Thanks to the Japan Foundation we had the chance to see Ancien and the Magic Tablet (ひるね姫～知らないワタシの物語) before its Japanese Film Festival debut.
Young Kokone Morikawa dreams every night with being the Ancien, the princess sorcerer of the kingdom of Heartland, who by using her magic tablet can bring any object to life, from toys to motorbikes, a useful skill as her land is threatened by a mysterious Colossus.
While awake, Kokone is just a regular girl who lives with her dad who works at home as a car mechanic.
Life becomes complicated when Kokone’s Dad is arrested for apparently stealing a code from a giant automotive manufacturer, an unfair accusation that will force Kokone like in her dreams to protect her dad’s tablet which contains key data, unleashing a day-dreaming type of adventure in which Kokone will have to face reality like never before as she learn the truth behind her mother.
Ancien and the magic tablet attempts to mix the genres of drama, fantasy and mecha-action all together, a combination that at times gets quite confusing but somehow manages to deliver an enjoyable film.
Animation is superb and the characters are likeable. However, the film’s narrative gets a bit confusing as it jumps from dreams to reality and even to an hybrid of both making viewers wonder what is truly going on. Furthermore, this issue makes the movie a bit slow, especially after the first half an hour, as it attempts to over explain every single subplot.
Despite its flaws, Ancien and the magic tablet is sure to deliver some solid entertainment, and die-hard anime fans will engage with the mix and references, in a film that starts as “Fairly tale”, continues like “Tamako” and finishes in a full “Evangelion” type of war.