Paprika (パプリカ) is a Japanese science fiction animation film, based on the novel with the same name written by Yasutaka Tsutsui, the Japanese literacy master. The movie was directed by Satoshi Kon, a famous Japanese animator known from his previous works including Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers, chronologically, the former two being the first two films of his acclaimed “dream” trilogy while Paprika is the latest and final film of this trilogy. As the name implied, it’s all about dream.
The story takes place in the near future when a new psychotherapy treatment has been invented. It’s now possible to enter into people’s dream and explore their unconscious thoughts via a device called DC Mini. In the final stage of its research, the prototypes are stolen from the laboratory, creating mayhem to all personnel involved in the project. Dr. Atsuko Chiba, a 29-year-old genius scientist who is a member of the research team, has to use her alter-ego code name Paprika, who presume the form as a kick-ass and attractive 18-year-old girl, to dive into the realm of the dream and find out who is behind this uproar.
The animation in this film is top notch and eye-popping especially those of the dream sequences. With a thin line between dream and reality, the story might be hard to understand at first. However, once you could follow Paprika’s action, the plot is easily deciphered. The film contains heart-throbbing action as well as intelligent script full of unexpected twist and turn plot. The upbeat music used in the film goes along perfectly with the stunning visual effect of the animation.
All in all, this film is a fine quality animation from Satoshi Kon. With a combination of complex storyline and powerful imagination, Paprika is definitely a psychological science fiction film that would satisfy those who love the genre by using the animation to transfer the limitless world of dream.
4 Stars out of 5 – recommend to Japanese animation fans who also want to exercise their brain power. It’s definitely not for children.