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  • Paprika (Anime) Review

    Paprika Anime Review

    Paprika

    Movie

    Aired Nov 25, 2006

    Madhouse

    Rated R

    Wow. After I finished watching this tripping and amazing anime movie, I was a little stunned. This was definitely one of those unique and spectacular movies that leave a mark on you for a while afterwards. I honestly didn’t even know what to think after seeing this movie. What the hell did I even watch? Did I even like the movie? After the effect died down, I realized I did quite enjoy the movie, even though it was confusing and weird most of the time. My memory began to piece what happened in the movie back together and I was starting to figure out what the whole thing was about. The story itself isn’t that convoluted or complex, but just odd and pretty fast-paced. The cool art style, interesting story, and different character all made watching this anime a blast. Paprika felt like some big and weird dream. This anime combined the lucidness of the dream world into reality itself. Sort of like your Japanese Inception anime in a way. All the weird mind trips in the movie gives you a stunned like feeling afterwards. Even the soundtrack contributes to that. This anime definitely does a good job of being surreal throughout. Paprika gave you a very interesting and unforgettable experience while you were watching it. It goes into the concepts of dream and reality. Most of all, it’s simply a fun, interesting, and different anime movie to watch. Kon, Satoshi did a lovely job of writing the story of this anime. He is well known for his works of blurring the concept of reality. Paprika will sure linger with me for a while to come. Time to get down to the details of this surreal movie.

    Story of Paprika

    (9/10)

    The story of Paprika can be a rather simple, yet complex story at that same time. A group of scientists have developed a dream machine that can record dreams for the patient to look back at them later. The use of this machine is for psychiatric therapy, even for the completely insane ones. They’re hoping that they’ll find some meaning of the subconscious and help them out. However, problems begin to arise with the dreams leaking out into the real world and there is a desperate scramble to find the person behind this dream terrorism. People who have used this dream machine start to lose track of reality and their brain enters a dream like state. In their eye’s they could be following a parade of colorful and odd animals, but in reality they are jumping out of a window. You could see how this would cause major problems for everybody, along with mass panic.

    Two people that use this dream machine are focused on throughout this anime. There names are Paprika and Konakawa. Paprika is the dream world version of this brilliant scientist name Chibo. Paprika is basically her alter-ego. Chibo is usually calm, collected, and sort of a introvert in the real world. However, Paprika is energetic, talkative, and basically the polar opposite of Chibo. Paprika tries to help Konakawa with his problems throughout this movie. I like how this anime looks into our dreams, what they could mean, and maybe find your true self in them. Eventually, Konakawa finds the meaning behind his strange and seemingly unconnected dreams, thus helping him solve problems in his life that he needed to work out.

    There are several arguments about who the dream terrorist could possibly be. It’s a big mystery, and it seems that they will have enter the dreams to find the truth behind this chaos. A lot of things happen during this movie, but I don’t want to give spoilers, so I’ll do my best to sum it up. Paprika and Konakawa continue to work together in their dream world, despite the warning concerning the dream device. At one point, Chibo actually gets caught up in one of these dream illusion things, but manages to escape. Paprika gets in serious trouble, the dream terrorist does more wide-scale things to reality, and more chaos/craziness/general trippiness happens. I love everything that went on in the anime pretty much. It was all very fascinating and I think contained many metaphors and analogies to our lives.

    Now, the ending to this anime was actually the ending that it deserved. I was afraid that it would pull off some stupid and crappy ending that doesn’t even make any sense at all. But, no, the ending was a perfect ending for this anime. It had an epic action scene, some deep moments, and wrapped up the story well. I couldn’t wish for a better ending to the movie. The ending made me smile, sit back, and realize how much I loved this anime.

    This story always kept me attention, making wonder what was going to happen next. There were not that many twists at all, but the action and the plot still kept me drawn in at all times. I felt that the characters kept the plot moving forward too. There wasn’t one moment where Paprika ever felt slow or dragged on. In fact, it was quite the opposite. One of my only few and minor complaints is that the story seemed a little rushed at times. I felt that the movie would’ve been better off if it had been split into two parts. At times, there was just a lot going on. If it had been split into two parts, there would’ve been a lot more time for character development, less rushed plot, and a little more enjoyable overall. Otherwise the story was amazing and great. This is just a minor, minor, minor complaint, by the way.

    I often hear this story compared to Inception. Now, I think it’s fine if you compare this movie to the movie, but if you say Paprika or Inception copied off on another, that’s stupid. It’s hard to find a truly original work in this world. Everything is bound to feel sort of similar after a while. It’s only a matter of statistics and how many people there are in the world. I guess you could say that Paprika is sort of Japanese Inception, but please don’t say one copied off another. That just annoys me.

    All the events that happened in this story all seemed chaotic in a way (similar to a dream), yet connected each other in some way to form an interesting and captivating story. That’s what I love about Paprika. It takes the craziness of dreams and makes a fairly comprehensible story. This movie had fun being creative and used the power of animation to draw all these beautiful, cool, and spectacular scenes. It was quite amazing to just sit back and look at the beauty of it all. This movie even went into some deep concepts of reality and dreams. Paprika had an amazing story that didn’t fail to entertain and surprise me.

    Putting it all together, I think Parika deserves a 9 out of 10 for the story score. Maybe a little rushed and convoluted at times, but still amazing. Had fun with the movie, along with exploring a human’s subconscious mind. Paprika kept me enthralled with its action and wondering what could possibly happen next. Just a story that is enjoyable all around.

    Characters of Paprika

    (9/10)

    The characters are odd in a way. This movie doesn’t get you too attached to the characters, but I do realize that they are excellent characters. Their minds are explored throughout this anime. I enjoyed seeing how each character would react to all the events that were happening around them and how their secrets would be explored. Thankfully, none of them were annoying or excessively stupid. I especially enjoyed seeing the comparisons between Paprika and Chiba. It shows how a  person can truly be and feel different deep down inside. I felt like the characters were developed well in the short time that they did have to explore the character. You could see all the different sides to each of them. The characters weren’t made to be likeable to the whole audience. I think they were simply unique, but deep in their own way. I wish that the movie could’ve been longer to learn more about all their pasts. Overall, the characters in Paprika were great.

    Chiba, Atsuko

    Chiba is an intelligent and clever woman. She is also the head of the creators of the dream machine. Together, she and Konakawa use the dream device in secret, as it’s not supposed to be used on anybody quite yet. Most of the time, she is reserved and always appears to be thinking hard about something. It can be really difficult to understand her. Chiba doesn’t really like to crack jokes that often or goof around, especially when there is work to be done. Needless to say, she is also a focused and hard worker. I admire her for being so determined all the time. It’s nice to see a character that won’t give up easily. She likes to follow the law, but in the end, she’ll do what she thinks is right. Sometimes she doesn’t think of what the consequences could be. If she does screw up somewhere along the way, she’ll do her very best to fix whatever probably is at hand. Chiba is cool and collected most of the time, but isn’t totally emotionless like Sasuke. I thought she was an interesting and fleshed character for the movie.

    Paprika

    Paprika is Chiba’s alter-ego. It was shocking to see how different they were. Paprika is bubbly, open, talkative, and likes to mess around a little. Basically, they’re two different people. Paprika appears whenever she’s in a dream. I honestly liked Paprika better than Chiba. Chiba always seemed way too stiff, while Paprika was free spirited and just willing to roll with whatever life threw at her. She is quirky in a lot of ways. It’s hard for me to describe her character, as you would need to watch the movie to understand her. I thought she was a unique and fun addition to the show. It really was fascinating to see the difference between Chibi and Paprika. People can feel really different in their soul, I suppose. The movie explored the character of Parika very well in my opinion. She was as well developed as Chiba.

    Konakawa, Toshimi

    He is my favorite character out of the four. His backstory, secrets, and personality are explored throughout the movie. It was fun to get to know him more and more as the story progressed. He can be quite at times, but loud and emotional at other times. Paprika was helping him figure out the meaning behind his dreams, which I found was a fascinating topic to delve deep into. Do our dreams actually reveal what’s bothering us? Or are they just random? The story definitely presented the first opinion strongly. His character changed throughout the story as he learned more and more about himself through the dreams. He was just an interesting character all around. I greatly enjoyed having him in the movie.

    Tokita, Kosaku

    He’s the geeky and fairly awkward type. As you can tell from the picture, he’s fat. Tokita always feels insecure throughout the movie, but Chiba helps him with it. He’s a nice guy most of the time, but can still be reckless and obnoxious. He was also working on the dream device with Chiba and her crew. He’s also clearly anxious and uncomfortable at times, especially when the dream device goes haywire. I wish there could’ve been a little more to him, but he was still a cool guy. He thinks a lot like Chiba does. He’s a hard worker most of the time. He has a tendency to freak out when things go wrong, but that’s understandable. He was my least favorite character, but still a thought out one.

    Sound of Paprika

    (9/10)

    I actually really enjoyed listening to the background music of Paprika. Some songs were just so memorable and pleasant to listen to. I especially enjoyed listening to Shizuku Ippai no Kioku, even though I’ll admit it sounded a lot better when the movies was playing with it. All the songs that were played during the movie all felt quirky and different, much like Paprika herself. At times, I play a few of these songs as background music. All the songs were wonderful. My only complaint is that there should’ve been more.

    The voice actors were awesome. All of them sounded very much in character. They all put lots of effort into their voice acting and they never let me down once. My favorite ones was the voice actor for Paprika and the voice actor for Konakawa. They were both so good. I really don’t like the English voice actors for this one. They all sounded so flat. Only one or two sounded okay. Please watch the Japanese dub. It’s so much better.

    Other sounds in Paprika were good too. It brought you into the environment and they weren’t lazy with the sound. The sounds of the dreams were well illustrated too. Combine with the songs, it worked quite fine. Good job on the sound overall, especially the songs.

    Art of Paprika

    (9/10)

    The art of Paprika was great along with everything else about this movie. I loved the amazing and fluid animation; especially during the parade scenes. It was just so magnificent. It wasn’t the most amazing artwork ever, but it was still spectacular and breath taking at times. I think that the animators really took their time animating some scenes. There were some situations where everything was extremely chaotic, but the art made it so you could still understand what was going on while at the same times being beautiful. I never felt that the art was clumsy or cluttered, which was really pleasant to watch. It also stayed consistent throughout. Nice shading, colors, and style. The art was always stylized, smooth, and looked nice. Overall, great artwork that didn’t seem too artificial.

    Enjoyment:

    (9/10)

    I loved watching this movie the whole time. I didn’t feel bored at any moment of the show, which was great. It was one of those movies that kept you captivated throughout. When there wasn’t some action going on, the movie would still entertain you with the interesting characters and the intrigue behind the plot line. Everything just made this show so fun. It always had this quirky feel behind it. I especially enjoyed the moments where the explored the inner workings of their dreams. That was always fascinating and kept my attention, wondering what would pop up in the dream next. I actually wished the movie was a little longer to explore more things and maybe have some more character development. That would only make it even more entertaining. The ending was also a really exciting piece to the film, but I won’t spoil that for you. This movie did a good job of being creative and lots of fun to watch.

    Final Notes and Overall Rating of Paprika

    (9/10)

    Paprika was a great movie to watch and enjoy. The interesting and fun story, elegant art style, and deep characters made the movie a solid one for sure. If you haven’t watch Inception before this, you’ll be even more blown away by Paprika. I wish the movie was a bit longer to explore some of its themes and characters more deeply, but that is the only real fault I could see with this movie. I had an excellent time watching this and I’m sure if you decided to pick it up, you will too. It may be confusing at first, which may make you annoyed and disappointed, but it eventually makes perfect sense in the end. This movie isn’t the best anime movie in existence, but it sure does a good job still. For anybody who liked this movie, I recommend more of Satoshi’s works, as he does a brilliant job of making you question what reality truly is. And that is always an interesting topic to explore.

    All in all, Paprika was a solid 9 out of 10 for everything. I really does everything quite well, which is rare for an anime to be this balanced all across the board. The character Paprika brought something to make this movie stand out from Inception. This movie is a lot of fun to experience and see where it will take you. Everything is done amazingly well and it makes a great movie to watch on a rainy day. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a good day.

    ~TheDragonStar