Hirune Hime: Shiranai Watashi
Japan 2017, 111 min.
At the Fantasia Festival in Montreal it already won the audience award as Best Animated Movie.
Two worlds: the real one is set in the near future at the time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, while the fantasy world, Heartland, is a car-centric society. The two begin to overlap in this Anime adventure about young Kokone Marikawa. She loves to take naps, lots of them, where she has vivid dreams (hence the Japanese title Hirune-hime or The Napping Princess). At the centre of these dreams we find Ancien, the King’s daughter, equipped with a magic tablet that allows her to bring inanimate objects to life by endowing them with a heart. She does so much to the disapproval of Daddy, the King, who then locks her up.
In the real world, Kokone’s father is a car mechanic who gets arrested under false accusations. This is orchestrated by the villain, Watanabe, who also plays a sinister role as the king’s assistant in the dreamworld. By employing discoveries from her dreams, Kokone tries to rescue her father and also unravel the mystery surrounding her deceased mother.
This action-packed Anime gem is made by Kenji Kamiyama who is also responsible for animated cyber-extravaganzas (such as the series Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex), which he likes to garnish with some modern social critique. He also knows how to intertwine the dream world with the waking one so well that they become difficult to tell apart. Kamiyama makes use of a whole range of stylistic elements here, from cute blue teddy bears and nostalgic backgrounds to steampunk machinery and combat robots.