Director: Satoshi Kon; Main Cast (voices): Megumi HayashibaraTôru FuruyaAkio ÔtsukaKatsunosuke HoriKôichi Yamadera;


Brilliant psychiatrist Chiba (Hayashibara) helps people with dream therapy using a new device, the D.C. Mini, designed by her genius colleague Tokita (Furuya). This new machine allows not only to enter someone else dreams but also to record them. Chiba is determined, dedicated and a little aloft and, with her boss Shima’s (Hori) blessing, she treats patients using the D.C. Mini outside a sanctioned project of the Foundation for Psychiatric Research. Her fun-loving easy-going dream alter-ego, Paprika, is currently aiding detective Kowaga (Otsuka) working through his issues, visiting a recurrent dream of his about an on-going case. Unfortunately, Chiba,  Tokita and Shiba realise that a D.C. Mini has been stolen from the research centre and the thief is using it to enter people’s minds, when awake, and distract them with their own dreams and those of others. Mayhem ensues and the boundary between dream and reality starts to fade. What follow is a desperate search for the culprit: the trio of scientists uses all their knowledge and, aided by detective Kowaga, put together the pieces of the puzzle.

The viewer is treated to incredibly rich and absolutely nuts dream sequences (as all dream are!).  They are integral part of the investigation offering both clues and red herrings. They also are more and more intertwined with reality as the film progresses. The result is stunning: it feel like a roller-coaster and a merry-go-around ride at the same time, without detracting from the smooth flow of the plot. I particularly liked Kowaga’s dreams, full of film references and homages, quite a treat for a movie buff!  The animation is nothing less than top notch and it appears to be the perfect medium for such a story. I doubt that a live-action version would have been this lavish and outlandish. I know some might say that Inception did that but we are not even close. It is interesting, however, the parallel on useful technology turned into a weapon and the need for exploring and understanding one’s subconscious.

Sadly this is the last gem of Satoshi Kon’s short filmography. I do recommend watching his other films: Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress and Tokio Godfathers.

Mesmerizing —9/10

This is my contribution to the Movie Scientist Blogathon: the Good, the Mad, the Lonely hosted by Christina Wehner and Silver Screenings, go and check all the other entries out!

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Filed under Animation, Seen at home

9 responses to “Paprika

  1. Amy K

    I remember we saw this for the first time together at SIFF! We loved the opening sequence; I still listen to the song (which I bought immediately on iTunes). Your post definitely makes me want to watch all of Satoshi Kon’s films again…

  2. Dreams…crime…investigations…the blurring of reality? What an irresistible combination…and sounds like it would create a very layered affect as far as plot. Japanese anime is not something I am familiar with, but this sounds like a great introduction.

    I’m so glad you could join in!

  3. I caught this last year. It was shown on Film 4 on TV. It is completely spellbinding, with visuals like an acid trip. Unforgettable, but not for the faint-hearted!
    Best wishes, Pete.

  4. I’ve never seen a Japanese anime film, but this looks like a good place to start. I’m intrigued by Kowaga’s dreams that are brimming with film references. Sounds intriguing! Filmmakers are often at their most creative when depicting dreams, and I bet this film is an excellent example of that.

    Thanks so much for joining the blogathon, and for bringing this movie with you! 🙂

    • I’m sure you would enjoy this one. Kowaga is a movie buff himself with a penchant for noir 🙂
      Thank you for organising this blogathon with a very inspired theme.

  5. Pingback: Movie Scientists Blogathon Day 1 Recap – The Good | Christina Wehner

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