Napping Princess Review
Director: Kenji Kamiyama.
In the Napping Princess, or under it's Japanese title Hirune-hime: Shiranai watashi no monogatari which kind of literally means Napping Princess: My Unknown Story, we think. It's about a schoolgirl, Kokone, who has a mysterious family history and slips into a alternate, parallel universe when she naps that gives her clues about what's happening the real world. Sounds all very typically dreamy Anime and it is.
In the real world, it's now, with Japan on the brink of introducing fully automated cars with Kokone's father holding the innovative, integral program to make them all work and obviously a major corporation desires it. In the dream world, Kokone's is a imprisoned princess, being a sorcerer of sorts with the help of a magical tablet that seems to grant wishes, even giving life to inanimate objects like cars and teddy bears.
Written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama, probably most famous for writing the popular Blood: The Last Vampire, writing and directing the Ghost in the Shell 2005 series and the epic Kôkaku Kidôtai: S.A.C 2nd GIG: Individual Eleven. It's fair to say this isn't his usual domain of writing or anime, being a family fantasy but he tells the story well.
It's probably a little confusing for the younger audience to get to grips with as the story flits in and out of reality and dreamtime, but that doesn't ruin the visual storytelling. Some of the animation is glorious and I liked a lot of the ideas used here. The characters animation reminded me a lot of classic 80's action cartoons like Ulysses 31 and the Mysterious Cities of Gold.
There's some interesting characters though it some of them lack any great development or background which adds to the confusion and not necessarily the intended mystery. I left the screening feeling like I still wasn't getting something and wanted to know more.
Sadly, all the elements of this film are just above average, the Shimomura's score whilst probably great for the film, it's very unforgettable. The performance are nothing more than what you would expect and whilst some of the animation, especially the climatic ending is really good, it's nothing outstanding.
I possibly went in with spoilt expectations off the back of the recent anime spectacles I've seen, A Silent Voice and Your Name, and whilst this film easily falls into the same genre of anime storytelling, it didn't quite match up only to become a lighthearted, entertaining piece of animation but nothing too spectacular.
Running Time: 6
The Cast: 7
Job Description: 6
The Extra Bonus Point: 0