Clocked in around 24-25 hours, easily the best game thus far of 2013 for me.
Maybe it's from my bias stand point, but it's extremely good, I have no idea what Iggle is talking about with it being slow and excruciating...
As for challenging, you only played for "1hour+" which leads me to believe you didn't get far, the game gets very challenging. Unless you grind your ass and understand the weaknesses well, fights get very tough, fast.
If you enjoy studio ghibli, you will definitely enjoy the story of this game.
It does get a little repetitive with errands and parts of the story, but it's still very fun.
PSA for those who have this game, cycle your bar in battle with L2 & R2 instead of the D-pad, did not know this until probably a day or two ago. Makes your play time so much easier and smooth, instead of trying to juggle running around and cycling to do magic or use items.