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Mari Okada is one of the most prominent — and prolific — writers in anime today. A native of Chichibu, Saitama, she’s perhaps best known for penning a pair of deeply personal titles that take place there, “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day” (2011) and “The Anthem of the Heart” (2015). But Okada has contributed to a range of genres, from sci-fi to horror to live-action. What ties these seemingly disparate works together is her interest in people who have been, in some way, emotionally damaged, and the way these people ultimately (re)form human connections.

“Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms,” which marks Okada’s directorial debut, is no exception. The fantasy film, which she also wrote, is the tale of titular Maquia (Manaka Iwami), a member of an elf-like race who live for hundreds of years while maintaining a youthful appearance. Her clan, expert weavers, live in peace on an isolated island, and Maquia enjoys the company of many friends, though it is revealed she is an orphan.

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