Our main character, Kokone, has this weird “ability”. She can fall asleep very easily and when she does she dreams of another fantasy world. Events in her real life start to mirror and intersect with the events of her fantasy world as her reality gets complicated by her dad being arrested under suspicious circumstances. Join her on her journey to save her fantasy dream world, her dad and in the process discover more about her lineage.
The English subbed release of this movie is being marketed as “Napping Princess” but I believe that the translation of the original Japanese source material is actually “Ancien and The Magic Tablet” which I think is a better title for the movie. Napping Princess feels a bit childish and betrays some of the more mature themes and intricate plot points the film tackles as I highly doubt this film’s main audience is young kids.
This film’s plot is one of the most unique and interesting plots I have had the pleasure to experience in any medium in recent memory. It cleverly interweaves the narrative of reality and the fantasy world to great effect and although the director chose to portray the events in a more epic fashion rather than a purely logical fashion, I think it was the more entertaining choice and hence some illogical plot moments can be forgiven. The film also touches on some modern world issues like the technology of self-driving cars and weaves it into the plot too which adds a sense of realism that the film really did not have to do.
With that being said, the first half of this film really drags and I will admit that I was bored during the slower moments but there is a reveal at the halfway point that kind of help to give more context to the narrative and ties everything together. From that point on I was fully invested in the characters and the narrative. I am unsure of whether it had any positive effect on me or not but it kind of felt like after that point there was never really a dull moment and everything really picks up from there.
Kokone, being the main character, kind of gets most of the focus in terms of character arcs or growths and everyone else does not really change much throughout the whole film. I do like that there is not really some forced Hollywood romance here, a relationship is nice to have and very enjoyable but it is not always necessary. I felt like a romance here might have detracted from the film’s plot anyway.
The animation in this film is fantastic. Scenery and background are drawn with great detail and they are simply a pleasure to look at. The animation of movement in this film also looks very fluid and natural. It feels like there was a great attention to detail here as you can see small touches here and there that once again, the film did not have to do but they did it anyway and it paid off. They only complaint I have is that the character models are kind of simple relative to the rest of the world although I feel like this was a purposeful decision here that might have aided in the fluidity of movement.
The soundtrack has quite a few pieces in which it utilises the piano which I myself and admittedly partial to. Hence, I do like the soundtrack quite a bit.