Pure Asian Entertainment: Film, TV, Anime & Manga

An Anime and Manga movie directed by Satoshi Kon

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"The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of"

  • Dec 20, 2007
  • by
(4 1/2 *'s) `Paprika' totally changed the way I feel about anime'. My exposure to the comic book art form has so far been a cursory one. I was first introduced to anime' on the book shelves in public school libraries. I asked students to fill me in on the nature of a medium they almost singularly have made their own. I then saw portions of it from `Adult Swim' on the Cartoon Network and a short scene inserted in Tarrantino's `Kill Bill, Vol. 1'. My first full anime' feature came this year with `Hellboy' Hellboy - Blood and Iron (Animated) where I discovered beyond a limited budget, anime' could create an atmosphere. With wolves sporting glowing eyes and a gothic nuance, it started to make sense to me.

`Paprika' proves first and foremost that anime' can be a legitimate portal that can take us to new and adventurous places. Since imagination is the sine qua non of any cinematic endeavor, `Paprika' wins on many levels.

`Paprika' is a surrealistic mind-bender. Watching the movie is a visual treat, and the only movie close to comparison is `Through a Scanner Darkly,' which was done by Linklater's rotoscope technique and was not an anime' feature. Delving into the world of dreams and tapping into some computer graphics, 'Paprika' is a hybrid combination of anime' set in motion like a computer game.

The plot reminded me of the wealth of science fiction of the sixties. What if we had advanced technology, and what would be the horrible consequences? We don't see much of that anymore. In near future Japan, a "DC Mini" has revolutionized the world of psychotherapy. Looking much like a laptop, it records dreams through electrodes. At the beginning the titled character is a member of the psychological institute. She is working with Mr. Konakawa, a homicide detective, and both see the recording of his dream. He is hooked up to the DC Mini, and Paprika tries to use it to unlock some secrets in his troubled past.

Soon we discover that Himuro, alleged to be a psychological terrorist, has stolen the DC Mini and is misusing the machine to manipulate people's thoughts and dream patterns. Tragically, we see the institute's chief commit suicide when the device fools him into seeing things that aren't there. From there we don't know when the dream life begins and ends. People use the portal to try and find who the real abuser is, save the mini from being terminated by the powers that be, and correct the abuse. During the investigation, we come across D.C. Mini inventor, Tokita, who had ties with hacker Himuro, but we see him lose control of his own creation. "Implanting dreams in another's head is a form of terrorism," he aptly says. Too bad he didn't invent proper controls for his wonder invention. In the meantime, Mr. Konakawa brings a crime investigation element to the story through his own inner journey.

Thoroughly original, 'Paprika' is an intriguing and visually arresting ride through the dichotomies of appearance and reality, dreaming and consciousness, and the blessings and curses of technology. I would have given full five stars to 'Paprika' if it weren't for the ending, which I didn't think was a major letdown, but didn't offer a destination worthy of the journey. All things considered, 'Paprika' stands as the 'Alice in Wonderland' Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation of anime' adventures.

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More Paprika (movie) reviews
review by . July 04, 2011
posted in ASIANatomy
I first saw Paprika last summer when a good friend of mine strongly recommended the works of Satoshi Kon to me and after gazing at the anime titles he made, Paprika grabbed my eyes the quickest given its trippy imagery and description, so I bought it on Amazon and am extremely glad to have seen it because it's one of the most enriching and creative titles I've ever seen in the medium.      STORY      In the near future, a huge advance in psychotherapy …
review by . November 24, 2009
posted in ASIANatomy
The film is set in the "near future," and the film's plot revolves around a psychotherapy treatment called dream therapy. Dream therapy uses a device called a "DC Mini," which allows the user to view other people's dreams. However, this technology has not been announced to the media. It turns out that three DC Mini prototypes have been stolen, and the protagonists of the story must find out where they went, as well as for clues to figure out what exactly is going on. As the film progresses, the …
review by . November 26, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
A group of scientists invent a device that allows a therapist to enter into her patients' dreams. The only problem is, three of the devices have been stolen, and, worse, the safety controls are off -- which means that the perpetrator can enter into anyone's consciousness and alter their perceptions. Very soon it becomes difficult to discern where dreams end and reality begins.     This blending of dream and reality is the basis for some of the richest works in the history of …
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John L. Peterson ()
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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About this movie


Based on a novel by the noted Japanese science fiction writer Yasutaka Tsutui, the brilliant and unsettling featurePaprikacontinues director Satoshi Kon's exploration of the disturbingly permeable boundaries between dreams and reality. Techno-geek Kosaku Tokita invented the DC Mini to allow therapists to enter a patient's dreams and explore his unconscious, but an evil cabal uses the Mini to create a mass nightmare that causes multiple suicides. Psychotherapist Atsuko Chiba uses her alter-identity, "dream detective" Paprika, to intervene. Entering the nightmare, she witness a bizarre parade of appliances, toys, and kitsch objects: All of her intelligence and imagination are needed to escape this nightmare and its perpetrators. As he did inMillennium ActressandParanoia Agent, Kon effortlessly carries the audience between reality and fantasy, confirming his reputation as one of the most talented and interesting directors working in animation today. (Rated R: violence, violence against women, grotesque imagery, alcohol and tobacco use)--Charles Solomon
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Director: Satoshi Kon
Genre: Animation
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2007
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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