Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Aug 2006
Duration: 1 hr. 30 min.
Rating: R+ - Mild NudityL represents licensing company
Score: 8.191 (scored by 45758 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsfantasy horror mystery psychological sci-fi
Dec 1, 2013
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!
Jun 25, 2013
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.
Aug 6, 2007
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
Jan 11, 2008
Novel, Movie: Paprika is based off of the novel of the same name by Yasutaka Tsutsui, which was serialized in the Japanese women's magazine Marie Claire in 1993.
The movie itself came out in Japanese theatres in November of 2006, and was animated by Studio Madhouse (famous for Death Note and Paranoia Agent, another one of Satoshi Kon's works) and directed by Satoshi Kon (famous for Paranoia Agent and Tokyo Godfathers). It received a limited run in theatres Stateside in May of 2007 courtesy of Sony Pictures, and was released on DVD in November of 2007.
Story: The story revolves around a device called the DC Mini, which allows psychiatrists access into their patient's dreams, which gives them a glimpse into the patient's unconscious mind and helps treatment. One of these devices is stolen, and the researchers who worked on the project soon find themselves unable to tell the difference between reality and their dreams, which start blurring into one. Atsuko Chiba, one of the head developers of the device, uses her alternate ego, Paprika, to dive into their dreams and try to uncover the mystery of who's screwing with them.
In case you couldn't tell, this is classic Kon, in that it hits on being unable to tell the difference between dreams and reality, and damn, does this come through amazingly in this story. There are points in the movie in which you are unable to tell whether you're still in the dreamworld, or in the waking world. And the things you find in the dreamworld are several kinds of bizarre and symbolic, which is also classic Kon.
Kon actually admits to being a big fan of the novel, as it's one of his major influences; Tsutsui was impressed by his work on Millenium Actress and approached him about an adaptation. So this was something of a match made in heaven. As for faithfulness ot the original novel, those who have read it (I haven't) say that Kon's adaptation is a lot less technical, and Tsutsui has expressed his approval, so I don't think there should be any worries there.
One of the neat little touches at the end of the movie is that in the cinema in the final scene, there are movie posters for his last three major film works (Perfect Blue, Millenium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers), and the fourth and final poster could well be a promotion for the new film he's working on (he has yet to release any details on the project).
Art: The art for this is absofuckinglutely beautiful and bizarre. The only way you can get an accurate sense of this is to look at the screenshots that I've included below, from the parade and a dream sequence, in that order, as I'm really unable to accurately describe the artwork in words:
Studio Madhouse has pulled it off yet again.
Music: Kon teams up with Susumu Hirasawa again for this, and the resulting music is amazingly haunting and beautiful as ever. I'm a particularly big fan of the music used for the recurring parade sequence, and the ED's fairly awesome, too.
Seiyuu: Megumi Hayashibara (famous for her roles as Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop and Rei Ayanami in Evangelion) plays the role of Paprika, and Satoshi Kon actually cameos in a small role. And all the other seiyuu do an excellent job in their roles, so no issues here, as always.
Dub: N/A, didn't see it.
Length: Perfect, though it drags a bit at times. Paprika clocks in at about two hours; any shorter, and it couldn't have developed things properly, and longer, and it would've gotten tedious.
Overall: Kon at his finest. This and Paranoia Agent are the two works of his that everyone should at least see once in their life.
Overall: 44/50; 88% (B ) read more
Jun 9, 2008
STORY - The merging of reality and fantasy seems to be one of the most popular themes in anime, allowing it to span over many genres and to be addressed in many different ways. The theme seems to be especially favored by director Satoshi Kon though, and many of his past works reflect this seeming obsession, including Millennium Actress and Paranoia Agent. Rather than fantasy through movies or hallucinations though, Paprika grapples with the concept of dreams and how they might be utilized to better understand the human subconscious for psychological therapy. Still nothing particularly groundbreaking, and even without being familiar with Kon's other works, some aspects of the story were predictable -- such as the identity of the "true" antagonist and the idea that injuries obtained in fantasy translate into injuries in reality.
Still, while not completely original, Kon sets up the stage for his story very, very well (as expected, I suppose), and if there is to be an example for a film with this kind of theme, then certainly Paprika could be it. The realistic and modern city setting contrasts greatly with the psychedelic dream world that's presented, which really helps drive home the theme of needing to separate and distinguish the two. The viewpoints presented by characters are believable and logic, allowing the audience to easily identify with them. Everything is perfectly paced, with events accumulating in an increasingly dramatic way towards the climax and final confrontation. Admittedly, for me, that final confrontation fell a bit short of expectations, but it was a fun ride all the same.
Paprika also has a lovely number of subtle side-stories woven into its central plot, mostly concerning character relationships and personal development. I especially enjoyed these as they seemed to emphasize the idea of "reality" and relationships within reality, as opposed to those in the fantasy world. This may tie more into the character section, but story-wise, it's always nice to have some lesser plots that actually do still contribute to the main idea.
CHARACTERS - For the most part, Paprika's characters were very well done. Or to be more specific, Paprika's protagonists were all very well done, while its antagonists left much to be desired. Dr. Chiba and her alternate dream personality, Paprika, are excellent foils of each other and it's very interesting to see them both develop as characters, especially when the situations force them to work together. Although they are already essentially two sides of the same coin, both personalities have a depth to them that makes them even more complex while still retaining the ties to each other. That's incredibly impressive. Think of it this way, if one normal character can be considered "3-dimensional" when it obtains the right level of depth and Chiba/Paprika are actually the same person while each achieving that 3d level, then does that mean they can be considered a 6-dimensional character in the end?
Tokita and Konakawa are also both fun characters with a good amount of personality to them. Though both may seem a little stereotypical at first glance, the situations and subsequent personality quirks are quickly explored. Both go through an introspective journey throughout the course of the movie and have intriguing relationships with Dr. Chiba (and/or Paprika), providing for uniquely entertaining interactions.
The further we move from the main cast, however, the less depth of character there seems to be. While this is probably normal, the low number of total characters in the movie makes it a little annoying when the antagonists fall so flat. Dr. Shima is a fun little guy, but is generally a very predictable support character. Worse off though, are the Chairman and Dr. Osanai, who should not have been as easy to figure out as they were. From the moment they were each introduced, both had vibes screaming that they would eventually be revealed to the working against our protagonists. Osanai's jealousy and infatuation was difficult to sympathize with, and while the Chairman's ideas were reasonable to some extent, his crazed personality lost him credibility, making his entire plot seem cheap and cliche.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION - Paprika is a beautiful movie. There's no disputing it. The colors are lively and vibrant, and the animation is slick and smooth. The real world is rendered perfectly with ridiculously detailed backgrounds and even more ridiculously detailed animated elements. The fantasy world is breathtaking, with even more insane details and unique elements. And when reality and fantasy come together? It's crazy just how fantastic everything looks. All the little ways they came up with to integrate to two realms was incredibly impressive -- Paprika's ability to travel through pictures on walls and televisions made for some very awesome sequences. The only real drawback to all of this is the information overload. With so many bright colors and so much movement, your eyes will probably be burning a bit when it's all over with.
MUSIC - Paprika's score is also excellent. The theme playing at the beginning of the movie as Paprika is dancing through traffic is very trance-inducing and hypnotic, thus fitting very well with the movie's themes. The parade music for the dream sequences is also very catchy and appropriately reminiscent of real parades and circuses. There aren't very many other recognizable background themes, but those that are there are effective for the scenes they're used for, such as the haunting melodies used as the characters enter an abandoned/unknown area.
VOICE ACTING - Though I've seen the movie several times on DVD, it's always been subbed, so I can't comment on the dub. In our original Japanese, Megumi Hayashibara is our title character and she does an awesome job giving both Dr. Chiba and Paprika distinguishable voices that are fitting to their separate personalities. The rest of the cast does not particularly stand out (probably because Hayashibara does such an amazing job), but they all play their roles well enough (to the extent that I wonder if they were merely typecasted).
OVERALL - All in all, despite not being anything really new and despite the presence of a few annoying predictabilities, Paprika is a very well done movie that I think both newcomers and long-time fans of Kon's work can enjoy, especially if you're a fan of the whole fantasy/reality theme like me. :3 read more
Jul 4, 2008
Those familiar with Satoshi Kon’s work should know he likes to blend reality and illusion. Paprika was no exception, dealing with the dream world via DC mini, a device which can be used to enter someone’s dreams. As expected the dream world Kon created was incredibly imaginative and surreal. Animation and art for this movie was easily the best of Kon’s work as well as most anime. This movie was worth watching just for the animation and surreal world that Kon creates. Music was equally good, creating a haunting yet beautiful atmosphere. Sadly I don’t think its possible to even possible to describe the surreal and imaginative dream sequences in Paprika. However, that’s it, I could go on and on about the movie’s technical merit, but it doesn’t make up for its weak narrative.
Paprika featured highly imaginative imagery and excellent editing that Kon is known for however, what was it all for? If we take out the imagery out of the equation, what do we have left? The basic outline of Paprika’s story was wafer thin and had a painfully obvious twist near the end. In addition, a tacked on romance that made far less sense than even the most surreal imagery that Kon can muster. Chances are you’re thinking “Its all about the execution, who cares about a weak storyline as long as its done well.” Yes, execution is more important and surreal imagery and crazy editing can be used to make an otherwise boring story captivating. For example, Millennium Actress, one of Kon’s earlier works. However, in the case of Paprika the surreal imagery felt like it was the main point and the story/characters were secondary. Also, the imagery didn’t serve any purpose with respects to the story, it was there for the sake of being there and a “plot” to provide it some context.
What I said was only for the main plot line, the detective’s sub plot was sadly far more interesting. Here the use of imagery really suits his story and conflicts, similar in execution as in Millennium Actress. However, something is wrong when a sub plot is more interesting than the main story.
Characters are also pretty weak. The villain was pitifully boring and one-dimensional. Sadly, I can’t say otherwise for the rest of the cast. Also, the development of Atsuko and her romance at the end was so forced it was unbelievable. Once again, this confused me more than even the most surreal imagery Kon can muster. Konakawa (the detective) was the only saving grace in the cast of Paprika. He actually had a decent amount of characterization and actually developed through the course of the movie.
Paprika was a wholly imaginative work that only Satoshi Kon can create. He creates a landscape that was beyond words. This was coupled with amazing technical achievement by Madhouse, the animation studio. However, Paprika failed in terms of story and characters. The visuals didn’t serve much of a purpose with respects to the plot and felt like it was there for the sake of being there. Also, this plot was incredibly superficial and painfully predictable. The tacked on romance and forced character development was equally painfully and confusing. Konakawa was the only saving grace in terms of story and character however, something is wrong when a side character was more interesting than the main story. In the end, Paprika is more like a dream than Kon probably intended. It was captivating during but when it ends you’ll remember only a few visual snippets and forget everything else. read more
Sep 12, 2011
It's all about dreaming. The dreams are seen as an escape to the constraints of reality which reach their maximum in big cities like Tokyo for instance; gathering more and more people, and forgetting them sometimes (cf. Tokyo Godfather), with their dreams too. These forgotten dreams are represented in the movie by this psychedelic parade processing to who knows what destination.
Every character of the story are associated with particular constraints: having lost one's legs (the president of the research center), not moving easily because of one's overweight (the genius Tokita), not being able to free oneself from inner demons (the policeman), every time suppressing ones own feelings (Atsuko). What would occur then if the dreams of oppressing beings became true. We would assist to a huge surge of nonsense, a multicolor mixture of everyone's dreams and phantasms. The end of the movie may be a bit hasty, but aren't all the dreams ending like that?
Satoshi Kon gives here a wonderful work in all respects, both in the technical and figurative processes. read more
Oct 9, 2012
Some stories can only be enjoyed through understanding, while others must be enjoyed through experiencing. Paprika, for one, firmly falls in the second category. Comprehending Paprika on an intellectual level is comparable to nailing Jell-O to a wall: the harder a person tries, the more hopelessly confused he’ll become.
Those familiar with Satoshi Kon’s other works (particularly Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress) should already be well acquainted with this visceral style of storytelling. Put simply, Kon’s trademark style has always been to set up his film with an interesting, easily understandable premise. From there, however, his films transcend into delightfully illogical chaos. One can try to connect isolated scenes from his films into a linear, understandable narrative, but the result only serves to sidestep the director’s true intentions.
Paprika is no exception to this. Despite its engaging premise, the movie’s literal events become as intellectually inscrutable as a Teletubbies episode. Paprika falls mid-flight in its execution of the plot. Caught in a web of its own reverie, the film loses coherence as its travels down a pipe dream of its own construction. Although it succeeds in whisking the viewer away to an abstract landscape, several questions raised throughout the film are left unanswered.
The animation serves as a key component to the storyline. Much of the film revolves around the dream world, and Paprika’s visuals beautifully flesh the characters’ dreams out in a way that only an animated film could do justice. The importance of the animation further deepens later on as the border between reality and hallucination becomes less and less indistinct. In the movie’s own way, Paprika is able to show this gradual merging (and the subsequent chaos) vividly.
In terms of visuals, Paprika is nothing short of pure artistry. Every screenshot moves like a living painting and each scene is seared into the brain. Whimsical, and bizarre, Paprika is a feast for the eyes with its parade frenzy of drumming frogs, eerie dolls, and marching appliances. As the line between reality and fantasy is blurred, Paprika becomes a virtual bridge between the two polar worlds. These transition sequences are seamless and beautiful, altogether creating an imaginative flow of symbols and metaphors.
Composed entirely by Susumu Hirasawa, Paprika’s soundtrack consists of synthesized hyper-ballads, Vietnamese chanting, and electronic techno beats. In other words, it is the perfect soundscape for the hallucinogenic imagery offered in Paprika. Every electronic powered track is spell-binding and creates excellent pacing that drives the animation sequences along with full force. Notably, the film is unique in that it utilizes Vocaloid samples for its soundtrack, creating a mechanical yet organically exotic feel to the tracks.
Sadly, most of Paprika’s colorful cast is lacking in character development and depth. The main villain, although painfully obvious, had no bona fide motive for his malicious actions and scarcely had any progression. Similarly, side characters were extraneous and unnecessary, especially detective Konakawa whose actions served no purpose other than to move the plot along. Although the shy, plump scientist Dr. Tokita played a larger role in the film, his character lacked some much needed development. As a result, most of Paprika’s cardboard cutout characters served as devices to force feed the plot rather than draw us into the beautiful world it created.
There is a glimpse of depth within Paprika herself, and her second self Chiba is just as interesting. The contrast between the charming Paprika and the icy Dr. Chiba is the most alluring aspect of her complex character. Despite this appeal, the film sadly fails to explore it enough. Chiba’s multiple personality disorder is too perfect of an opportunity to neglect, and her own psychological struggles should have been a pillar of the film’s plot.
Words fail to describe the visual splendor and terror of the film’s journey into the subconscious mind. Some are going to try to push Paprika as a complex and intricately plotted intellectual exercise, while others will deride it as nothing more than a little eye-candy. In my view, the show is neither of these. The film’s entity is a dream in itself — an event to be experienced, rather than understood. read more
Sep 6, 2009
Paprika makes a few social observations, but calling it insightful would be a bit of an exaggeration. There are a couple of nods to the ills of society, from shut ins to greedy politicians. There are a couple of one liners that hypothesize about the nature of dreams, all of which you can easily dismiss with a wiki search on the subject or a psych 101 book. To be fair, the social commentary is a small part of the movie, and you`re never bogged down with long, faux-science/philosophy discussions on dreams or the flaws of humanity. Thankfully, they`re short.
The soundtrack is most simply described by the word "hectic". The opening piece sounds a bit like techno, but there are all kinds of instruments and chants in the background. It`s reminiscent of the opening theme from Paranoia Agent (and I believe they`re done by the same artist). Lively pieces like this are sparsely scattered about, along with equally hectic tracks that seem to be inspired by circus music. You know, with cymbals and percussions blasting all over the place. There`s also liberal usage of nonsense sounds like ringing, or a fuzzy, static-y noise, which add a little creepiness to the scenes. The soundtrack of Paprika is certainly noticeable, and it fits with the vibrant and beautiful animation in such a way that every scene the soundtrack touches, it elevates.
While a satisfying and engrossing story is usually what makes a film memorable, in Paprika`s case, it doesn`t need to be more than the sum of its parts. Paprika is filled with several memorable scenes that evoke a wide range of emotions. The protagonist`s travels through the dreams of others is filled with innocent and whimsical charm. The childlike imagination pervades the whole movie, but while it is cute in some instances, the same seemingly innocent themes and images can be chilling in others.
The negatives with Paprika start with its story. There is a romantic element and a mystery surrounding a side character`s past that function as subplots. The problem is, both of these subplots are never worked into the movie smoothly because they have very little relation to the central story. It`s jarring and awkward whenever the movie seemingly comes to a halt in order to develop either of these elements. I can`t say that they aren`t interesting though. It`s a sad fact, but the central plot is just so devoid of creativity that these subplots happen to be the most interesting parts of the story. Paprika`s story is not only simple, in a very "been there, done that" sort of way, but it fumbles the climax as well. Beyond the fact that the climactic events are a bit nonsensical, there`s just never any urgency, or tension conveyed.
My criticism of Paprika finishes with its characters. The only vaguely nuanced character is the main character, Chiba, and her alter ego after whom the movie is named. The other characters are there for little reason other than spouting supposedly thought provoking dialogue and monologues. This is especially bothersome because the main villain is also just a lecture machine. Supporting characters are usually simple in any movie, but they are particularly disaffecting here because their relationships with each other have very little depth. This means there`s very little tension of any sort between characters. Even the romance feels slapped on because throughout the movie, there was no romantic tension to speak of between the two characters involved.
As much as I`m complaining about it, I was still touched by the one romantic scene. This is exactly why all the flaws of Paprika can be overlooked. Despite the lack of tension built up by the plot or characters, the scenes themselves, given that most of the movie takes place within dreams, are limited only by the imagination of the creators. There is all kinds of creativity in the scene direction and plenty of details to pique so many different emotions; from a skincrawling kind of discomfort to the warm and fuzzies of romance. Ultimately, this makes Paprika enjoyable, perhaps even memorable. read more
Oct 27, 2013
It's a a magnificent film raises a question of dreams. More precisely part of the dream, names REM sleep, when the most colorful and emotional dreams accure, also dreams taking place in the slow parts of sleep, but they are shorter and less emotionally colored.In general, there are three main theories of dreams: Sigmund Freud's, Carl Jung's and the concept that sleep is a kind of encrypted message pertaining to the future of person and his entourage sent by some higher beings. I only know the name and the basic provisions of these concepts, so I won't stay on them.
Let us turn to the film itself.If you haven't seen this movie, i strongly recommend not to read any reviews on it.But i'll try to avoid spoiling a lot.
From the very first moments of the film, I was shocked in some sense. Full surrealism of what is happening makes me almost irresistible urge to jump ahead a bit and peek or rather steal from myself at least some shred of explanation about what is happening. And yes, the first couple of minutes my facial expression unconsciously express the phrase "What the hell is going on here? '.However, all quickly rises on the places:
Childish and boundless genius inventor (Kosaku Tokita) was created DC Mini, a device that allows people to watch other people's dreams. This device is used illegally by Paprika, Chiba Atsuko's(dispassionate and balanced head of the development team DC Mini) alter ego is a playful girl that guides others through their dreams in the experimental psychotherapy treatment.One of them is a detective Konakawa Toshimi, the protagonist of this action, which is trying to deal via paprika with a torturing him sleep. Further the narrative adventures of these characters in dreams and reality, and on their facet await us.Further analysis of the plot isn't necessary.
The overall plot is quite clear and consistent, the characters are extremely well developed, the animation is simply gorgeous, well and sound, as for me, let us down a little.
The main ideas of the film, I would name:
-Creation of human hands are not in themselves neither good nor bad, but they can only be employed by people as a tool to achieve their own goals, meet the ambitions of power, or just wreak havoc under the guise of different ideas.Invetors also quite often lack of understanding and not divining the long-playing effects and attitude to their creations by public.
Perhaps the most famous example illustrating this may be an conviction of the society invention of dynamite after a false obituary that was an incitement to the establishment by Alfred Nobel, through the testament, universally known Prize, awarded irrespective of nationality, on the money earned by them mainly due to the production and sale invented by him dynamite.
-Even the most it would seem minor facts and details that can simply be forgotten or consciously and unconsciously, are excluded from the memory may well play a determining significance in the life of man.
This paragraph i also have seen in the previously wathced work of Kon Satoshi.
Thank you for your attention and time. read more
Jan 23, 2011
Based on a 1993 novel of the same name, Paprika is set in the near future where a device called the DC Mini enables a person to enter another’s dreams. Created with the intention of aiding psychotherapy, the DC Mini is stolen and the thief utilizes it to annihilate the dreamer’s personality. The only one person who can retrieve it and prevent dreams and reality from merging is Paprika, the alter-ego of the co-creator of the DC Mini. Can Paprika and her eccentric crew manage to save the world from the impending doom?
Paprika’s story is definitely not its strong suit. While the legendary anime filmmaker, Kon, has attempted to create a masterpiece by focusing on the concept of parallel “realities”, the story was given very little importance and it came out of the oven a half-baked and rather crude package. I accept that the plot did have its occasional awe-inspiring moments, but they were too little and too late into this 90 minute feature. But that’s not to say that this movie is boring. On the contrary, Paprika is very entertaining and it manages to keep you engaged. It never deviates and always focuses on the retrieval of the DC Mini. No unnecessary character flashbacks, no slapstick humor and last but definitely not the least, no dull moments. There is nonstop action and as conventional as the backdrop maybe, it’s still a lot of fun.
The ridiculousness and irrationality of the plot is what stops you from walking out on this anime halfway. Where else can you see a man escaping a cage in a circus, then falling into a forest, then grabbing a vine to swing through like Tarzan, then slipping into a train where he is strangled by a man, beats him up and finally manages to run into a deserted warehouse, all in 30 seconds?
When Inception, the Hollywood flick, came out, otaku around the globe were quick to correct people on how Inception wasn’t completely Chris Nolan’s original idea, but was actually ripped off from an anime called Paprika. After watching both the movies, I have to say that Inception does bear some shocking similarities, the most notable being the actual concept of using a machine to enter a person’s dream and the infamous elevator fight scene, but otherwise, these two movies are worlds apart. While both movies have the same concept, Inception was more of a man’s struggle to place an idea inside a victim, Paprika was more about retrieving a stolen device to prevent its cataclysmic effect on the world. Paprika is also quite a disturbing film, containing visuals that range from horrifying to nightmares-for-a-week. But then again, what do you expect when you combine schizophrenics, dreams and a catastrophic device?
The presentation is the best I’ve ever seen in an anime. Period. Rich in color and subtle in lighting, Paprika hits the nail on the head with its astoundingly smooth animation. The reason why this movie was so well received in the West was probably because of its striking artwork, which stands out compared to the high-cost 3D works of Pixar and the like. The music was flawless and the OP had a nice beat to it. Overall, this movie is a technical masterpiece and one that the storyboard artists can proudly put on top of their resumes.
Paprika combines the randomness of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, the shock value of Baccano! and the creativity of Kon (Tokyo Godfathers, anyone?) and sugarcoats it with the anime industry’s best animation so far. Sadly, the movie is dragged down by an average story and an absurd plot, which is at times more insane than it is creative and ultimately, that is where this movie failed to make the top cut.
[ THE WRAP-UP ]
Paprika is just one of those movies that you will remember for a long time to come, not because of its quality, but because of its innovation. The story could’ve definitely been better and the plot occasionally relies on shock value to keep the viewer engaged. But guess what, it’s a lot of fun and one hell of a ride! Confusing and perplexing as the anime maybe, it is the wackiness and the “Kon touch” that keeps you entertained the entire time. The animation is, hands down, the best I have ever seen and the BGM fits in well. Paprika is a great movie, as long as you don’t expect something very logical or meaningful – it’s just 90 minutes of pure entertainment. As the title suggests, Paprika is quite a spicy one.
~I would also like to take this moment to pay homage to the director, Satoshi Kon, who passed away in early 2010 due to pancreatic cancer. I’m surely he will never be forgotten by any of us. Thank you for all the wonderful films – Arigatou Gozaimasta, Kon-sensei. ~
( As always, feedback of any form is appreciated. Thank you for your time ^^) read more
Sep 16, 2010
Of course, Paprika is far from a feature length music video, which is hardly surprising given its origins as a novel. The plot revolves around a device called the DC Mini, a device made by the eccentric, morbidly obese scientist Kosaku Tokita, that allows people to experience each other's dreams. However, the device is stolen, and starts being used to implant dreams in fully conscious people, causing them to go crazy. In effect, it's subconscious terrorism.
The characters in this film are of a surprisingly high quality. It's not often that a single film can make a particularly memorable character, but this is a feat that Paprika manages for every member of its cast. Every one of them is memorable and well fleshed-out, and no one character takes a back seat just for the sake of the lead getting focus. The main character, Atsuko Chiba, is an uptight, stoic businesswoman, but in her subconscious dreams she takes on an alter-ego, the titular Paprika, who is essentially the complete opposite of Chiba... quirky, vibrant, and fun-loving. Toshimi Konokawa is a detective who is an early patient of the DC Mini, who asks for Paprika's help in dealing with his nightmares of a murder case. Kosaku Tokita is the aforementioned morbidly obese scientist, a man with a childlike disposition that causes him to not think through the possible repercussions of his scientific advances. The wheelchair-bound chairman (I'm not sure if this pun was intentional or not) is a stern man who believes that dreams are sacred, and that science has taken a step too far.
One thing about this that's very much worth noting are the comparisons to recent blockbuster film Inception, and the claims that Inception ripped off Paprika. While there are some serious similarities that can be quite hard to chalk up to coincidence, most noticeably in the premise itself, and in a more specific instance the way certain characters are handled as well as a motif used to portray them (see the elevator scene in both films), neither film really comes off as worse for it. This is mostly because while the movies share similar themes, both go about it in completely different ways. While Inception runs with an airtight, professional system of rules and techniques that focus on the ways the dreams are hacked, and the ideas behind the titular technique of Inception, Paprika goes for a more surrealist, stream-of-consciousness style, blurring the lines between dreams and reality much like in previous Kon works like Paranoia Agent. As a result, while the argument that Inception ripped off Paprika does hold a fair amount of water, both films are still fantastic in their own right.
Going back to the subject of Susuma Hirasawa for a minute, his music is an absolutely perfect fit for Paprika, as it has been in previous Kon works. He's been compared to Danny Elfman in contrast to Kon's Tim Burton, in that the two of them, when working together, manage to create a bizarre marriage of music and animation, as seen in Paranoia Agent and Millennium Actress as well. Paprika, however, is probably the ultimate example, and is sadly the last, not counting the possibility of Hirasawa working on Kon's posthumous project The Dream Machine.
As for the other technical aspects, Madhouse deliver once again with the art. It's in the same style as Paranoia Agent, Millennium Actress and so on, and is produced to a high standard of fluid animation. The directing is unsurprisingly superb, blurring the lines of reality excellently, and creating fantastic, gleeful dreamscapes of derangedly cheerful imagery. The voice acting in the original Japanese is superb, bringing together numerous cast members of Evangelion again, and featuring a fantastic performance from Megumi Hayashibara as Chiba, and her alter-ego. The dub, while far from bad, doesn't really scale up. Cindy Robinson puts in a great performance as Paprika, but really can't cut it as her conscious counterpart Chiba. The rest of the cast, for the most part, seem very miscast. In fact, some of the performances in the dub are actually very good. In particular, Yuri Lowenthal's take on Tokita is absolutely dead-on. He captures many of the childlike nuances of his speech perfectly... and yet, his voice itself simply feels unfit to the role.
Overall, while mostly fantastic, Paprika does have a serious flaw. In its surrealism, it loses track of the plot. Whilst the plot is mostly strong, it can become more disorienting than simply bizarre, and especially towards the ending it loses track of what was happening in the plot. It seems quite strange that this would be the case, considering the source material... which may be worth checking out, if only to explain what happened in the ending. Even after numerous viewings, I honestly couldn't explain exactly what happened no matter how hard I tried.
Nonetheless, Paprika is something that absolutely has to be experienced because there is honestly nothing else quite like it. It's one of those rare anime that I would honestly recommend even to people who aren't anime fans. It's less in the vein of anime and more in the vein of surrealist films, but using animation in the perfect way to bring out the bizarre visions behind it.
Final Words: Whilst not quite perfect, it's an absolute sight to behold. An absolute must-see.
English Dub: 6/10
For Fans Of: Millennium Actress, Ghost In The Shell. read more
Jun 29, 2009
The first thing that struck me when I first heard of Paprika was the setting by which the plot evolved. It had dreams, consciousness and what defines reality as the basis for its story. I thought that most of these questions had been explored to exhaustion by many other anime and that this was going to be another one of many. I couldn't be more wrong.
I'll start from bottom to top. The soundtrack, praise to Susumu Hirasawa, stands on its own as a remarkable composition of music, unique in style and very well placed in the anime. It is very unusual, most of the instruments it uses you won't be recognizing and does well with voice distortion making it an enjoyable out of ordinary experience.
Well drawn, Paprika relies heavily on the visuals of the movie. The dialogues aren't very well executed and often are kept simple and direct, leaving the subtleties of philosophical questions, to the drawing and animations.
Every frame inside the realm of dreams (which you will keep questioning yourself whether it is or not) is well thought, and generally, every small object is full of symbolism. It is well polished, colourful, varied and will make it for a good experience as well.
After I praised the two strongest characteristics of Paprika, lets delve into the other equally important aspects, story line and character development.
As mentioned earlier, Paprika starts with a great premise: a device that allows whoever who uses it, to connect and explore the subconscious and dreams of other people. The movie starts when it is found out that someone outside the scientific research team has access to one of the devices. It then introduces different characters amongst which is the alter ego of the woman protagonist, Paprika which tries to find out whom it is. A psychological police trial, one could say.
The story is fast paced and doesn't leave any holes in it. However at the end, it may leave on you a feeling that more could of been done and that the ending was somewhat rushed.
Summing up, Paprika was a good surprise in many aspects, it could of been better, but stands amongst the crowd of many by trying to do something different. Recommended. read more
Feb 21, 2013
With the future of science being as advanced as it is, the development of a system where you can view and interact with dreams in real time called the "DC Mini", is being used as a psychotherapy tool.
But without limitations installed on the prototype models, they could be dangerous tool, if stolen.
That is sadly, exactly what happens.
The only one who can stop this is Paprika, a mysterious women who coincides in the body of Chiba Atsuko, the head of the DC Mini development team, along with the literally larger than life genius, Kosaku Tokita.
"Paprika" was originally a book written in 1993 by Yasutaka Tsutsui, who also wrote "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" in 1967. I have not read any of his books yet, but with the experience I've had with his writing so far, he's a very intelligent, imaginative writer.
This film being directed by the late Satoshi Kon, you will no doubt end up with quality product, this being the last film he directed, it's a nice good bye. We did end up with quality.
For character, Paprika and Atsuko Chiba occupy the same body. Paprika seems to have the ability to travel between dreams an reality.
Torataro Shima is a gifted psychiatrist who is supporting the "DC Mini" operation along with Morio Osanai, kind of an underling of the operation.
Seijiro Inui is the chairman of the Institute for Psychiatric Research where the DC Mini operation is being funded and taking place, and what he says goes. He's against the development of the DC Mini for the most part.
Toshimi Konakawa is a a cop, and a college friend of Shima's, and is under psychiatric treatment using the DC Mini, he's kind of a subject.
Kosaku Tokita is the genius who created the DC Mini. He is quite immature, he basically started this whole mess.
Homera Kei is a suspect who may have stolen the DC Mini prototypes, he was Tokita's friend.
The art in this picture is of high quality, which is something to expect by Satoshi Kon and his crew. There is some nudity in this production, that is basically it when it comes to obscenity in this film... Other than the messed up dreams of course.
You could show this film to a young adult.
The sound in this film is excellent. I seriously cannot get enough of Susumu Hirasawa, I thank Satoshi Kon for promoting him, as well and showing us this amazing composer and musician! The SFX are very imaginative and unique.
All of the seiyuu are excellent, nothing to complain about there.
This is an intelligent, imaginative film. It's nothing deep (Unless you want it to be), a very unique psychological thriller, except replacing all of the gore and mind games with crazy dreams filled with parades, butterflies, enchanted forests, gibberish, and a giant naked woman eating someone else's dreams (You'll just have to see it).
This is not a long film at all, 90 minutes in fact, the shortest that movies come. For that length, this is a film worth viewing.
I would recommend this film to anyone interested. In fact, I would recommend everything Satoshi Kon has created to anyone interested, he's that good. read more
Mar 16, 2008
It was confusing, it was sometimes funny, it sometimes made me wonder, "wtf is going on?", but at the end, it all came clear.
Story: 9/10. The story was DEFINITELY one-of-a-kind. I gave it a 9/10 because at times, it was confusing, but that just makes you want to finish watching it to completely understand the whole thing. It takes place in the near future, having things a bit more sci-fi than it is up-to-date, and the things happening and what the characters say symbolizes everything that was going to happen. It makes you think.
Art: 10/10. Not much to say, really. I thought the animation was well-done and the art was nice enough for me to enjoy.
Sound:: 10/10. Again, not much to say. The music fit well with all of the events that went on, and the opening and ending was nicely done.
Character: 10/10. I thought all the characters were definitely well-developed and all unique in their own way. They all had their own personality that made them different from each other, yet they were all in the same hole of the same problems.
Enjoyment:: 9/10. Honestly, I thought there were some parts that were a bit slow-paced and could have been better if it was faster, but I enjoyed this movie quite well and finished it thinking, "wow, I've never watched anything like that." It is definitely something people need to check out. I think Satoshi Kon is an amazing director. :) read more
May 14, 2009
Nov 6, 2008
Mar 24, 2013
Animation: 10 Sound: 9
The first point I have to make is that in terms of its sound and visuals, this film is a stunner. The main story line focuses on the use of a ‘DC mini’, a device that allows a person to enter the dreams of another. Paprika exploits its ‘dreamworld’ premise to the max in order to create some of the most eye popping, surreal and unique spectacles ever to grace the medium of anime. The soundtrack perfectly complements the visuals and builds the atmosphere of its world. From its whimsical opening track that plays while Paprika runs through the dream world, to the ominous tune that accompanies the parade, each track is perfect at sucking you into Paprika’s world.
Unfortunately, the music and visuals were the only thing that this film has going for it, because this film is all about style over substance and was dragged down by a poorly executed story.
The main story was supposed be a mystery thriller where the protagonists are forced to try and find and apprehend the dangerous thief who stole a DC Mini, but it was all over the place. It was full of clichés, plot twists that could be seen a mile away, character revelations that came out of nowhere and a romantic subplot that was so out of the blue, so ham handedly handled, and so implausible that it wins the award for being the most ludicrous pairing in any medium and yes, that include fanfiction. I am used to seeing awful pairings in films, but this one was so out of nowhere that it completely pulled me out of the story and left me stunned throughout the film’s climax.
It felt like it was trying to do too much in a short period of time, and sadly its detective Toshimi psychotherapy subplot (which is a problem in itself; a film with a complex plot and a 1 hour 30 run time does not have the time to expend on subplots) was more focused and engaging than its main storyline.
All this brings me to the film’s other big problem: the bad, bad characters. With the exception of the detective, all of them were completely flat and one dimensional; the manchild inventor was little more than a tasteless fat joke, Torataro was the eccentric Doc Brown type scientist in its most derivative form, the antagonist was boring, while the Paprika/ Atsuko character was supposed to be a conflict between a cold superego and a carefree ID, but unfortunately it was not well executed. The conflict was only really alluded to in a few dismissive sentences from Atsuko, so when it came to the inevitable confrontation between the two it felt forced and out of nowhere.
The dialogue was also a problem, as it was trying too hard to be wacky whimsical and as a result just ended up sounding forced . Its a pity, because if this film focused on the cop subplot, and maybe explored the divide in Paprika/ Atsuko’s personality more effectively , then I would be able to give this film the score that it deserves.
Beneath its stunning visuals, Paprika was sadly little more than a shallow, poorly executed mess. Yet in spite of its many shortcomings, this film has to be given credit. Even though Paprika failed in so many ways, the makers of this film obviously put a lot of effort into it and were willing to take risks and try something new. Personally, I would much rather watch a film that aimed high but missed the mark than see something safe and soulless with no higher aspirations than wringing money from the pockets of its target demographic.
Although the only way I’d ever watch this film again was with the sound muted and the OST playing continuously in the background, I don’t feel like I wasted my time watching it. I would definitely recommend checking out its amazing opening and its parade scenes on youtube and, If you’re the type of person who can look past its diabolical execution and enjoy it for its gorgeous spectacle, then I whole heartedly recommend giving this a film a watch and seeing what you think for yourself.
Jul 14, 2012
Once you've reached the, in my opinion mistaken, conclusion that absolute comprehension is unnecessary it might be a good choice to value the experience a complex movie provides rather than its explanations. In this sense Paprika is an undeniable success as it makes use of a concept we've encountered before, where the once unexplored landscapes of our dreams can be invaded after recent technological advances, to manufacture a story of originality and brilliance. Throughout the movie we get to follow the team of scientists who developed this technology as they are attacked by a dream terrorist who seems to have stolen a copy of their equipment. This results in outbreak after outbreak of severe psychological terror causing suicide attempts and downright disturbing behavior. Sounds interesting? That's because it most certainly is.
There can be no denial that Satoshi Kon has mastered the art of carefully structuring a narrative as he blessed his final work with enough psychedelic nightmare sequences combined with clever dialogue and a refreshing sense of humour to make it an incredibly memorable ride. Paprika breaks several clichés in its profound determination to entertain whilst telling an increasingly interesting and complex story in a creative and semi-experimental approach. Viewers are offered a gloriously surreal spectacle where dreams merge not only with other dreams but also with reality, resulting in an intellectual, if a tad incomprehensive acid trip of amazing proportions. Disappointed over not understanding the movie after the first watch? Don't worry, that is definitely to be expected. After several viewings though I'd like to add that Paprika despite popular belief does bother to explain its oddities in a relatively comprehensive language and the notion that it's too complex for its own good is one that I simply don't support. The fact that you'll need to re-watch it an unspecific number of times to get the gist of it might be considered a flaw in and of itself though. You make the call.
In the world of Japanese animation you'll find several collaborations that are as frequent as they are benevolent. The one between Studio Ghibli and composer Joe Hisaishi is one example but seems to fade in comparison to the splendid co-operation between Satoshi Kon and animation studio Madhouse. When Paprika was first released in 2006 it looked absolutely stunning and six years later it has maintained its ability to mesmerize in its visual appeal. As the key point of the entire movie itself the visual section seems determined to observe a landscape of dreams that constantly changes based on interior and exterior events which result in a disturbing and beautiful turmoil of bizarre proportions. Just like a character mentions in the later part of the movie, there are no boundaries in dreams, a statement that the entire movie exploits in frame after frame of surreal brilliance.
I really wish somebody had bothered to give Paprika a less introverted soundtrack. Admittedly, the common lack of attention-demanding music does work in favor of the atmosphere on a few occasions but some moments seem to demand a heavier instrumental focus to more properly enhance the suspense. Don't get me wrong, some scenes are complimented by interesting and memorable electronic compositions that fit in perfectly with the overall surreal approach, but judging the soundtrack in itself is a tedious chore because there isn't that much to speak of. Worth to mention though is that the voice actors maintain a relatively high quality that suits a movie of such top notch production values.
So far we've been talking about all the magnificent things Paprika features but now it’s time to actually mention some of its flaws. Most experimental features are so pre-occupied when it comes to featuring cryptic commentaries on the aspects of humanity and enhance their visual exhibitions further that they forget to place a heavier focus on characterization. Thanks to the terrific script, Paprika is almost able to escape from this curse as numerous dialogues explain characteristics in ways that almost replace direct development. One example includes one of the wheelchair-bound chairmen for the company that produced the above mentioned technology used to invade dreams.
As contrary to how a regular movie would make use of somebody in a powerful position this man seems to reject further technological advances that defile what he describes as the sanctuary of dreams. In other words he provides the moral value usually uttered by a main character only to metamorphose into a menacing antagonist who seems to have discovered the value of freedom he can only achieve in his dreams. Other examples include a surprising side story of a romantic nature and a dream world alter ego whose identity and relation to her realistic equivalent are shrouded in mystery. What needs to be said though is that all of this is based on minor implications gradually revealed throughout the story and while this in itself is an indication of skillful writing it doesn't entirely hide the fact that Paprika lacks the time to do things directly.
Despite a few flaws, Paprika is intelligent enough to rely more on its visual superiority to transcend what some might call the boundaries of storytelling, making it the perfect gateway drug for those who haven't realized what the medium has to offer. In its ability to fascinate and encourage additional viewings it stands out as a remarkable feature that more than anything else is a title well worthy of being the last creation of Satoshi Kon*. If you're looking for an intellectual but comprehensive, occasionally slow-paced but intense tribute to moviemaking and the abilities of humanity, look no further.
* Unless Madhouse actually manages to finish the movie he was currently working on before he died. read more
Sep 19, 2010
Upon seeing the poster, I knew this movie would be beautiful. The vibrant nature of the artwork in the dreams is a great contrast to the amount of grave danger the main characters often find themselves in. Beautiful red-headed, big-eyed Paprika is obviously also a nice touch.
I found the soundtrack to be very similar to that of Paranoia Agent. (Which I loved.) It's very open and whole-toney, a wonderful contrast to the dire consequences of failure.
The characters seemed a little one-dimensional, in my humble opinion, but that may have been because their minds were being intercepted half the time. It was difficult to keep track of who was friends, who was enemies, who wanted what, who was on whose side, etc. However, thus is the nature of life. I felt as though there was a lack of genuine character development by the end. Key word "genuine," because there was a clear intention to have the characters discover things about themselves.
This movie had an inviting atmosphere. You'll like it if you enjoy psychological thrillers and that weird, nonsensical stuff that sometimes goes on in anime. You know what I'm talking about.