Tomo MuranakaTakeshi KagaMomoko TanabeNao Nagasawa
Sinbad: A Flying Princess and a Secret Island
Also known as: Sinbad: Sora Tobu Hime to Himitsu no Shima
Medium: film
Year: 2015
Director: Shinpei Miyashita
Writer: Hiroyuki Kawasaki
Keywords: Sinbad, fantasy, anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Actor: Momoko Tanabe, Tomo Muranaka, Hiroko Yakushimaru, Nao Nagasawa, Takeshi Kaga
Format: 51 minutes
Website category: Anime 2015
Review date: 11 April 2018
I've watched this trilogy in the wrong order. I started with the middle one, The Magic Lamp and the Moving Islands. This on the other hand is the first film and I preferred it to that other one, but unfortunately it gets a bit boring when we hit Captain Razak's ship. I've decided that this series's sailors are its real problem. Everything else is fine. Sinbad (aka. Sindbad) isn't a complicated character, but that's okay. No one is. He's likeable and here he gets an awesome chase scene with baddies on flying carpets. Meanwhile Princess Sana is kick-arse. Ali (Baba?) is a bit of a useless brat, but he's just the harmless sidekick character and he's not breaking the film or anything. As for the one-dimensional villains, they're doing a solid job of being villainous.
This films were obviously made for small children, by the way. They have childlike morality, 1970s-style retro animation and little depth. That's fine. If that's not your thing, don't watch them. Besides, Sinbad and Sana both have emotion in their backstories. Sinbad has his missing father and his farewell to his mother, while Sana is the last survivor of her entire race. (She's one of the Magical People who got wiped out by the baddies.)
Razak and his sailors, though, have been shorn of all rough edges. They have no personality and I couldn't even imagine them thinking bad thoughts. When Sinbad says he wants to join the crew, they send him home because he's too young. Even later, when he's proved himself against the baddies, they only accept him once they've had a responsible discussion about his future. They're social workers at sea. They could qualify for childcare certificates. When Princess Sana becomes the only female on a ship full of sailors, they all prove to be perfect gentlemen and you'd be shocked (shocked!) to hear any other suggestion. In short, they're piss-boring. Dramatically, they're a void. Sinbad's gone to sea with a ship of cardboard cut-outs. You'd almost prefer to see him tied to the mast and used unmentionably. It would have been box office suicide for the movie, but at least you'd have woken up.
They're only in the second half of the film, though, which is still okay. It's unmemorable and it doesn't have an ending, but at least it won't make you leap around and swear. The film's first half, though, is pretty good. Everything that happens on land is worth watching. (Which is, um, before Sinbad's become a sailor.) Princess Sana has cool magic powers, her flying horse is surprising and our heroes are still very much the underdogs with no back-up.
Sinbad's pet monkey is unnaturally placid, though. If that monkey were real, I'd take it to the vet.
If you split this film into two standard-length anime episodes, I'd be saying "ep.1 good" and "ep.2 forgettable". However I liked Princess Sana, I have nothing against Sinbad (who can run on walls!) and I can tolerate Ali Baba. Incidentally I also like that Sana is taller, more dangerous and more superpowered than Sinbad. You'll be expecting her to look after him, not the other way around. She also has trouble relating with other people.
It's just a shame about the sailors and their ship, really. The problem is that I'm saying that in a Sinbad series.