Satoshi Kon directed Paprika (Japanese: Hepburn: Papurika), a 2006 Japanese animated science fiction psychological thriller film. The film is based on Japanese author Yasutaka Tsutsui’s 1993 novel of the same name. Before his death in 2010, it was Kon’s fourth and final feature picture.
The script was co-written by Kon and Seishi Minakami, who also wrote for Kon’s TV series Paranoia Agent; Masashi Ando (known for Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Your Name) directed the character design and animation; Susumu Hirasawa composed the music; and Nobutaka Ike, who has worked on all of Kon’s works, was the art director.
Madhouse, a Japanese animation studio, directed and produced the film. Megumi Hayashibara, Tru Emori, Katsunosuke Hori, Tru Furuya, Akio Tsuka, Kichi Yamadera, and Hideyuki Tanaka were among the Japanese voice actors.
A dream terrorist steals a technology that lets others to share their dreams, causing nightmares for others, and a study psychologist enters the dream realm and transforms into Paprika, a dream detective, to investigate the cases.
On November 25, 2006, the film was released in Japan, and on May 24, 2007, it was released in North America. It was also a part of the 63rd Venice International Film Festival’s competition. The critical response was overwhelmingly favourable.
A Cast of Characters
Doctor Atsuko Chiba (Chiba Atsuko-hakase), an attractive and humble psychiatrist and researcher at the Institute for Psychiatric Research, is played by Megumi Hayashibara. Under the pretence of her alter persona Paprika, she uses the DC Mini to heal her clients in their dreams (Papurika). Cindy Robinson plays Chiba in the English dub.
Doctor Ksaku Tokita (Tokita Ksaku-hakase), an obese child-at-heart genius and the developer of the DC Mini, is played by Tru Furuya. He is Chiba’s closest ally, despite her icy treatment of him. Tokita affectionately refers to Chiba as “Atsu-chan.” In the English dub, Yuri Lowenthal plays Tokita.
Doctor Toratar Shima (Shima Toratar-hakase), a cheery and affable chief of staff at the Institute for Psychiatric Research and an ally of Atsuko Chiba, is played by Katsunosuke Hori. In the English dub, David Lodge plays Shima.
Detective Toshimi Konakawa (Konakawa Toshimi-keiji), a friend of Shima and a client of Paprika, is played by Akio Tsuka. An anxiety neurosis has left him plagued by a reoccurring dream. He has a thing for Paprika. In the English dub, Paul St. Peter plays Konakawa.
Doctor Morio Osanai (Osanai Morio-hakase) is played by Kichi Yamadera, a researcher and colleague of Atsuko Chiba who is actually assisting Inui in his wicked intentions. He adores Chiba to the point of obsession. In the English dub, Doug Erholtz plays Osanai.
Guy is played by Hideyuki Tanaka.
Satomi Krogi is a Japanese doll who appears in the novel several times.
Kei Himuro, a buddy of Tokita’s and a suspect in the DC Mini heist, is played by Daisuke Sakaguchi. In the English dub, Brian Beacock plays Himuro.
Doctor Yasushi Tsumura is played by Mitsuo Iwata.
Doctor Nobue Kakimoto and Rikako Aikawa play two scientists who are victims of the DC Mini thief.
Kuga is played by Yasutaka Tsutsui, the author of the novel on which the film is based.
The filmmaker, Satoshi Kon, plays Jinnai, two bartenders who befriend Konakawa.
What Is Paprika and What Does It Mean?
It’s tempting to dismiss the titular persona as Doctor Chiba’s dream alter-ego, but it would be underestimating her. Paprika acts as a sort of guardian angel to Chiba on several occasions, keeping her safe when she would otherwise fall victim to individuals infected by the dream.
A better description would be that she is a split off form of Chiba herself. This splintering isn’t restricted to Chiba alone, as Detective Konakawa demonstrates at the end of the film, and it begs the question of whether everyone has this split mind inside them.
The film is both unsettling and entertaining in its exploration of the human mind. The tale and scenes are wonderful.
Paprika is a mind-blowing experience that rarely makes sense but never ceases to astound.
I gave it 4.5 stars because if you don’t stick to the tale, you’ll get bored and lose track quickly.
In the not-too-distant future, a newly developed technology known as the “DC Mini” will allow users to view people’s dreams.
Doctor Atsuko Chiba, the head of the team working on this treatment, begins using the machine illegally outside the research centre to help psychiatric patients by assuming her dream world alter-ego/other personality “Paprika.” Doctor Toratar Shima, the department’s chief, and Doctor Ksaku Tokita, the DC Mini’s inventor, are two of Chiba’s closest allies.
Detective Toshimi Konakawa, who is disturbed by a reoccurring dream, seeks advice from Paprika. She hands Konakawa a card with a website address on it. The DC Minis lack access controls because they are incomplete prototypes, allowing anyone to enter another person’s dreams, which has serious ramifications if they are stolen.
Shima goes on a rambling rant and nearly kills himself by jumping through a window. Tokita identifies his assistant, Kei Himuro, in Shima’s dream, which includes a parade of random objects, confirming their hypothesis that the theft was an inside operation.
When two more scientists are killed by the DC Mini, the company’s chairman, Doctor Seijir Inui, who was initially opposed to the technology, outlaws its use. This does not stop the frantic parade from claiming Tokita, which is now within Himuro’s dream.
Himuro is merely an empty shell, as Paprika and Shima learn. The real villain is Inui, who believes that with the help of Doctor Morio Osanai, he can protect dreams from human interference through dream therapy.