Napping Princess **
Dir: Kenji Kamiyama. Animation with the voices of: Mitsuki Takahata, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Tomoya Maeno, Arata Furuta. 111 mins. Cert: PG
A fake-out opening establishes the twinned realms through which Kenji Kamiyama’s midlist anime meanders: patriarchal kingdom Heartland is revealed as the recurring dreamscape of somnolent schoolgirl Kokone, trapped at home with a grief-stricken mechanic father in a town some distance from Tokyo. Toggling between the two, Kamiyama demonstrates a pleasing, Kore-eda-like eye for suburban specifics, but the charm diminishes upon the segue into corporate conspiracy involving missing tablets and giant robots. Some fun satiric footnotes early on – Heartland’s compulsory auto industry employment leaves it gridlocked for days – but it starts feeling fairly mechanised itself, every clank of those boysy Transformer knock-offs further drowning out its wistful heroine.
Napping Princess is now playing in selected cinemas.