In medieval China, the Emperor dies. His first-born son assumes the throne. The young Emperor doesn't have an empress, so it is ordered that a contest be held in order to find a suitable girl. Signs are posted in villages around the provinces, and one day, a young peasant girl reads one. Ginga promptly decides to enter it (Hey, three meals a day and a nap!) and heads to the palace. At the palace, Ginga encounters her three roommates who are also her competitors. We follow Ginga as she adjusts to palace life and goes through her tasks as she is judged on her suitability for becoming the next Empress. She will also become friendly with a young man that she meets there. Times are changing, however, and the winds of revolution are blowing. The story is based on an award-winning children's book, and makes a fascinating historical drama.
I think my only gripe is how short this is. I feel that like many movies made from a long story, it should have been done in an episodic format. That aside, this is a great story with great animation and great characters. Ginga is great fun to watch, as is the young emperor. Very obviously a family film, this one lacks some of the refined subtlety of Hayao Miyazaki’s films. Nonetheless, this is a fine film and very much worth a look. Highly recommended.
Herself the Elf sez: One fansub of this lists Hayao Miyazaki for the screenplay. This is erroneous: it's *A* Miyazaki, but not *the* Miyazaki. The misconception is understandable, since the characters look suspiciously like those from Kiki's Delivery Service. This is apparently because some of the animators on this movie were from Ghibli.
Only available fansubbed at this time.