Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Aug 2006
1 hr. 30 min.
R+ - Mild Nudity
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.181 (scored by 49889 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
fantasy horror mystery psychological sci-fi
SynopsisIn the near future, a revolutionary new psychotherapy treatment called PT has been invented. Through a device called the "DC Mini" it is able to act as a "dream detective" to enter into people's dreams and explore their unconscious thoughts. Before the government can pass a bill authorizing the use of such advanced psychiatric technology, one of the prototypes is stolen, sending the research facility into an uproar. In the wrong hands, the potential misuse of the device could be devastating, allowing the user to completely annihilate a dreamer's personality while they are asleep. Renowned scientist, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, enters the dream world under her exotic alter-ego, code name "PAPRIKA," in an attempt to discover who is behind the plot to undermine the new invention.
Characters & Voice Actors
Satoshi Kon was among the best directors in the medium of anime until his unfortunate and untimely death in 2010. His blending of realistic character designs and settings with Lynchian surrealism created visual experiences unlike anything anime had produced before. Beautiful and haunting dreamscapes that unraveled the human psyche both literally and figuratively. A great example is his last work; the strange, dense, and insanely inventive Paprika.
Adapted from a novel of the same name by science fiction author Yautaka Tsutsiu, Paprika takes Kon's mind-bending style and applies it quite literally to the plot. The story takes place in the near future, where a remarkable device called the "DC Mini" has been invented, which allows people to enter other peoples' dreams and access their unconscious thoughts; intended for the use of psychotherapists. However, while still in its development, one of the DC Mini prototypes is stolen. Soon, development staff members begin to have their dreams invaded and entangled, and its up to head of development Chiba Atsuko, and her chipper alter ego Paprika, to find the culprit and retrieve the prototype before more damage is done.
This premise works perfectly with Kon's directing style and the themes he often explores. The movie weaves from dream to reality and back again seamlessly. With the DC Mini giving the ability to enter (or invade) peoples' dreams and psyches, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between delusion and reality. There are scenes which seem to take place in reality, until something strange occurs, pulling back the curtain to reveal that it is a dream instead. The dissolving wall between the two comes with some serious consequences, as characters slip into madness; becoming delusional and erratic. Kon perpetuates a sense of unease and delirium with colorfully deranged imagery, hallucinatory sequences, and sudden outbursts of insanity, keeping the audience in a state of constant imbalance. And yet there is a certain unhinged joy than comes with the madness. There is something wondrous about unconscious mind and the images it conjures; the limitless possibilities of a dream, and the hidden meanings behind those dreams. Even at their most disturbing, the surreal dreamscapes of Paprika are entrancing.
Our protagonist, Atsuko, is cool-headed; always in control. She maintains a stern, often harsh, but logical and level-headed demeanor. She's all business, doesn't have much of a sense of humor, and little patience for the childish irresponsibility of man-child genius Tokita, the inventor of the DC Mini. Or at least that is how she seems on the outside. In stark contrast is Atsuko's alter-ego, the titicular Paprika. Paprika is a free spirit, more easy going and fun than Atsuko, to the point that the two seem to be completely different people, and not just because of their differing character designs. This contrast is interesting because it shows how a person's suppressed desires can manifest in spite of (or because) their attempts to keep control over themselves. As much as Atsuko would like to think she has control over herself and everything around her by suppressing her emotions, she's only being dishonest with herself. The rest of the cast (sans Detective Konakawa), are underdeveloped, yet still likeable and interesting. Tokita adds some nice comedic relief; the two antagonists are really quite interesting, though they would have certainly benefited from more screen time.
There is also a sub-plot involving a detective who Atsuko is treating in unauthorized sessions using the DC Mini. Here, Kon infuses Paprika with his love for movies, ironically enough through a character who claims to hate movies. Despite such claims, Detective Konakawa's dreams often are movie themed, and his strong objection to movies implies some kind of past trauma. Indeed, as the movie delves deeper into his character, it reveals he has a deep knowledge and connection to movies, but now avoids them because of unfulfilled and broken desires of his youth. The movie reveals this slowly and uncomfortably, often playing out like a therapy session, using motifs such as a reoccurring dream of a murder in a hallway which represents a case Konakawa is currently having trouble solving, or his dislike of the number 17. Konakawa's character ark also draws a interesting parallels from movies and the internet to dreams; all are places that the human subconscious can escape into. A rather meta concept, considering that you are watching a movie.
Paprika is Satoshi Kon's most vivid and wildly imaginative work. Kon clearly let go of restraint from the deranged, ever-shifting opening dream sequence. However, that isn't to say that it is done with no finesse, quite the contrary actually. Even with the free-floating lunacy of the movie, Kon's cinematic brilliance shines through. The radical transitions from dreamscape to dreamscape, which would look awkward in less skillful hands, flow like water under Kon's direction. The imagery is dazzling (if at times unsettling), and incredibly creative, sometimes frighteningly so. The chase scene in which Paprika is being pursued by the antagonists through multiple shifting settings is a breathtaking showcase of the movie's visual ingenuity. As is the movie's crazed grand finale, which features one of the main characters growing from infancy to adulthood while absorbing another character's dreams. There are also some crafty motifs the movie implements to set mood and tone, notably the crazed parade that is assimilating all other dreams. This all comes together to create a unique controlled chaos of visual imagination that is impossible to forget. It's also worth noting that the movie has the coolest opening credits I've seen, with Paprika taking a tour of the city in a way only she can.
The sweeping electropop soundtrack by Susumu Hirasawa is fittingly strange, but also grants the movie a sense of grandeur. The music has an odd, otherworldly texture which works very well in a movie that spends most of time roaming through the realm of dreams and human consciousness. Interestingly enough, some of the vocals were produced using vocaloid, which doubtlessly contributed to the music's strangeness. Of special note is the bouncy track titled 'Meditation Field' that accompanies the opening credits, and the bizarre 'Parade' which plays as people descend into madness or when that crazy parade of dreams shows up.
Though sometimes a bit convoluted, Paprika is an eye-popping, cerebral extravaganza that never fails to impress and entertain. More than simply a piece of eye-candy, the movie invokes some interesting ideas about dreams and the human psyche. Both Atsuko and Konakawa illustrate some fascinating insights in how people lie to themselves or bury the unpleasant, and what repercussions that might have. Paprika is just exploding with creativity, brimming with imagery straight out of your wildest dreams, and endlessly entertaining. It's a fitting final work for a great master.
Paprika, Satoshi Kon’s (Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers) latest movie, is a whimsical and imaginative journey into the concept of dreaming. As with each of his productions, Paprika is a distinctly unique and fresh film, while also retaining tones of Satoshi Kon’s usual quirkiness and style. While this is a film that revolves around exploration into the farthest reaches of human subconscious, it has traded the introverted and claustrophobic psychological tension seen in Perfect Blue for a decidedly free and open approach to the human mind, fitting with the theme of the limitless expanse of dreaming. This gives it a more relaxed and fun feel, whilst also retaining its depth and profoundness. In quite the same way as Tokyo Godfathers was, paradoxically, a light-hearted melodrama, this film is an accomplished juxtaposition of emotion, as the dark themes of jealousy and hatred are played out in the hallucinatory escapism of the dreamscape.
Dreams as a concept have always captivated me, and never before have I seen such a well-done representation of dreams in any form of media. Movies usually treat them as either being pointlessly strange, or pointedly symbolic, but Paprika captures their essence to fascinating effect. Dreams are as much about flow and direction as they are about the immediate situation, and this is something very apparent when watching Paprika, as the dreams flow and change fascinatingly with mundane illogic, moving from one setting to another with only a thematic thread between them. Looking back at my own dreams and how they shift from setting to setting based on the emotional context, and I see that Paprika portrays this perfectly. I can see that the dream sequences were thoughtfully brought to life, and were not just crazy for the sake of crazy. But through all its fanciful imagery and creativity unbound from realism, Paprika has a story behind it that deals with very strong human emotions, and it excellently weaves this emotional content throughout the films, particularly in the dream sequences, where the subconscious expresses the truth behind each character’s external, day-to-day personality.
The way it tells this story is simultaneously a strength and a flaw of the film; on the one hand I am inclined to say that it was obfuscatory in the way it obscured the plot from the viewer. While watching this movie I felt like I was trying to get my head around a particularly long riddle. As I followed it, the only understanding I really got of what was actually going on was in retrospect, and while some may call this clever, I found that not having an idea of the direction of the plot was a detriment. However, given that the movie revolves around the theme of dream analysis, it is also a fitting method of storytelling: the audience itself has to engage in the movie as though it were analysing a dream, and hence can only be understood when looking back at it. However, my advice to anyone planning to watch the movie: pay close attention to the dialogue and symbology of the dreams, because it is all too easy to get caught up in the zany fun of the dream sequences and lose track of the plot.
When it comes to the plot itself, I’m not so enthusiastic. Nor am I so aflame with praise when it comes to the characterisation. Both of these factors are the reasons why I am hesitant to label it as my favourite Satoshi Kon film; Tokyo Godfathers had excellent characterisation, and a simple yet powerful story; and Perfect Blue, with its introverted character study, delivered a great emotional impact. It may well be impossible to create a perfect film, but if these factors had been better incorporated into Paprika, then it would be among my favourite anime films, possibly my very favourite. It is a shame that Satoshi Kon’s vision and creativity is let down by a lack of depth in his characters and stories now, after his consistent accomplishments in the past. I think the main problem was that the movie tried to involve a too larger cast, to whom it could not provide ample depth in its limited feature-length time-frame. The other problem was that there was very little attention given to delivering a sense of conflict, a crucial element to any story. Perfect Blue had the internal conflict of the subconscious and the conscious; Tokyo Godfathers had conflict between its characters and society; and this movie tries to incorporate an antagonist-protagonist conflict, almost as an afterthought, with neither party given enough profundity to their perspectives to make the conflict intense. There was mention of their different ideology when it comes to the exploration of dreams, and a subplot of jealousy, but little more. So the story lacks the optimal ‘beginning -> conflict -> end’ structure, meaning it felt like it just went on and on until it finished, as entertaining as it was.
I have little to say about the technical achievements behind this film, other than the fact that it was fantastic in almost all aspects, with only the score music lacking. It is clear he used the same musical producer behind Paranoia Agent’s score track, and I simply cannot find his style of music appealing; it feels immature and cannot contribute effectively to the mood of the movie. Much better was the use of music in Perfect Blue, the score of which really sold the hauntingly intense atmosphere. The visuals are much better; this is his best looking film yet, with vivid animation and, as expected, brilliant direction.
It was not given enough weight, but I liked the message that dreams are the final sanctity of the human mind, which should not be intruded upon. This movie beautifies dreams, and attaches importance to them (as seen in Atsuko’s acknowledgement of her feelings for Dr. Torataro through her subconscious), and the suggestion that veil between them and reality is sacred really spoke to me, even if it came from the mouth of the antagonist. Paprika is a thoroughly enjoyable, visually captivating movie, which does overwhelming justice to its theme of dreaming, but which has flaws in its plot and characters that prevent it from being a great achievement as a film. read more
Another one of Satoshi Kon's masterpieces that uses a lot of the same animation style as Paprika!
Deeply Psychological, excellent and creative action, same studio.
Both Paranoia Agent and Paprika probe the power of man made illusions and how these affect reality to the point of merging with it. Paranoia Agent contradicts linear modes of story telling as the series progresses while Paprika is deliberately oneiric from the start. The artwork is similar and Satoshi Kon's trademarks are very visible in the way PA and Paprika push the limits of animation in general. Image surpasses the role of medium and becomes an experimental endeavour of psychological valence: PA and Paprika offer this autonomy of imagery without compromising a highly complex exploration of what it is that shapes and defines reality.
Both are directed by Satoshi Kon, both can mess with your mind.
Same man behind the anime's and they're both psychological. Lots of jaw dropping moments where u'll think "What the HELLLL???!!" but in a good mind flexing way
In both delusions merge with reality
Both have twists that will make make you think, "what the hell is going on?"
This recommendation is rather pointless. Same creators and genre. Both are great.
The surrealism and they are both detectives, the same psychodelic atmosphere and the same conclusion in the end.
It's the same director, but it also has the same colorful, almost nonsensical feel to it.
Satoshi Kon, similar visuals and both have an amazing soundtrack. Similar atmosphere, both portray a merging of the surreal with the real.
Both are Madhouse, Satoshi Kon anime with media-making characters, haunted by their own guilt.
Very similar plot development. Both are psychological
Psychological thriller movies Directed by Satoshi Kon. They both blur the lines between fantasy and reality.
same director(i think), different themes but both interesting strange stories
Both are Satoshi Kon movies. Also if you look at Paprika and Perfect Blue both are very mysterious and deal with the question ''What will happen when dreams/illusions collide with the real world.''
Paprika + Perfect Blue = Paranoia Agent
Both are Madhouse, Satoshi Kon films with a female protagonist in which the audience is manipulates to question what is really happening and what is just in someones head until the audience is bonded to the characters in that they are just as in the dark as they are.
Both are great psychological/horror movies directed by Satoshi Kon. The dark but realistic style Kon is known for really comes to show and it works great with both these interesting stories with include delusions, mystery and many exciting moments. Before you know it, you'll be sitting on the edge of your seat!
Both "Paprika" and "Perfect Blue" have quite deep symbolism and surrealism.
However "Paprika" is much more higher all the way and in any aspect, in my opinion.
I like how "Paprika" concentrates in itself all of Satoshi Kon favorite images and themes:
1) Like an escape from reality into a world of illusion
2) The devastating consequences of the invasion of illusion into reality and getting rid of these illusions
3) The sudden realization that the difficulties can be overcome, but turned to face them
4) Detective story filled with riddles and symbols
5) Surrealist paintings of collective and individual insanity
6) Adult man tired and lost in his past
7) Young woman who live a double life and hiding from all its second, the internal and true "I".
But I think Satoshi Kon described these all themes best right here in "Paprika" (that's his last finished work, by the way, before he is gone). In my opinion this is his best work after all.
Frankly saying, I don't like "Perfect Blue". I really liked "Paprika" much more. So, maybe if you don't like "Perfect Blue" too, try this one, I think you will not be disappointed. That's quite for sure.
Moreover there are great qualitative soundtrack, beautiful and detailed, outstanding animation.
P.S. Sorry for not very good english, it's my third learned. But I hope my recommendation will help somebody.
Opening Theme"Mediational Field" by Susumu Hirasawa
Ending Theme 白虎野の娘 (Byakkoya no Musume) by Hirasawa Susumu
"Byakkoya (白虎野)" by Susumu Hirasawa
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