Napping Princess (" Hirune Hime: Shiranai Watashi no Monogatari")

Canadian Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2017
  • 110 mins
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
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Official Selection: Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2017

“Succeeds wonderfully… a fun action adventure” - George Art Baker, TIME OUT TOKYO

“Steampunk dreams and corporate reality wrapped in a modern day fairy tale… enjoy the ride” - Richard Eisenbeis, ANIME NOW!

In the car-clogged Eastopolis, capital of the kingdom of Heartland, Princess Ancien is confined to gilded cage of sorts. Gifted with remarkable powers, she can bring the inanimate to life using a magical digital device. But she also draws to the city the Terrible Colossus, placing her father’s realm at risk. Back in the real world, it’s three days before the Tokyo Olympics of 2020, and sleepyhead Kokone awakes again from her dreams of Heartland to the realities of life in small-town Okayama. All is not well, though, as her struggling widower father has become tangled up in some sort of corporate intrigue. Soon, the divide between her reveries and the real world will begin to crumble…

Having proved his mettle with punchy, polished works like GHOST IN THE SHELL: SAC, CYBORG 009, and EDEN OF THE EAST, anime director Kenji Kamiyama returns with a fresh and youthful yarn full of wild imagination, plugging a taut techno-thriller and some mecha-vs.-kaiju combat into the mix. It is, among other things, a hi-res review of the world 10 minutes from now, with ubiquitous VR gear and self-driving vehicles. Kamiyama isn’t blind to the economic – and human – toll of the tech revolution, a concern already hitting Japan harder than elsewhere. That theme is a key plank of NAPPING PRINCESS’s story, but not at the expense some good old-fashioned fantastic adventure with steampunk flair. At the heart of the action, of course, is a teenage protagonist rich in agency and character, voiced by actor Mitsuki Takahata (in the flesh in RAGE and JAPANESE GIRLS NEVER DIE, at Fantasia this summer).

- Rupert Bottenberg

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