- by Satoshi Kon (last film before his death in 2010)
- based on same name novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui (1993)
A window in the human psyche can be made by the world of dreams. With the development of a small device called “DC Mini”, the deepest desires, memories and even repressions can be revealed. To investigate the dreams of other people, Atsuko Chiba and Kosaku Tokita are working on that device to find a cure and help for people who suffer from psychological disorders. In fact, the entrance in someone’s mind and deep memories also carries a huge responsibility. In wrong hands, the device can be used as psychological terrorism and mental breakdowns. Along with Officer Konakawas help, Atsuko and Kosaku are searching in the dream and real world to find the culprit who is responsible for the strange behavior of the people.
The anime movie has a unique concept: It sets you thinking. A technology which allows you to enter the dreams of other people to help them to overcome their problems. This is an interesting technology which has the ability to break the boundary between dream and reality. In addition, the different locations and things used in dreams are very interesting and amusing such as the melting of various dreams. However, the movie also shows how such a technology can be used as a dangerous weapon when it gets in wrong hands: Terrorists who try to rule the real world through the dream world. They irritate people’s mind in a horrible manner so that some even commit suicide such as jumping out of the window.
One can say that the focus of the anime movie is on the following topics: the positive and negative aspects of science and technology. In the world of dreams, you can unwrap a new identity and so you can be who you want such as mermaids, Pinocchio and fairies. However, the negative side of the development of such technologies is the abuse and the fatal consequences of it.
Many elements of science fictions are included in the movie because it is located in the future. The most dominant elements are the DC Minis which are used to enter the dreams of people. Nonetheless, at some point, you can not tell if it is a dream or not: Once the characters themselves think that they are awake but in reality they are still dreaming. A further future related element is the development of the communication over the Internet, it is more intensified.
Next, the characters are a negative aspect of the movie. They do not show any depth or background story. You do not get any insight into their private lives because you only see them at work. Therefore, we might think that the containing of too many characters might be a reason for the lack of background information.
The art of ‘Paprika’ is not bad, however it is not the style of animation we really like. The dream elements are very well depicted and also the smooth transitions from the dreamworld into the real one are quite good. We think that the character design could have been a bit more beautiful and appealing. Nonetheless, the emotions and expression of feelings are good depicted. We also like the inclusion of movie posters of Satoshi Kon’s major anime films such as ‘Perfect Blue’, ‘Millenium Actress’ and ‘Tokyo Godfathers’. In addition, the soundtrack is not bad even though it is not our taste we think that it perfectly fits in the movie.
All in all, ‘Paprika’ is a bit confusing at the beginning due to all these new technologies but it gets more and more interesting. The story has a good flow and we really like the dream worlds. It is a very creative idea for an anime movie: a detective movie mixed with science fiction. A lot happens within 90 minutes and therefore the movie was not bad. However, we do not intend to watch it again.