(Yet another) Patema Inverted world interpretation

THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR, SUBSTANTIAL, JOY-KILLER SPOILERS FROM THE MOVIE.
IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED IT YET, THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO STOP READING.


Yes, it’s been quite a few years since Sakasama no Patema premiered but I only got to watch it this past week.
Great movie. Some interesting camera perspectives, likeable characters and a nice soundtrack.
Some acceleration mistakes aside and the silly cardboard antagonist, the movie is pretty solid on the Sci-Fi aspect and kudos for the team responsible for animating object/fluid physics.
Anyway, I guess by now it’s become pretty clear to everyone who were really the inverted ones.
…if you’re still wondering: Age’s people (the Aiga) were indeed the upside-down folk, while Patema’s were descendants from the scientists responsible for the disaster* who, after generations, somehow lost communication to both the outside world and the inverted people, therefore deciding it was better if their children and grandchildren didn’t know about the truth (a lie which was probably easy to tell since they are the ones living underground, not a very comfy place).

*“Long ago, there was a terrible accident. Many fell into the sky. Some were inverted, but escaped the fall, and buried themselves underground, abandoning the surface. The scientists who survived the accident felt guilty, and went underground with the inverted survivors to watch over them […] The chief’s will is quite the burden.”

Now here is where my interpretation differs from the many maps and diagrams around the web.
If you just Google “Patema Inverted map” or “Patema Inverted world” you’ll get something like this:
zCpdMBS.png

(Excuse my glorious drawing skills)
Which makes perfect sense and I’d agree fully with, if it wasn’t for some details shown through the movie that I find hard to ignore.
Maybe I’m wrong.
I’m probably wrong.
This is likely just another case where the art staff gets too carried away and draw some weird stuff that doesn’t belong there.
Whatever.

Strike one:
BWmKy3E.png
What is the point of having long range radio dishes underground? Furthermore what’s the point of having said radio dishes pointing to somewhere even bellow their current location?
As a matter of fact, these are radio telescopes, they are used to capture wavelengths traveling from extreme distances, why would someone put them underground, and even inverted?
One could argue they are leftovers from before the gravity experiment went sideways, but how could they be in such perfect conservation state, and how are they underground now? It’s not as if a whole chunk of land did a 180º backflip and those somehow ended up upside-down facing Earth’s core.

Strike two:
hvood3H.png
Explain this huge-ass moon. If they were simple standing on normal Earth surface on this scene, how can the moon be this huge?
Not only this thing has massive portions but it’s also 100% visible during daylight? How?
Once again, one could argue this was just an artistic effect for the closing scene but then what we make of all the other subtle details presented during the movie.
Notice also the thin clouds. Isn’t this characteristic of … high altitudes?
Remember the opening scene where we get a wide shot of the city? Notice that it’s located in a valley, surrounded by mountains. Now, in the final scene, when Patema and Age are looking at the ruins, no mountain can be seen on the horizon and the awkward scale of the buildings compared to them makes it feel like they are standing in some sort of platform.
VfU4WP1.png
RVwy5WN.png

Strike three:
asATbUY.png
If buildings, humans and even fluids such as water (illustrated by clouds) had “their gravitational pull inverted” why wouldn’t masses of land suffer from the same fate?
It’s logical to assume that, if buildings were being dragged out with their general structure still holding, the same could happen to a huge chunk of land.
If we speculate that the facility manipulating the gravitational field was underground, we can draw a radius around it and call it the region affected, namely, the entire town shown above. If this is true then what would be left on the Earth surface would be a huge crater and, floating some kilometers above it, an intact chunk of land.

See, this is were I was coming.
I believe that none of the scenes from the movie actually happens on the Earth surface -neither underneath- but rather on a large floating chunk. As exemplified by, once again, my Picasso prodigy art:
ctmU6cz.png
This then gives an explanation to all of the questions raised above:
~The radio dishes are inverted and located where they are so the people living on the floating rock could communicate with those at sea level. After all, you can’t run a cable up there, neither can a satellite orbiting Earth penetrate that amount of dirt and rock.
~The clear skies shown on the last scenes are proof of high altitude. You can assume they are above cloud level so only thin agglomerates of water particles form (the same you see from airplanes). The moon is completely visible since not much sun-light is reflected by the atmosphere and finally, it being so huge is the same optics phenomenon you observe at the
horizon, where things seem to be bigger due to the angle you look at them.
~The reason this chunk is able to “float” is the same reason there are still ruins to be shown on the final scene. Why aren’t those buildings joining their fellow concrete buddies on the debris halo around the moon?
Likely because there’s still some matter on them being “pulled down” which then equals the opposite “pushing” field. There’s no way to get too scientific here since if we were to do so, the movie is flawed from its principle because the entire atmosphere of the region was to be subjected by the phenomenon, meaning they would be no more atmosphere left on Earth because air would continue to be “dragged” out.
Point is: it floats. Somehow.
PfUNY1p.png
Get it?

The tower factor:
0KYaZGp.png
dKJE1ya.png
kXJeBSP.png
Who built the huge shaft/tower that connects both societies? Was it created after the disaster so construction material could be easily transported “down” to the inverted people or did it exist before the disaster?
My theory is that this huge shaft was part of the original facility. The one that was studying gravity and suffered the accident.
To avoid potential risks to the population, they hid all the laboratories deep underground, just like the GeoFront from EVA. When shit happened, everything started to float, all the tunnels and this huge shaft along a huge amount of dirt. Some of this dirt felt back to the ground, while the remaining created the surface we see on Age’s city and the exposed part of the shaft got this tower-like aspect.
MMGBy5S.png?1
Yes. If you noticed, there IS a mistake on these maps. I wonder how production didn’t notice it.
At the end of the movie, Age, Patema and “the bad guy” breach through the bottom/top (depends on referential) of this shaft and find out about the real surface with all the debris and stuff. This however isn’t possible according to these maps, since for them, the shaft ends in a dead end (more tunnels and dirt).

Q&A time!

Q: But the dialogue on the movie specifically mentions the word “underground”.
A: Yes, it does. But relative to which referential? Technically, when they are inside/bellow the floating chunk, they are “underground”.

Q: If the above is true, why didn’t the scientists stay on the upper surface of the floating rock?
A: Thin air, perhaps. Stronger UV radiation. Difficulty to maintain communication to the inverted group. Too many debris.

Q: Then wouldn’t characters suffer from lack of oxygen when they emerge on the topmost surface at the end of the movie?
A: They’ve probably grown accustomed to living in a thin air environment over the years.

Q: What about the artificial atmosphere generator?
A: It’s constructed on the Earth surface, right on the crater left by the city. Huge towers that generate steam and light. As mentioned, paying a bit of attention to the first scene it’s visible that the city in question is located on a valley, surrounded by hills, which would make a vast empty area, with more than enough distance for those standing on the bottom of the floating chunk to believe the artificial lights were actually stars.
Note how it’s impossible to prove either interpretations (underground or floating chunk) right or wrong when it comes to this point due to the heavy cloud/steam “walls” along the path Age and Patema floated.
wyFDJ7Y.png
However, considering the physics of the situation, it’s way more plausible that they went from a floating chunk to sea level than from sea level to deep bellow the surface. Reason? Pressure, temperature and oxygen. You can only dig so far before these factors come into play and make survival impossible.

Q: Why this instead of the underground?
A: I find it hard to ignore all these details, even if I’m wrong and they happen to be solely aesthetic.
Again, I’m in agreement with the interpretation that puts everyone underground (i.e. bellow Earth’s crust). However, I also see this as a valid alternative. Specially if we take into account the lack of communication with the exterior world.
If communication with -say- a neighbor town was cut and they were simply underground, either party could simply send a messenger or something like that. However, if they are floating kilometers above the soil with no way to land an airplane or helicopter things get a bit more complicated.
I also wonder how would they dig that amount of soil to make a spherical hole of those dimensions. Where did all that dirt go? Sure, NERV managed to build the Geofronto but had global funding and the machinery for it. This would be, what, four~five times the size of the GeoFront and who knows if there’s the technology for such a feat of engineering?
“But they were messing with gravity, of course there’s the technology” …I wouldn’t be so sure. This could’ve been some isolated breakthrough in that specific field of research. We can’t be sure that the technology level of other fields of science are/were on the same standard. No wonder shit happened. If we go by the time-stamp on the first scene, the event took place in 67. 1967? It could’ve been just a wild experiment that went incredibly wrong.

And that concludes my wild goose chase for an awkward true.
God, I have to stop doing this kind of things…
Oh well, the drawing part was fun.

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5 comments

  1. … consider the following. Giant radio dishes are used for the hundreds of cameras the bad guys use throughout the show to watch all the people. Giant moon is because gravity was dramatically effected due to catastrophic accident. Moon would become closer because of gravitational changes. And your strike three wouldn’t make sense, if the chuck ripped off earth it’s entire gravity would have inverted the way that anything else being ripped off it would have, so the chuncks wold have turned upside down would it not? And if that happened then agai people would have seen the moon and the whole scene with the fake stars wouldn’t make sense. Also I dont think they are that deep into the ground. So pressure and things aren’t an issue, also, with the scientists saying they went underground AS WELL means that the agIA people are also underground. But your theory was an interesting read

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  2. I like this theory, however it seems like it’s not entirely accurate. Of course, given that it’s an anime, I imagine some artistic license can be taken in regards to how all of this would “plausibly” take place, so there may not be a right way of interpreting it. In any event, my main issues with this interpretation are as follows:

    1. If this chunk of earth has been blasted into a higher altitude due to anti-gravity experiments, how is it still in the same position? Wouldn’t it eventually exit the atmosphere if the chunk’s gravity is inverted?

    2. Perhaps the Earth is holding the chunk in place with its own gravity (similar to Age and Patema holding onto each other and almost zeroing out the opposing forces of gravity). If this is the case though, the chunk should eventually crash back down to the surface since the Earth would be MUCH larger than the smaller chunk, meaning Earth’s gravity could easily overpower that of the chunk.

    3. The chunk could simply be in Earth’s orbit now and the people affected by the experiment are the only ones who have inverted gravity. This has many problems as well. Being in Earth’s orbit, there would be an extreme lack of oxygen for breathing and atmosphere to shield them from cosmic radiation and even if it we don’t consider that, the fake sun/star apparatus would never be a realistic way to simulate stars/the sun since the chunk would be orbiting Earth, meaning that the Earth would have to have the vast majority of it covered in this machinery so that there would be stars at night and a sun during the day, as opposed to this apparatus taking up one portion of the Earth. And of course, all of this has to completely disregard the fact that a chunk of land that close in orbit to the Earth would crash into the surface anyway.

    Unless there’s something I’ve yet to consider, I believe the majority interpretation of it simply being underground is more plausible. Unfortunately, this does not explain the dishes. And there could also be something inside the chunk simply causing it to float (much like the anti-gravity/hot air balloon machine made by Age’s father). Since there doesn’t seem to be evidence either way, it’s mostly just open to interpretation.

    As a side note: why go through all the trouble of making the fake sun/stars when the time would have been best served finding a solution to the anti-gravity problem? If this was to lull the people into a false sense of security so they would just forget what happened, it seems like it would be easier to just tell them the truth than to go to all that effort to serve a lie. Still pretty cool concept though.

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    1. Hey, thanks for your input!
      (Actually, thanks for everybody’s comments. I have this bad habit of forgetting to read/reply these)

      I completely agree with you. If we were to apply real world physics into it, just saying “the chunk had its gravity reversed” doesn’t explain how it’s somehow stationary. I didn’t give it much thought back when I wrote all of this since my main concern was with their location relative to the Earth’s crust, so I don’t really have a decent explanation besides “it works, somehow”.
      I’d go full science fiction and say that either:
      – When the experiment failed and the chunk took off, some sort of strong “core” was created in the epicenter of it (likely the tower) that negates Earth’s gravitational pull by having its own force (but how, since there’s no spinning metal? Sci-Fi atomic gimmicks!)
      Just like that, it also matched to Earth’s rotation so just like an artificial satellite, it stays on the same spot.
      Similar to what you mentioned as there being something inside the chunk making it float.
      – My other speculation would be that instead of having their “gravity” messed up, the chunk and the stuff into it had their density messed up. Therefore they are able to float/eternally free fall just like clouds do. But then again, clouds are in constant movement and the chunk is not.

      It’s kind of a Catch 22 since the movie itself shows some physics flaws (i.e. Age and Patema fall at a constant speed and softly “land” at the atmosphere generators as if gravity wasn’t an acceleration constant) and the very mention of “other side of the crust” on the ending letter bothers me since (if we assume they’re underground) it implies they’re somehow living in magma (wtf).

      Yeah, I don’t get the atmosphere generations neither :P
      It’s like recreating Plato’s Allegory of the Cave despite knowing how it ends.

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