Paprika (パプリカ Papurika?) is a 2006 Japanese animated science fiction film, based on Yasutaka Tsutsui's 1993 novel of the same name, about a research psychologist who uses a device that permits therapists to help patients by entering their dreams.
The film was directed by the late Satoshi Kon, animated by Madhouse Studios, and produced and distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The film's music was composed by Susumu Hirasawa, who also composed the soundtrack for Kon's award-winning film, Millennium Actress, and equally lauded television series, Paranoia Agent.
In the near future, a revolutionary new psychotherapy treatment called dream therapy has been invented. A device called the "DC Mini" allows the user to view people's dreams, exploring their subconscious thoughts. The head of the team working on this treatment, Doctor Atsuko Chiba, begins using the machine illegally to help psychiatric patients outside the research facility, using her alter-ego "Paprika", a persona she assumes in the dream world. The movie opens with Paprika counseling Detective Konakawa Toshimi, who is plagued by a recurring dream, the incompleteness of which is a great source of personal anxiety for him. This type of counseling session is not officially sanctioned, so Doctor Atsuko Chiba and her associates must be cautious that word does not leak out to the press regarding the nature of the DC Mini and the existence of Paprika. Her closest ally is Doctor Kōsaku Tokita, a morbidly obese child-at-heart genius and the inventor of the DC Mini. Unfortunately, before the government can pass a law authorizing the use of the device, three of the prototypes are stolen. Because of their unfinished nature, the DC Minis can allow anyone to enter another person's dreams, giving the culprit an opportunity to get away with all sorts of malicious deeds. Almost immediately, the chief of the department, Doctor Toratarō Shima, goes on a nonsensical tirade and jumps through a window, nearly killing himself.
Upon examining Shima's dream (which consists of a lively parade of inanimate objects, instrument-playing animals, and various cultural icons), Tokita recognizes his assistant, Kei Himuro, which seems to confirm their suspicion that the theft was an inside job. After two other scientists fall victim to the DC Mini, the Chairman of the company, who was against the project to begin with, bans the use of the device completely. This fails to hinder the crazed parade, which manages to claim Tokita and intrude into Konakawa's dream. Paprika and Shima take matters into their own hands, and find that Himuro is only an empty shell. Tracing the "roots" that controlled him, Paprika confronts the Chairman, who claims that he is in fact the "protector of the dreamworld", guarding this last haven against the inhumane horrors of reality and technology. He is aided by researcher Doctor Morio Osanai, who agreed to give the Chairman his body and become the Chairman's lackey as long as he retains equal powers over his own dreams. Paprika is eventually captured by the pair after an exhausting chase. Paprika wakes as a butterfly pinned to a table in a room surrounded by pinned butterflies. There, Osanai admits his love for Chiba, and literally peels away Paprika's skin to reveal Chiba underneath. However, he is interrupted by the outraged Chairman who demands that they finish off Chiba; as the two share Osanai's body, they battle for control as they argue over Chiba's fate. Konakawa enters the dream from his own recurring dream, and flees with Chiba back into his. Osanai gives chase through Konakawa's recurring dream, causing Konakawa to realize that his recurring nightmare and anxiety result from his guilt that he never finished the film he was making with a friend. He decides to "finish the film" and take control of the dream by shooting Osanai. The act actually kills Osanai's physical body with a real bullet wound.
Dreams and reality have now merged. The dream parade is running amok in the city, and reality itself is starting to unravel. Shima is nearly killed by a giant Japanese doll, but is saved by Paprika, who has become an entity separate from Chiba thanks to dreams and reality merging. Amidst the chaos, Tokita, in the form of a giant robot, eats Chiba and prepares to do the same for Paprika. The Chairman also returns in the form of a living nightmare, reveals his twisted dreams of omnipotence, and threatens to darken the world with his delusions. A ghostly apparition of Chiba appears and reveals that she has in fact been in love with Tokita this whole time and has simply been repressing these emotions. She comes to terms with her own repressed desires, reconciles herself with that part of her that is Paprika. Paprika returns to Tokita, throwing herself into his body. A baby emerges from the robotic shell and sucks in the wind, aging as she sucks up the Chairman himself, becoming a fully-grown combination of Chiba and Paprika. In this new form, she is able to consume the Chairman's dream form and end the nightmare he created. In the final scene, Chiba sits at Tokita's bedside. Konakawa and Shima leave the two as Chiba puts her hand in Tokita's. As Konakawa and Shima walk down the street, Shima asks if Konakawa ever figured out the meaning to all this. Konakawa, turning to his reflection and seeing the figure of his film friend, realizes that he in fact became the character from their original film: the cop. Konakawa visits Paprika's website and receives a message from Paprika: "Atsuko will change her surname to Tokita... and I suggest watching the movie Dreaming Kids." The film ends as Konakawa purchases a ticket for the movie.
- Megumi Hayashibara (Cindy Robinson in the English version) as Doctor Atsuko Chiba (千葉敦子博士 Chiba Atsuko-hakase?), a psychiatrist who treats her clients inside their dreams under the guise of her alter ego Paprika (パプリカ Papurika?).
- Tōru Emori (Michael Forest in the English version) as Doctor Seijirō Inui (乾精次郎博士 Inui Seijirō-hakase?), the chairman of the Institute for Psychiatric Research and the main antagonist of the film.
- Katsunosuke Hori (David Lodge in the English version) as Doctor Toratarō Shima (島寅太郎博士 Shima Toratarō-hakase?), the cheerful and friendly chief of staff at the Institute for Psychiatric Research.
- Tōru Furuya (Yuri Lowenthal in the English version) as Doctor Kōsaku Tokita (時田浩作博士 Tokita Kōsaku-hakase?), a morbidly obese child-at-heart genius and the inventor of the DC Mini.
- Akio Ōtsuka (Paul St. Peter in the English version) as Detective Toshimi Konakawa (粉川利美探偵 Konakawa Toshimi-tantei?), a detective haunted by a recurring dream that stems from an anxiety neurosis.
- Kōichi Yamadera (Doug Erholtz in the English version) as Doctor Morio Osanai (小山内守雄 Osanai Morio-hakase?), a colleague of Atsuko and the secondary antagonist.
Other voice talent includes Satomi Kōrogi as a Japanese doll that reappears throughout the film, Daisuke Sakaguchi as Kei Himuro, a friend of Tokita and a suspect in the theft of the DC Mini, and Mitsuo Iwata and Rikako Aikawa as Doctor Yasushi Tsumura and Doctor Nobue Kakimoto, two scientists who fall victim to the DC Mini thief. Yasutaka Tsutsui, the author of the novel the film is based on, and Satoshi Kon, the director of the film, provide the voices of Kuga and Jinnai respectively, two bartenders who befriend Konakawa.
The world premiere of Paprika took place at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2006. The film screened at the 44th New York Film Festival, playing on October 7, 2006. It competed at the 19th Tokyo International Film Festival from October 21—29, 2006, as the opening screening for the 2006 TIFF Animation CG Festival. It also competed in 27th Fantasporto from February 23 to March 3, 2007. It was shown at the 2007 National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., as the closing film of the Anime Marathon at the Freer Gallery of the Smithsonian, and at the 2007 Greater Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival. It played at the Sarasota Film Festival on April 21, 2007, in Sarasota, Florida. Additionally, it was shown at the 39th International Film Festival in Auckland, New Zealand, on July 22, 2007, and was shown as the festival traveled around New Zealand.
The film saw theatrical releases on November 25, 2006.
In the United States, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group had considered to only give this film a straight-to-DVD release or a four-wall theaterical release, but the group finally opened the film in limited theatrical release in the United States on May 25, 2010 through Sony Pictures Classics.
The Anime News Network gave the film a perfect review of A+ in every category. The American DVD and Blu-ray Discs were released on November 27, 2007. The region 2 DVD has ARccOS copy protection enabled on it.
In the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, reviewer Andrez Bergen wrote: "The film rates as the most mesmerizing animation long-player since Miyazaki's Sen and Chihiro's Spirited Away five years ago, and Kon exhibits an equally playful willingness to pitchfork the texture of the more dramatic moments. Am I gushing yet? Add to this some stunning background art, peerless integration of 2-D and 3-D animation, and some wonderful character designs by Studio Ghibli regular Masashi Ando. But Kon's forte is in the surreal interaction of reality and dreams—which often drift into nightmares."
Criticism of the film tended to centre on its confusing plot. Rob Nelson of The Village Voice wrote that Paprika "isn't a movie that's meant to be understood so much as simply experienced - or maybe dreamed."
A live action adaptation, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, is in production.
In popular culture
- The South Park episode, Insheeption, has Stan's dad, like Paprika, turning into a butterfly.
- "NO ROOM「HIRASAWA三行log「お姉さんを磨け」」" [No Room "Hirasawa Three-Line long 'Refining the Elder Sister'"] (in Japanese). Chaos Union. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Eureka December 2008 Special Issue: Entire Feature Hatsune Miku" (in Japanese) (15). Seidosha. December 12, 2008: 60. ISBN 978-4-7917-0187-2.
- "Venezia 63 - In Competition...". ...Biennale Cinema... 63rd Venice Film Festival... la Biennale di Venezia. p. 2. Retrieved 2006-08-17.
- Eric J. Lyman (2006-07-28). "Five U.S. films in Venice fest competition". The Hollywood Reporter. VNU eMedia, Inc. Archived from the original on 2006-10-20. Retrieved 2006-08-17.
- "amimecs TIFF 2006 TIFF Animation CG Festival (provisional title)". 19th Tokyo Internation Film Festival Press Conference. Tokyo Internation Film Festival. 2006-07-31. Retrieved 2006-08-17.[dead link]
- Justin Sevakis. "Paprika review". Retrieved 2006-09-28.
- "Paprika - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
- "Paprika (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
- "Results of 6th Annual Tokyo Anime Awards Out". Anime News Network. 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- Paprika review, Andrez Bergen. Yomiuri Shimbun, November 25, 2006.
- Rob Nelson, Kon's Cure for Cinema, The Village Voice, May 15, 2007.
- "Elijah Wood Q+A". Retrieved 2009-09-11.
- "Time Out 50".
- "Bloody Monday Manga Creators Draw Inception Film Poster".
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- Paprika official U.S. website
- Official page at Sony Pictures Japan
- Paprika at the Internet Movie Database
- Paprika at Rotten Tomatoes
- Paprika at Metacritic
- Paprika at Box Office Mojo
- Paprika at Allmovie
- Paprika (film) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia