Mixed or average reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. The plot is often bewilderingly complex and the dense layers of subterfuge hard to follow, but by the climax the fairy tale has been twisted into a fascist fable of realpolitik mercenary opportunism.
  2. Reviewed by: David Chute
    Where Okiura leads the art of animation into truly uncharted territory is in his character work, the precise behavioral strokes that bring people to life in two dimensions.
  3. 80
    A superbly crafted science-fiction fairy tale that's both Grimm and grim.
  4. Reviewed by: Charles Solomon
    Offers a violent but compelling vision of what an animated feature can be.
  5. The film is built to quaver and buckle along with its victims and martyrs. In an almost soulful way, it bespeaks the reality lingering when the final fantasy ends.
  6. I liked the idea of the movie more than the movie itself -- though sections of it are mind-blowing.
  7. Its plot and political symbolism manage to be both over-familiar and confusingly muddled.
  8. The story's emphasis is on action, but there are some sensitive moments and interesting ideas along the way.
  9. Dubbed for U.S. audiences, the film has suffered in translation.
  10. 50
    Characters are undermined by the inexpressive animation that mars the majority of animated films: Their haunted inner lives are clearly meant to take center stage, but their faces are blank and two-dimensional.
  11. 50
    It's a gorgeous albeit depressing mess, as distancing and despairing as a realpolitik wipeout.
  12. It makes as good a case as any for the use of animation as a medium for serious, mature features.
  13. 40
    Something to behold; it's just not much to watch, despite admirable ambition and a few tense, well-thought-out sequences.

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