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Parents' Guide to

Napping Princess

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Mind-bending fantasy anime adventure has some violence.

Movie NR 2017 110 minutes
Napping Princess Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 16+

Brief inapropriate moments

Teacher here! I thought this was a cute movie. I watched it in order to screen it before playing it for an afterschool club that would be made-up of 8 to 11 year-olds. I unfortunately have to skip this film because there are a few (sparse, but still present) scenes that are slightly inappropriate. The main girl rolls out of a closet and her underwear can be scene briefly, she gets embarrassed. Quickly she starts a separate urgent dialogue though, but I'm not taking any chances playing this at a school, but I think wouldn't be a huge deal when watched at home and could fly over young viewer's heads. Another scene the main girl and boy are going to sleep while sitting in the motorcycle. She makes a comment about not to grope her while she's sleeping. Again, could probably go over most kids heads and is very brief. Other than those small incidents, it's a cute movie to me. However, I think a kid might find this sort of film a tad bit boring? It moves slow to me, very little action, and not much comedy. I think a teen might find it more interesting? I did not find any bad language or straight up sexual incidents.
age 10+

So much subtext

This film while very great in terms of Japan's anime creativity is too bogged down with Japan's modern imperial revival propaganda. It feels similar to Kantai Collection where they take a part of their history of conquest and war crimes and turn it into an emotional tale of Japan's struggles against the evil foreign powers. (In this case they couldn't outright use America so they went with "aliens") While Napping Princess doesn't automatically sound the same since it is about telling propaganda of Japan's future and not revisionist history to cover their sins of the past the anime is really (unfortunately) clear about its political motives. The whole story talks about Japan's stagnating industry and gives excuses for why it hasn't done anything revolutionary in the last 20 or so years. It sets the stage based on its aspirations for the coming 2020 Olympics where news has gone out for a while that they hope to present their self driving cars in the opening ceremony shuttling all the athletes to the stadium. The anime makes it seem like 20 years ago they could have easily had this technology but it just so happened that the industry leaders were too traditionalist and didn't think self driving or software in general could compete with their well made cars. (Japan's car industry is still very big and Toyota specifically is still the world's leading car brand) Finally it paints a sad story about how being so traditionalist cost Japan and on a personal level also cost the industry leaders bright minds that could have revolutionized it years ago. But I will admit that if you don't pay attention to the obvious propaganda message then this movie is pretty good. A fantastic story about a girl with an overactive imagination whose dream reality mixes into what is really happening in the real world. I want to end off just by listing out the angles this anime used to promote the propaganda. So obviously the king or President Shijima is there to represent the old industry and how Japan's economy has stagnated. But instead of talking about its poor politics and economic management it blames Japan's problems on being too traditional. Just like any good propaganda there is a hint of truth. Japan is a very traditional society. But everybody that paid attention to it knew that being traditional wasn't their problem. Ancien and Kokone of course represents the modern world and that Japan needs to embrace new technology specifically AI and self driving in this case. There's tons of attention thrown at how people weren't comfortable with a car that can drive itself and how Kokone and her father were trying to change that belief. The colossus is where the anime makes it painfully obvious that its propaganda. The monster represents the media and public opinion of self driving tech. At first its just this thing that is holding "heartland" back and they have to fight against it literally at first with old car tech (engine heads) which is ineffective and then with "magic" or cars that "want to fight of their own free will!" which is effective. This all comes to a head when the evil Watanabe sends out a text "curse" against Shijima which the anime (manga more clearly) shows is just a slander campaign to worsen the fears of self driving tech. This changes what was just a single monster into a flood of black bats that starts burning the country to the ground and spreading everywhere. (just like a viral media campaign) Finally there's the "magic" tablet. This is the tablet that holds the original autonomous vehicle program that was perfected by Momo. Not only does it really show self driving tech in a positive way it almost makes it like miracle power. Through the tablet the Ancien and Kokone can bring stuffed animals to life and motorcycles into deus ex machinas and of course turn just any old "engine head" into like an Evangelion! As soon as the "magic" is placed into the final engine head it literally sprouts wings and reaches the heavens to stop the monster's attack "saving the world." To wrap this up. Great anime. Bad propaganda.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Inventive and visually appealing, this Japanese fantasy adventure sophisticatedly blurs the line between the main character's dreams and reality. In that way, it's like a modern Wizard of Oz. Kokome is plucky, with her babyish voice and eagerness to help -- even if that means engaging in her favorite pastime: napping. She's a charming, curious underdog, as is her enigmatic father (Mr. Morikawa's motorcycle-driving, leather jacket-sporting dad isn't your typical animated-movie pop, that's for sure). When nerdy, slightly older Morio offers to lend Kokome a hand to save her father, it would have been easy for the filmmakers to insert some light romance into the story, but instead they keep the pair's relationship refreshingly platonic.

Although Napping Princess might confuse some inattentive young viewers, it's rather ingenious in the way it weaves the two plot lines together -- making it clear that there's more than one hero(ine) to the story. The only downside is the overtly evil, mustache-twirling villain, who's less human than he is a stereotypical greedy right-hand man who wants all the power for himself. But veteran anime writer-director Kenji Kamiyama knows how to draw viewers in with compelling narratives and protagonists, and Napping Princess is a good choice for families with kids who enjoy more challenging, fantasy-tinged adventures.

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