Netflix's Maboroshi has left fans stunned thanks to a gripping and emotional ending.
After first streaming in Japan in 2023, the anime arrived on Netflix across the globe, telling a poignant story about what it means to be alive and doing what one can in life with the precious time they have.
Written and directed by prolific anime writer Mari Okada, Maboroshi centers on a town taken out of reality after a shocking industrial accident and the emergence of a mysterious girl who may be the key to this reality-breaking circumstance.
Braking Down the Maboroshi Ending
Maboroshi features plenty of shocking twists and turns, but the Netflix anime film's ending might be its biggest.
After main characters Masamune and Atsumi embark on a white-knuckled chase as realities begin to bleed between the Mifuse stuck outside of time and space, and that of the mysterious Itsumi, the pair of teenage lovers at the film's heart finally see Itsumi off back home to the real world.
Earlier in the film, it is revealed that Itsumi is actually the child of Masamune and Atsumi. However, because of the steel factory accident that kicks off Maboroshi, they have not been able to grow up into the parents and married couple they would become, as their version of Mifuse is stuck outside of reality.
As a young girl though, Itsumi somehow teleports to this 'stuck-in-time' version of her hometown, where she comes to meet Masamune and Atsumi (her parents) as teenagers while being held captive within the steel factory responsible for this reality-tearing business in the first place.
Maboroshi's final moments see the pair send their out-of-time daughter back to her home reality, leaving Itsumi to live out her life and grow into an adult (a luxury the pair of teenage heroes are not afforded).
The film closes with one final sequence, picking up years later with a young adult Itsumi.
Seen getting off a train and telling her dad (the multiversal adult Mansume seen earlier in the film) that she made it safe, Itsumi heads back to her hometown.
The last thing fans see in the film is Itsumi walking onto the Blast Furnace Five floor in the Itsume Steel Factory (aka the place she was held in captivity during her time in the film's pocket reality).
As she explores the factory, audiences get one final line from the young girl, saying she is back in "The place where [her] heart was first broken."
What Happened to the Town of Mifuse?
While audiences get the idea that Itsumi has recovered from the traumatic events of separating from Masamune and Atsumi, it remains unclear what happened to the residents of the old steel town.
From what it looks like, most of the cast seen throughout Maboroshi cease to exist by the end of the film.
As Masamune and Atsumi saw Itsumi off on the train to get her back to her home reality, it remains ambiguous if they were able to mend the universal fissures separating the movie's primary world from the real world.
Audiences do get a glimpse of the teenage Masamune and Atsumi with the sun shining like it never has before, with Atsumi specifically calling out that she can feel something for the first time.
But this may not mean the universal separation is 100% fixed by the end of the film. Atsumi may have just been referring to embracing the love of Masamune for the first time, something she was apprehensive of earlier in the movie because of her dread of their reality coming to an end.
However, the Sacred Wolves that are seen throughout the film keeping the separate reality partitioned from the real world seem to be gone.
This could mean time is once again ticking in this alternate universe, and everything is fine.
But it is up to the audience to decide for themselves on that front.
Maboroshi is now streaming worldwide on Netflix.