Napping Princess is a film of two stories. In the real world Kokone is a high school student stuck in a small town with a father whose thoughts don’t much go past whatever vehicle he’s tinkering on. However, whenever Kokone falls asleep she finds herself in Heartland – a kingdom ruled by the monarchy from a gargantuan automobile factory, where she is the princess gifted with magic powers. Taking notes from the cultural touchstones of Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, this is another children’s film where the worlds of reality and the dream collide, leaving the impression that the line between the two might not be clear after all.
Sadly, it’s in the shadow of these previous works that Napping Princess finds itself. The film does show occasional sparks of life such it’s boisterous main heroine and occasional funny moments, as well as offering an intriguing dream world with a creative and charming premise intertwined with a number of satirical comments for the adults. Yet when it all comes to a head the film becomes a confusing mess of a finale that doesn’t so much as answer any questions regarding the dream world but completely forgets there were questions altogether.
Ultimately it leaves the film with a rather ironic dreamlike quality, as you leave with brief flashes of recollection and only a vague inkling of what actually happened and the logic tying those events together.
For parents fond of animation this film will most likely be entertaining enough to capture your kids imagination, although perhaps not as much as the classics. For other audiences there’s simply not enough to warrant recommending.