I just want to start things off by talking about the name of this anime movie: Napping Princess. I honestly don't believe that any thought or audience feedback was put into this American title. The word "napping" just sounds so boring and unromantic, and when you place it next to the word "princess" it sounds like a weird oxymoron. Yeah, when you see the movie itself, that's kind of what it's going for (the princess in question is a fucking idiot who's only a "princess" in the dreams that she has during her way-too-frequent narcoleptic sessions throughout her bumbling high school days), but the English title as it stands is just a bit off-putting really.
Really? You're harping on the titles of anime now?
Well, the Japanese subtitle for the movie, The Story of the Unknown Me, is infinitely more interesting and fanciful. I have no idea what they were thinking.
Well, get on with it.
Right. So this movie — written and directed by the writer and director of the most amazing Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series (one Kenji Kamiyama) — is kind of all over the place. It starts off with this almost Castle of Cagliostro-like scene, with some princess locked away in a high tower in some giant castle, but she momentarily escapes in order to find a magic iPad, but then she runs back to her keep so as to not let the bearded Count of Cagliostro-clone find out that she can indeed escape whenever she wants.
Then, the princess wakes up, and she finds that she's really a teenager in the near-future Japan. Her name is Kokone Morikawa, and she's a dim narcoleptic who periodically passes out during the day, and has the weirdest dreams where she's a little girl princess in the heavily-industrialized world of Heartland, full of talking stuffed animals, transforming motorcycle/robots, and a giant smog monster that wants to destroy everything just because.
In real life, Kokone is the daughter of a poor and almost mute widower (seriously, Momotaro Morikawa only says something like 6 sentences this entire film) who runs his own mechanic shop in the small town in which they live.
Then one day, the police and the bearded man from Kokone's dream come for her father. Well, more to the point, they come to get his iPad.
Really? Is this thing a secret Apple Corporation commercial or something?
I don't know, but that cracked iPad is the focal point of this entire movie. According to Beardy McBeard-Face, Momotaro stole it from Beardy's company (Shijima Motors), and it has extremely valuable data on it that belongs to the business in question. Momotaro disagrees with Beardy though, and he hides the tablet in his dead wife's blue stuffed fox, and then leaves it at her grave. And that's where Kokone finds it.
The rest of the movie is about Kokone and her childhood friend, Morio, running away from Beardy and Beardy's unbelievably incompetent faceless minions, as they try and take the tablet to Shijima Motors HQ in Tokyo.
Wait, why do they want to take this device to the enemy's stronghold?
Well, it appears that Kokone's dead mom was the daughter of the Chairman of Shijima Motors (which Kokone only just found out about), and her mom was the chief architect of a revolutionary self-driving car system... But her dad thought that tech was stupid, and ordered her to stop its development. (Why?!? Because the plot said so.)
So Kokone and Morio run to Tokyo, share some dream-time wherein they both experience Kokone's ridiculous Heartland world, and they discover that if Kokone types in what she wants on a mechanics' message board on the tablet that her wishes will come true... Like if she wants tickets to the bullet train from Osaka to Tokyo, BAM, they get tickets. Same for meals on the trip.
Yeah, it's weird, but at least that part of the story is explained in the end. They never do explain how Kokone shares dreams with Morio, or how she can visualize Beardy, her grandfather, and her mother as a child in her dreams so perfectly when she's never seen them before... But I digress.
Wait again... So is this story... I mean, does it have actual magic in it?
I... I don't think so. It's like they TRIED to explain away everything with simple old technology, but they forgot a few parts.
Anyway, the ending happens, and some ludicrous moments occur without any explanation. For example: Kokone makes it to Shijima Motors HQ, and miraculously bumps into her grandfather just outside the main office building, but she doesn't tell him who she is or why she's there. Why? Because this would have ended the movie and there would have been no drama.
"But then why did they have her meet him in the first place," you ask?
I was going to, yes.
THERE IS NO REASON AT ALL.
Then Kokone falls asleep (and things jump into Heartland again), and is essentially kidnapped by Beardy and his goons. Then they take Kokone up to an almost impossibly high level of Heartland's castle where Beardy is showing off his super mech that he plans to use to wrest control of the country away from the feeble King. A scuffle occurs, and Kokone falls over the balcony — like 50 stories up — but is caught by the dream interpretation of her father...
Only this wasn't just a dream that Kokone had while passed out in a chair somewhere (which is what always occurred before). This time, somehow, stupidly, everything that was happening to the girl in her dream-world REALLY DID HAPPEN to her in exactly the same way in the real world... Including falling off a really high balcony in the Shijima Motors HQ. Nothing is explained (like why Beardy took her up to that tall floor in the real world in the first place, or how her father was able to actually catch her from that height without dying himself), and we're just left to believe that Kokone is actually severely autistic, or has VIVID hallucinations, or something else very wrong with her head.
I don't know. Not much is really explained in this movie, which is odd, since writer/director Kenji Kamiyama was the KING of brilliant explanations in the previously mentioned GitS: SAC.
Perhaps the biggest and strangest plot-hole in this Napping Princess turdfest is that we are supposed to believe that Momatomato doesn't have this invaluable data backed up ANYWHERE else except on this portable, fairly flimsy, tablet computer. I mean, the man is a genius who finished up his wife's life's work of creating self-driving cars, and he has NO backup of this world-changing program? Even just for his own purposes and reasons? I mean, he was using this software for people in his small town... What would he do if his tablet was stolen?.... Oh... I guess he'd then get involved in a bad movie plot and have to chase his daughter and a bearded automotive executive halfway across the country.
Anything else to say about this seemingly skippable movie? I have to tell you, I already checked out just reading your review, and I didn't even have to sit through this thing.
Not really. The overall plot was pretty dumb, the characters were either stupid or boring (or both), I don't even remember the soundtrack, and the ending was simply retarded.
I have no idea what anyone involved in this project were thinking. Well, other than "gotta cash that check before this tanks!"
The Japanese are way too wimpy as a culture. Let me tell you something, if some strange, bearded, suit-wearing guy came at me when I was a teen, and tried to get my dad's magical iPad, I wouldn't run in fear, I'd turn around and SMASH it against his goddamn skull! Then, when he's on the ground, I'd bash his head in with it over and over until all his teeth were knocked out, or until the magical iPad was just bits of circuit board in my hands.
Why would I break the magical iPad on the bearded suit's head, you ask, when that's the only place my dad saved all his important super-science documents? Well, that's because in AMERICA my father wouldn't be stupid enough to only store his world-changing tech on one flimsy, unsafe, mobile device! He'd have it on his hard-drive, on a backup in some bank vault, and probably somewhere on the cloud too.
What. The. Fuck. Japan?!
Y'all know what happened when Ah had a dream where Ah thought Ah was a princess? Ah woke up, 'n then got on with mah fuckin' life.
Oh, but then Ah made sure Ah found mahself a man who thought Ah was his princess. Ah didn't retardedly run around the country with a geek and a moped lookin' for mah momma's papa, only to find the fucker, an' then not say anythin' to the bastard who abandoned his family an' then made it big for himself. Ah swear to GAWD, if Ah find that fucker Ah'm gonna rip off his frank 'n beans and feed them to mah Cooter!.... Cooter's mah dog. Git your mind out of the gutter.