Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Aug 2006
1 hr. 30 min.
R+ - Mild Nudity
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.191 (scored by 45863 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
Critic’s Log - Earthdate: December 1, 2013. Review #74: Paprika.
It’s been a while since I last had a dream and I really don’t know why. I actually like having dreams when I am asleep. Well anyway…Dreams can even influence ideas for movies and that is not a bad method for using your imagination if you are the creative type. Hell, Christopher Nolan’s film Inception was about going within a dream within a dream within a dream. Talk about complicating. Anyway, the final dream that Satoshi Kon completed is Paprika. Sometime in 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. But...Before the government can pass a bill authorizing the use of such advanced psychiatric technology, one of the prototypes ends up being stolen, sending the research facility into an uproar and panic. In the wrong hands, the potential misuse of the device could be devastating and disturbing, 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 and beautiful alter-ego, code name "Paprika," in an attempt to find out who is behind the plot to sabotage the new invention. To be technical, this is a Studio Madhouse which means that this movie is promised high production value. And this movie damn well shows it. The visuals look dreamy which is fitting but the animation looks amazing as well as some of the extra detail. This film is well detailed and the amount of imagination in designs in huge in this movie during the dream sequences. The character designs are just as great as Satoshi Kon’s masterpiece Millenium Actress except this is years later and the animation is gorgeous and it really shines in this movie. It is by far the best part of the movie. The music by Susumu Hirasawa is also a terrific score. The main theme is catchy and most of the background music is often eerie which is great because it invokes the feeling of a nightmare which is what fits this movie. The music even fits during the dream sequences too. What is significant about Paprika is that it was the first movie to use a program called “Vocaloid” and it’s pretty effective in this movie. Susumu Hirasawa does not disappoint with the soundtrack and it compliments the movie greatly. Like some of his previous work, he knows how to make the music work in the anime shows or movies he has a part in. When voice acting is concerned, the Japanese casting is excellent. Megumi Hayashibara is terrific as Atsuko Chiba, Akio Ohtsuka is also terrific as Konokawa. Tohru Furuya is pretty good as Dr. Tokita. Katsunosuke Hori is great as Dr. Shima, and Koichi Yamadera is terrific as Dr. Osanai. A noteworthy performance is Satoshi Kon as Mr. Jinnai. Yeah, Kon-san decided to have a little part in this. Which is nice. As with the dub. It is a bit hit and miss. Cindy Robinson is actually pretty good as Atsuko. Paul St. Peter is okay as Konokawa. David Lodge is tolerable as Dr. Shima. Doug Erholtz is great as Dr. Osanai, but Yuri Lowenthal is a little off at times or even out of character from the original intent. I don’t get to hear Yuri Lowenthal all that much in anime dubs and he does alright from time to time. This is one of the roles where he doesn’t really shine. I’ll give him credit for not being unbearable in the dub but he’s a bit hit and miss in this one. The dub is tolerable but if you want better casting, stick with the Subtitled Version on this one. The characters are well-written enough to the point that it’s good enough for the movie. Atsuko is an interesting character and she is a bit interesting. It is nice that her “Paprika” side is more fascinating than Atsuko herself and that I was questioning at first. As the movie progresses, she actually does develop well. Dr. Tokita may be a big guy, but he his a genius (according to this movie) He’s alright for the most part. Dr. Shima is great throughout the movie with his attitude and personality. Konokawa was an interesting case because he didn’t like movies, which I don’t mind but I always found that interesting about him. Then there’s Dr. Osanai who is great along the way, but not what you would expect. The characters aren’t really timeless, but at least they make the dream feel real. Then there comes the story which won’t be easy for me to talk about. I could say that the animation and visuals are the most important part of this movie, but I can’t. I simply can’t. The concept of the movie is what made this movie so interesting as well as it being such a spectacle. Even though it is such a visual feast, you really got to pay attention to this one because it is complicating yet the progression is simple. The mind-fragging visuals do deceive the eye very well unless you are very observant. And this is the most powerful aspect of Paprika and by far what makes this movie work. The story has a few twists and it has a solid plot, however the story isn’t perfect. The Chairman wasn’t as fully developed and he get’s much less screentime than the others. Regardless of all this, Paprika is a unique film that even Christopher Nolan was inspired by this movie when he made the movie Inception which is ten times far more confusing and complex than Paprika and requires full attention while Paprika is a spectacle and can be understood to a degree. Paprika does not sacrifice substance with style, there is a good blend of fantasy with reality in this one, and Satoshi Kon’s final film in his life was one hell of a dream. Keep on dreaming Satoshi Kon. Rest in Peace.
Paprika is available by Sony Pictures Classics.
With all that said, Paprika is a very creative film with amazing animation and imaginative visuals, and a dreamy soundtrack that compliments the movie greatly. Its characters are well-written and the story is unique but has a few hiccups. I strongly recommend this movie if you liked Satoshi Kon’s previous work and if you want to find something unique that can only be achieved in animation and in film. This is a dream worth having.
I give Paprika a 8.7 out of 10. it is VERY GOOD!
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 at times too convoluted for its own good, 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.
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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