How much patience do you have? You may need it to get through Maboroshi. Things do get confusing fast, but all is explained by the end of the film. You just have to wait as the details become clear one at a time.

So there is an explosion at the local steel factory. Then cracks begin in the sky, but the smoke dragons heal those cracks. Nonetheless, the town is frozen in time. And amidst all this, we get a coming of age love story.

Masamone is our protagonist. Heís a schoolboy with a talent for drawing, but what of it? No one exactly has a future with time frozen. Mutsumi is a girl in his class with a secret. She introduces Masamone to that secret Ė a girl under Mutsumiís care who is kept prisoner in that steel factory. Masamone develops a relationship with Mutsumi, while wishing to help her mysterious, young charge. And throughout all this, their artificial world may be coming to an end.

Maboroshi seems to be the directorial debut of writer Mari Okada. Her writing credits include True Tears, Vampire Knight, Black Butler, Anohara, and A Whisker Away. Itís an interesting mix. In her script for Maboroshi, Okada creates a confusing universe, but explains each question one by one. It did keep my interest, even as I asked myself what was I watching. By the end, I was glad I did continue watching.

Maboroshi can boast of some pretty good artwork. It could not be too easy with those scenes depicting both the real world and our charactersí phantom world in the same shot. Those scenes were well animated.

So if you should watch Maboroshi and find yourself wondering what exactly is happening, donít turn it off. Keep watching.