Hirune Hime also knows as Ancien and the Magic Tablet also known as Napping Princess is the latest film by director Kenji Kamiyama. Admittedly, I’ve not watched any of his films prior to this, but I heard Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is pretty damn good. I walked into Napping Princess with no expectations whatsoever. Heck, I didn’t even watch the trailer. But I was excited to see Kamiyama’s work on the big screen.
I walked out not wanting to kill myself but was mostly wondering if this has been nothing but an 110-minute advertisement for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, among other things. Sure sometimes movies can take place in and around certain events and as a result, it’s only natural for the event to be mentioned a couple of times. But here it feels like Kamiyama literally jumps out of the screen, grabs a microphone and screams, “Oi! Remember, the 2020 Olympics is taking place in TOKYO,” all while getting heaps of cash stuffed up his bum. Perhaps he needed the money to fund this film? Surely, there could have been a subtler way to go about it. It bothered me.
Besides getting unnecessarily b*tch slapped with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, though, Napping Princess is a somewhat enjoyable albeit uninspired film. We follow teenager Kokone, who’s either extremely gleeful — she says hello to everyone on the streets on her way to school — or extremely tired. Things get interesting when she’s tired. The moment she closes her eyes, we enter her dream world, where she’s a princess named Ancien in a Kingdom is ruled by her dad who’s a giant automobile manufacturer. This king is pretty much a puppet, controlled by his evil advisor. Only Ancien, with her magic
wand iPad and little Transformer looking thing, can save the day.
But surely, it can’t be just that? Of course, it isn’t. Ancien will soon come to realise that her dreams are the key to understanding the issues happening in the real world, which I will not reveal. This film has interesting ideas and concepts, enough to keep me curious. However, none of these concepts are fully realised. Napping Princess feels like it’s trying to set up discussions surrounding topics such as the ups and downs of technology, corruption and the importance of family. But the only thing you’ll be talking about after the movie is its beautiful visuals.
Or perhaps Kamiyama wasn’t trying to encourage philosophical discussions. Perhaps his goal was to make a movie for KIDS with some moral values. If that’s the case, he may have succeeded. Then again, that would be underestimating kids’ intelligence. This movie also has a lot of twists and turns. Some of which work, some of which do not. None of which will blow your mind, none of which will annoy you. The thing about twists and turns and interesting setups is the fact that there has to be a payoff. And there isn’t one, here.
From a visual standpoint, Napping Princess is nice to look at. And the action sequence at the end is a joyride. Kenji Kamiyama brings up some interesting concepts, but ultimately this feels like nothing but an advertisement for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I know, Usain Bolt might not be participating and nor is Lee Chong Wei. But just because you can’t slap these star athletes’ faces on billboards, it doesn’t mean you should make a 2-hour long advertisement.
Special unrelated shoutout to Attack on Titan. I just binged Season 1 and it is AMAZEBALLS.
Hey, you! Yes you, hot stuff. What other anime films/TV series do you think I should catch? Leave a comment below and let me know whatchu think.
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