


Mappa Studio doesn’t seem to take any rest after the end of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 because they are back with a new original movie called ‘Maboroshi’. This supernatural romance movie is great. The lore, the story, and the whole idea is fresh and feels so unprecedented. 

The movie might be confusing for some, and we’re here to explain it. We will be discussing and explaining the end of the movie, which includes the spoilers. If you’re wondering if the movie is worth seeing, the answer is yes. Go watch it on Netflix now, and get back here when you’re done. With that, let’s get back to the explanation of the movie.

Frozen In Time…

Maboroshi - A town trapped in time
A town trapped in time

In a small town, an explosion happened in the steel factory. Since then, the entire town has been trapped in time. Reliving the same day over and over again. People don’t age, students never graduate, and no one gets old. 

The elderly speculates that the gods are mad. They have been mining iron from the gods’ mountain for so long, that the gods decided to trap them in time. No one should ever change, and… experience heartbreaks. 

Those who are sad and heartbroken, will be decimated by mysterious creatures called cloud wolves.

The Feral Girl

Maboroshi - Itsumi, a teenager with a mind of a five-year-old kid
Itsumi, a teenager with a mind of a five-year-old kid

Even with a complex lore, the movie still manages to keep the story grounded and revolves around the romantic tension between two main characters, Masamune and Atsumi. 

Masamune and Atsumi agree to take care of a feral girl, who is the only person in the town who could grow up. Her mind, however, does not grow up as she still behaves like a five-year-old. The feral girl is named Itsumi.

As the story goes on, it is revealed that the town and everyone in it is an illusion. Merely a pocket dimension hidden in the real world. What’s more confusing is that Itsumi’s emotions affect the town. If Itsumi is sad, the town’s fabric of reality will literally collapse. 

And that explains the ‘evil plan’ of the elderly of the town. That’s why they want Itsumi to be locked forever. If Itsumi never interacted with anyone, she’d never have experienced anything, including heartbreak.

As the story goes on, it is revealed that Itsumi is actually the daughter of Masamune and Atsumi from the real world. Itsumi got lost in the town when she was a five-year-old kid. 

… Thawed by Love

Maboroshi - At the end of the movie
At the end of the movie

And that leads to the climatic scene that completely pays off everything the movie has been leading up too. Masamune and Atsumi’s mission in the final act is to send Itsumi back in the real world before reality collapses, while trying to avoid the elderly from catching her.

The culmination moments are phenomenal. Touching music, the beautiful visuals and the fluidity of the animation are all incredible!

The chase scenes that take place in trains and vans in a collapsing reality are both thrilling and spectacular. 

And the part where Atsumi says goodbye to her future daughter is heartwarming as well. The point is the ending is perfect and sums up everything. 


Maboroshi - Mappa’s first original movie
Mappa’s first original movie

Even with a complex lore, Mappa manages to root love as the center of the story. It is apparent that the theme of the movie is to embrace changes and to take risks. With a beautiful original movie like this, Mappa is heading in the right direction in rivaling Studio Ghibli in the future (if their animators are still capable of working by then). 

With that, we end this entry by ranking this movie 9.5 out of 10!


  • Muzhameer Putra

    Student by day, writer by night. If it's cinematic, I'll get it right. I'm a big fan of superheroes, cinemas, science, and history. But most of all, I just love good stories.

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