Friday, August 24, 2012
Based on the story by Yasutaka Tsutsui(which weirdly enough was first printed in a French women’s magazine), was turned into the late Satoshi Kon’s most celebrated production. Even though it was done in 2006, this was the last full-length animated movie he completed before he passed away, but its influence has been far reaching, including allegedly Christopher Nolan’s thriller, Inception.
Set in the not to distant future, therapists are using a new invention called the DC Mini to monitor patients’ dreams, and sometimes actually enter their subconscious. Atsuko is an all-business psychiatrist on this project, and goes into people’s dreams in her secret identity, the energetic Paprika. Paprika is currently helping out the troubled police detective Toshimi with his anxiety complex, either through his dreams or a website which can somehow link patients to Paprika even without being hooked up to the DC Mini. However, some of the DC Minis are now missing, and its apparent that those working on it have become susceptible to it as they are now having their own dreams taken over causing them to go temporarily insane, and in some cases suicidal. The creator of the DC Mini is Tokita, an obscenely obese fanboy who you can’t believe actually made it into some of the places the movie shows him in, like an elevator or compact car. He has a serious chubby for Atsuko though. It’s revealed that the corrupt Chairman of the hospital is behind the whole scheme, along with his perverse partner Osanai. The major downside is that for some reason dreams and reality have now been put into a big margarita mix, and Paprika pulls a deus ex machina by completely sucking up the Chairman. The event really did happen as the city is damaged from the events filled with giant robots and people turning into walking appliances. The most reality-bending aspect of the whole movie is at the end when Atsuko plans to marry Tokita, even though how the hell they could possibly have sex on their honeymoon defies all anime physics.
This is one of the most mind-warping anime films ever made, it pulls some convincing fusion of the real world and dreams in ways Satoshi Kon did in Paranoia Agent, but Paprika takes it to levels only seen in productions like Spirited Away and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. There’s some great use of both generic and computer animation, although its got some serious mature elements to it which is definately not for kids. Its one of the few anime movies to be released in the States under an R rating. But if you have no problem with its more adult nature, then its definately one of the few anime acid trips that ultimately pays off.