The Animoo

PaprikaIn the not too distant future, a device called the DC Mini was, which allows the people wearing them to share their dreams, is invented. However, it ‘strayed’ from it’s intended romanticised course, and was put into use as part as a psychotherapeutic treatment called dream therapy. However, before it could be authorized by the government, three unfinished DC Minis are stolen and a series of acts of dream terrorism set it, showing the dangers of the DC Minis, when in the wrong hands.

The fate and sanity of the world now lies in the hand of Paprika, a rogue, female character who uses a DC Mini to perform unauthorized acts of dream therapy, as well as her most recent ‘patient’, police detective Toshimi Konakawa.

The Boring Info

The anime is about 90 minutes long and is based on the 1993 novel of the same name. It later spun off a manga series.
The author of the novel, Yasutaka Tsutsui, voices one of the bartenders in the anime.
During the end sequence, where detective Konakawa goes to the cinema, the movie posters seen above the ticket stalls are all of anime directed by Satoshi Kon, who was also director of Paprika. The only exception is the movie the good detective actually goes to see.

The Characters

In snack-sized bits. Images to come at a later time.
Atsuko Chiba – The leading authority in dream therapy and the true identity of Paprika. She seems somewhat cold and ever sardonic at times, and unable to commit to her feelings and let loose, which is where Paprika, the ‘spice of her life’ (har-di-har-har), comes in.

Kōsaku Tokita – A morbidly obese genius, who is a child at heart, and a bit on the naïve side. He is the inventor of the DC Mini, but while having a brilliant mind, he is unable to comprehend that his actions have consequences, which leads to a lot of trouble.

Toratarō Shima – The chief of the department researching and developing the DC Minis and, in extension, dream therapy. He is one of the few who knows of Chiba’s identity as Paprika, and one of the first to fall under dream terrorism.

Morio Osanai – Chiba’s co-worker who has a giant crush on her, but at the same time feels inadequate and has an inferiority complex towards her.

The Director – I don’t think he was ever name, and if he was, I forgot it. He sees dreams as something of humanity’s “holy ground”, and therefore hates the DC Mini project with a vengeance, since he considers entering the dream world unnaturally as sacrilege. And I think he’s a major fan of Charles Xavier (If you like X-Men, you’ll get the joke when you see him…)

Toshimi Konakawa – A police detective with a recurring nightmare he doesn’t understand why he is having. He hears about Paprika from Shima, who is his old school buddy, and enlists her help in trying to figure out what his nightmare means.

The Opinion

I had many expectations about this anime, since I heard from both Madhatter and South Korea that it was made of awesomesauce with a cherry on top, and in all honesty, it truly is.

Visually, it was just breath-taking. Being something of a fantasy anime, it really had a lot of room to work with, and it fills out the space wonderfully with beautiful scenic backdrops and successfully fluent changes between the scenes, not to mention the keen sense of detail. And for those of you who only have one kind of visual in mind, yes, there are boobie scenes…

Audio-wise, it is just as awesome. Paprika has probably the best soundtrack of any animated film I have seen thus far. I still prefer “Cry” by Big Life from the Japanese soundtrack of Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie over any of the songs from Paprika, but as a whole, Paprika’s soundtrack is far, FAR better.

In terms of plot, I have mixed opinions. It is very straight-forward, simple, and easy to follow, which is good, but you don’t get any background story of the characters, the technology (and its political issues), the process, or anything of the sort. Everything is pretty much just dumped on you and it is expected that you’ll just “get it”, which actually sucks quite badly, since it means you can miss a point entirely if you weren’t paying attention at some critically important time.

The only other bad thing I can say about the story is directly related to how the anime just tosses you into the story without any explanation. There is actually a love story mixed into everything, but you won’t know until the last 5-10 minutes were it is exclaimed that “she’s finally being true to her feelings“, which is the only hint you as the viewer will ever get of this relationship (until everything is explained on screen, of course). But it just seems rather forced and makes it stick out in a sorta bad way, which is what makes me wish they wouldn’t have added it. I can only assume that it actually made some sort of sense in the original novel, but that due to time or financial restraints, it was just screwed over in the anime.

All in all, it’s a visually superb anime with an awesome soundtrack, and it is WELL worth watching just for this, as the plot as seen in the anime is kind of thin despite its great concept. I think it would have done better story-wise as an eight episode OVA of 23-28 minutes per episode, rather than a single movie of only 90 minutes, but that’s just me. But nevertheless, I recommend watching it.

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