Blu-ray Review: Napping Princess

Dreams can be rather powerful especially when you have no desire to wake up. Sometimes we wake up and wonder if there was any significance why our subconscious wanted us to experience an activity in our dream state. Why did we spend time with a friend who had died so long ago? Why were we on a subway train heading uptown? How can we get an apartment with a magnificent view of the city? Nappy Princess (also known as Ancien and the Magic Tablet) is a tale about a girl who enjoys her dream realm more than her real life until her reality matches up with the fantasy. The Japanese animated film is from director Kenji Kamiyama who had directed Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and got his start on Akira and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Those films seem a bit of an influence on his first feature film in this tale of slumbering royalty.

Kokone Morikawa lives in a Japan that’s a few years away. She’s a teenage girl growing up with only her father, a car mechanic who is trying to push the technology. The biggest thing she enjoy is a good long nap. In her dreams she is Ancien, the princess of Heartland. The kingdom is completely controlled by the making of cars inside her father’s castle. She uses a computer tablet to control so many elements around her life including a blue bear named Joy. The King’s big focus is now impeding attacks from a giant molten monster. He must create huge robot to save his kingdom, but there are those willing to sell him out. When she awakens, she finds things are like a nightmare as her father gets arrested by a giant car maker for stealing trade secrets on a tablet that looks like the one used by the Princess in Heartland. Kokone discovers that her dreams are hinting at so many things in her waking state as she flees to prove her father’s innocence.

Napping Princess is an engrossing film that merges the dream state with reality within the animation. What’s nice is that while the action in the fantasy world is large including giant robot fighting, as the film progresses, there’s also action and danger in the normal life growing. Kokone isn’t safe in either realm. And yet even with the jeopardy and action, it’s still a story that doesn’t overwhelm its teenage girl character. This is an adventure for a daughter trying to wonder what it all meant when she woke up.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer makes a seamless jump between the dream world and the near future reality. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 for both the English and Japanese dubs. Both versions sound fine if you with a good mix between dialogue and effects track. The French track is 5.1 Dolby Digital. The subtitles are in English, Japanese and French.

DVD with the movie and some bonus features.

Interview with Kenji Kamiyama (15:02) is a subtitled interview with the director. He goes deep on what led to the story. He had an obsessive dream to create the film.

Introduction at Japanese Premiere (20:16) is the cast and crew on stage before the big moment. They even bring a robot up on stage.

Greeting at Japanese Release (17:51) introduces Joy at the premiere.

Special Interview with Cast (7:19) is interesting since a few of the cast members finally meet after doing so many scenes together.

Special TV Program (22:04) has the main cast sit back for an interview with a guy in a great suit jacket.

Okayama Scenery (3:24) compares the real city with the animated version.

Trailers and TV Spots
(3:57) pushes the daydreams.

Shout! Factory & GKIDS present Napping Princess. Directed by: Kenji Kamiyama. Screenplay by: Kenji Kamiyama. Starring: Brina Palencia, Chris Niosi and Colleen O’Shaughnessy. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 111 minutes. Released: January 30, 2018.

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