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Anime: Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland

Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland is an Animated Adaptation of the Comic Strip Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay. In it, a young boy named Nemo travels to Slumberland in his dreams after receiving an invitation from Princess Camille. There he is trained to become the new prince. But, under the bad influence of the trickster clown Flip, Nemo inadvertently unleashes the Nightmare King, and has to save King Morpheus after he's kidnapped and taken to Nightmareland.

It was produced in the late Eighties by Tokyo Movie Shinsha in Japan, where it was released in 1989 with limited release in the US. In 1992 a re-cut edition was released in the US. This film also served as the basis for Nemo and Little Nemo The Dream Master, two Capcom-developed video games for the arcade and NES, respectively, in 1990. The latter ultimately became more well-known than the both the film and the comic itself.

Was released on Blu-Ray disc in 2012, this time with the original Japanese audio as an option.

Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Pervert: Flip accidentally grabs Princess Camille's chest after they rescue her from water goblins in Nightmareland and gets elbowed for it. Then again, she wasn't old enough to really have much in the way of breasts.
  • Ambiguous Gender: In the original comics, Bon Bon (also known as The Candy Kid) was male. In the movie... it's a little less clear. S/he's voiced by a female, but that's quite common for young male characters as well. The longer hair and pastel clothes mean nothing in this film. Fandom tends to be split on this as well.
  • Amplifier Artifact: The Royal Scepter.
  • Big Good: King Morpheus, who incidentally shares the name of another Big Good.
  • Big "NO!": Many times, mostly by Nemo.
  • But You Were There, and You, and You: Nemo sees people very similar in appearance and mannerisms to the characters he meets in Slumberland at the beginning when he goes to watch a circus parade.
  • Canon Foreigner: Professor Genius, who seems partly based on Dr. Pill from the comics though his appearance is different. Also, Icarus, Nightmareland and the Nightmare King are unique to the film. The Boomps are also more or less based on the Imp from the comic, but split into five, and changed into friendly goblins instead of a single racist caricature.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Coupled with a Big "NO!". And it turns out to be a Dream Within a Dream.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early on, Flip accidentally pulls a map of Nightmare Land out of his coat, hastily switching it out for a Slumberland one. After the king is kidnapped, Flip's map is used for a rescue mission to Nightmare Land.
  • Cigar Chomper: Flip. See also Must Have Nicotine below.
  • The Collector: The Nightmare King traps his prisoners in pillars of crystal, and refers to them as his "collection."
  • Compressed Adaptation: It took Nemo months to finally reach the Princess in the comics, and yet in the film Nemo dreams everything that happens to him in Slumberland in a single night. Of course, doing a plot like the movie has as a weekly comic would probably translate to about one or two years worth of storyline.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Execution in Slumberland is carried out by firing the convicted into space from a giant cannon.
  • Cool Crown: Princess Camille dons one of these for Nemo's coronation ceremony.
  • Cool Key: The key to the Forbidden Door is gold, and the handle is a stylized dragon.
  • Cool Train: King Morpheus rides around on a toy one.
  • Cute Bruiser: Princess Camille, seen when she punches Flip straight in the jaw and holds her own against water goblins.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Flip
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Princess Camille.
  • Disney Death: Nemo at the end.
  • Disneyesque
  • Dream Within a Dream: Happens to Nemo twice. Both times he realizes he's still dreaming when, after waking up from a Catapult Nightmare, he finds the Royal Scepter in his bed.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Nemo breaks his promise not to open the Forbidden Door, releasing the Nightmare King and getting King Morpheus kidnapped.
  • Fantasy World Map: Flip is the only one who has a map of both Slumberland and Nightmareland. Not only that but he's also the only one who can understand it.
  • Flat Character: Nemo is pretty much the blandest character in the movie. He's really not all that different from how he was in the comics, though.
  • Fun Personified: Flip
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    • So, Princess Camille orders Nemo to her palace from his bed in order to become her "playmate"?
    • The "sitting in a tree inside cloud/dandelion/cotton candy puffs with clothes strewn about" snippet is certainly worth mentioning, as Nemo and Camille would probably have had to have seen each other naked at some point for them to end up like that. (Which also means they at least know what gender Bon Bon is!)
    • When Nemo "wakes up" the first time he sits up in bed, then looks under the covers with a shocked expression to find the royal sceptre.
    • Flip accidentally grabbing Camille's chest. See Thanks for the Mammary.
  • Harp of Femininity: Princess Camille is playing one when Nemo meets her.
  • Heroes Want Redheads
  • Heroism Incentive: Nemo initially refuses to go with the Professor to Slumberland because the Princess being a girl makes him uneasy. But when he gets the Princess' gift of cookies, he gladly accepts the invitation.
  • The Hero's Journey: Follows it quite closely, actually.
  • Insistent Terminology
    • Nemo is NOT in his underwear. He's in his pajamas.
    • And Icarus is not a rat.
  • Jerkass: Flip
  • Last Minute Hookup: Nemo and the Princess finally kiss at the end... too bad Nemo wakes up from his dream immediately afterward.
  • Magical Incantation: "Jazama Pajama! Pajama Jazama!!"
    The Nightmare King: Ooo, pajamas do scare me so! Mwahahaha!
  • Male Gaze: Flip eyeing and attempting to flirt with the obviously underage Princess Camille.
  • Man Child: Nemo first meets King Morpheus while the king is playing with a toy train in a playroom.
  • Marshmallow Hell: A dance teacher pushes Nemo into her buxom bosom, much to his dismay.
    • Twice.
  • Mood Whiplash: Nemo's dream at the beginning of the movie quickly becomes a nightmare. Also, when the Nightmare king invades Nemo's coronation ceremony and kidnaps the King.
  • Mordor: Nightmare Castle
  • Must Have Nicotine: Flip continues to sneak cigars even after the princess banned him from smoking any.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The Boomps, who are "good goblins" and are just misunderstood by the other residents of Nightmareland.
  • Never Say "Die": One reason scenes were deleted from the VHS release was that the plot point of Nemo possibly dying if he used the scepter was censored, which necessitated even his Disney Death being shortened.
  • Nice Hat: Both Flip and the Professor have nice top hats.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nemo is the one who unleashes the Nightmare King, after Flip talks him into opening the forbidden door.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Pretty much the whole second half of the movie, plus the first dream he has.
  • Nutty Squirrel: Icarus
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: During the song about training Nemo to be a prince, the horse that Nemo tries riding on flips him off his seat and onto the fat dancing lady from a few minutes before, who catches him, and he says, "Not again!".
  • Or Was It a Dream?: A couple times Nemo wakes up in his bed, thinking that the whole adventure was a dream; only to find the Royal Scepter under the covers of his bed.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: The Boomps.
  • Pajama Clad Hero: Nemo spends most of his adventure clad in plain white pajamas.
  • The Professor: Professor Genius, though only in name.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Say My Name: By Nemo most of the time, although Princess Camille does her share of it too.
  • Scenery Porn: If you like Studio Ghibli's penchant for prettiness, you'll like this.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: Slight variation. Flip and Nemo run between two rows of large pillars while being chased by guards.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Nightmare King was imprisoned behind a giant door beneath Slumberland, and King Morpheus decides to entrust the only key that can open the door to Nemo.
  • Sealed with a Kiss: Slight variation, as it isn't the end of the film, just the end of the dream.
  • Small Annoying Creature: Icarus, the flying squirrel.
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: Icarus
  • Stationary Wings: Icarus, the flying squirrel, who can hover and stay aloft while gesticulating wildly.
  • Technicolor Death: The Nightmare King's death is very colorful.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Flip accidentally grabs Princess Camille's chest shortly after they rescue her from water goblins in Nightmareland and gets elbowed for it. Then again, she wasn't old enough to really have much in the way of breasts.
  • Through His Stomach: Nemo initially doesn't care to meet Princess Camille... until Bon Bon presents the cookies she'd prepared as a gift for him, at which point he's all for it.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Princess Camille, daughter of King Morpheus, who looks rather old to be her father.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The movie seems pretty lighthearted and happy until the Nightmare King is unleashed.
  • Villain Protagonist: Flip, somewhat.

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