(Yet another) Patema Inverted world interpretation


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:

(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.

Strike one:
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:
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.

Strike three:
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:
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.
Get it?

The tower factor:
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.
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.
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.



  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


    1. Hmm if the chunk would be inverted the way you wondered it should be then i think that from the very beginning of the movie where the building started to “float” or “fall” into the sky it should then be inverted as well. I also personally think that it is insane if there was no floating chunk because when Age and Patema went to the bottom or the topmost where they find Age’s dad machine, the falling/floating was way to far so i think it would be beyind the earth’s crust. However if there is also a floating chunk how was it decided that only a part would float? Does this mean that the rest of the earth is in normal gravity? Anyhow this film is making me crazy urgh but nevertheless i loved reading the theories and such very good interpretation you people have here. Also, im so sorry i dumped my thoughts as a reply to your comment😂


  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.


    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.


  3. NERV: geofront was there to begin with, it’s the cavity left by Lilith’s Black Egg after it hatched. I was very disappointed, albeit not surprised, from getting no info on the sky city (the most interesting part for me). According to your theory, would that be on the surface of the Earth, built on the cavity left by the detached piece?


  4. I believe I see what you mean. Age is the one in the inverted city. Patema is actually standing correctly underground in their floating chunk of land. Technically there are 2 top levels. Age is upside down looking up to the real world.


  5. That’s depiction makes sense also maybe it was 2067? Not 1967. They also seem to have lots of loudish wind sounds in a lot of the scenes which would be pretty weird underground.


  6. It’s a nice view from a different angle, but the theory about a floating piece of chunk also lacks a lot of reasoning.

    For me, one of the major flaws is that if it is a floating chunk your theory you give it the fact that the accident that happened only had a limited areal effect, minimized on a piece of rock. That would mean that the rest of earth isn’t affected or affected a lot.

    Considering the huge ring around the moon? That really doesn’t look like just one (or even a few) cities. To give it such a massive amount of debris a lot of earth must be floating up. Consider how much debris must be flying into space or had crushed into the moon that enough debris had just the right speed and angle to be catched by the moon and keep a steady orbit so that we can actually see such a ring. A lot – without even bothering about numbers. That is the reason why only if the whole earth was affected, a ring around the moon can visually take place like this one we saw.

    I, for myself, think the appearance of such a big moon a jsut a stylistic method by the makers as it is used in a lot of movies, animes and games. It would be hard to see the ring around it if it had a reasonable size so they made a close-up. That’s why I really don’t give it much of a meaning.

    But speaking about the appearance of the moon at the end. Yes, you can see the moon on daylight. I saw it a lot in my life – even near sea level. You just need a rather clear sky, and the angle of the sun to the moon and earth must be quite orthogonal. Sun has to light up the moon, you must be in eyesight angle to the moon, and also have to be in the zone the sun rays still reaches earths ground. Nothing too rare indeed. But that also means it is impossible to see ever the full moon on daylight, and I didn’t. Always half the moon, a litte bit less or more. So on this behalf the makers are cheating a little.

    Like they are cheating than Patema is holding Age at the end scene. She is knwon to be lighter than Age and she doesn’t have anything that makes her heavier or Age has something that makes him lighter than Patema. They just wanted to show that scene without bothering to add something that makes it logically. See, cheating for the right purpose seems to fit the makers.

    You mentioned the thin clouds at the end. But I realized that they aren’T the proof you are longing to. Yes, those clouds are often a sign of high altitude clouds, but they never give us a hint on how far up we are up considered to ground level or not just by looking at them. You can see them also from sea level on clear days in real. I am not a weather specialist, but I think it is possible to have some high altitude clouds without the need of clouds in the lower areas. So the determination of height of the ground the characters are standing with those clouds to proof a floating chunk does not work at all.

    Izamura’s whole lie would have gone to waste very quick if your floating chunk theory is to be true. If so there would be other humans that would have survived (limited area of effect of the disaster I mentioned before). What would have stopped them using airplanes to visit or watch Aiga and the other side of the chunk? I mean – even 1967, if that is true – enough planes existed reaching very high altitudes to fly (turned around upside down) over Aiga. Aiga’s citizen would have seen them making his religous scheme fall apart like a house of cards in the wind. And to be honest, why should the rest of the world care about upholding this really specific and selfish lie of Izamura even if he had asked for it using the radio dished to communicate with them? There is no reason for that at all.

    Speaking of the dishes. You made a major mistake. You see something that looks like a radio dish and just asume that they are radio dishes. If someone, knowing guns sees an injection pistol for the very first time, he can probably mistake that pistol for a weapon. What I am trying to say – we just don’t know the purpose of those dishes nor the ones that built them. It isn’t mentioned in the whole movie what they are for. Couldn’t it be possible they serve a completely different use than just mere communication? Say, for example transmitting or receiving energy to the giant machine that is faking the false sky? Wireless energy transmission via microwaves is also under developement currently, that isn’t even science fiction. Maybe they just suck energy from the giant geothermic plant in the “sky”, or they transmit energy to keep it running. To be less futuristic, maybe they are just used to remote control the giant machine with some redundancies. I mean, no one wants to loose control over a big weather machine, do they?
    Just take the dishes for what they are: tools those purpose we just don’t know because it is not mentioned anywhere in the movie.

    It is hard to believe that everything is really happening underground, but not impossible. Keeping the fact that the movie doesn’t want us to give us every explanation of the world introduced, but rather giving us only the facts we absolutely need to know, this is leading me to one conclusion: like many other science-fiction or fantasy creation there must not be always an explanation when something new is coming around the corner unless the inner logic of the movie/game/book is not disturbed or crushed by that fact. For me, I do not question elves magic as long as it isn’t part of the story to need to know how it works to understand the plot. And that is why the makers do not care giving us all details. They want us to focus on the story itself. At least that is what I think about it.

    Unfortunately, as long as the autor doesn’t make a summary about the things he had in mind while making the movie, we won’t be able to know what is true or not. It is up for everybody on its own to decide wether to believe it was underground or it was a floating island with two sides.

    Still it was fun reading your theory and thinking about it – so thanks for sharing with us anyway :)


  7. Even if it’s not true, it should be. Up top, at the end of the movie, was definitely a platform. Which would be that area was probably the original area for the gravitational experiments. On a small scale they probably were able to harness gravity so they could’ve braced for it when everything went wrong.


  8. Hello!! Its 6 am for me and 4 am for my friend and we THINK we figured how this shit works

    The fake sun/stars are basically the earth’s core at this point and they have some sort of a cooling system that they turn on during the night, and turn off during the day.

    The radio things basically control that cooling system? But are they automated or some shit idk.
    Basically what I’m trynna say is whatever the picture shows I can’t explain it in words that well.

    *think about it*
    And basically the moon and sun keep going around the earth but yes the fact that the accident happened ruined the whole ass gravity and the moon is nearer. Also explains the debris, since the moon goes around the earth, basically collecting left over shit. Thats all.. Reply your thoughts!


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