For three quarters of an hour, the story gradually develops towards a pivotal point of some sort. Although it is overburdened with scenes that just seem to be intended to dull the viewer and lure him away from the actual plot, there is something happening. It is not much and it certainly is not obvious. The combination of palace impressions and story-driving scenes do not add any depth or insight to the whole cast of characters. In fact, they keep them sterile as there is no character development at all. Everybody just remains spinning and centered around their own cliché and role - the cute, kinda headstrong girl; the fighting überwoman, the snobby aristocrat. The male lead does not seem to have any distinction at all, he is a shallow presence, which, actually, doesn't even matter as he is only there because the storyboard required him to - it seemed like he was on vacation and got caught up. When the point comes of turning the corner in terms of what happening, the movie first snaps completely blank for a couple of minutes and then becomes ridiculous. It solves - or better, dissolves - itself with a by-the-book Deus Ex Machina, more clichés and some of the most crude plot devices and choices I have ever seen. It's history, alright. First the movie's a drama though it's supposed to be comedic, and then it turns into a farce. The protagonists do what they are expected to do, and there are no surprises. The first set of somewhat serious antagonists however gets replaced by a couple that literally was just bored. Maybe that was some kind of nod towards the audience.
This movie does not get any bonus from me for underlying philosophical meaning (since there is none) nor for its technical realization. The animation and editing is fair and so's the sound mixing; but it is by no means outstanding or even above the average Japanese productions of the late 1980's. In fact, the visual treats seem static, un-inspired and un-original.
Worst of all - it totally fails to entertain, even if you don't bother with characters and all that stuff. There's too little going on here, and the rest is corny at best. Get a real Ghibli instead, have a feast with it and keep your fingers off this one.
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