This last year, anime director Satoshi Kon passed away. Today we’re going to take a look at his last film, 2006’s Paprika.

Cast and Crew

Megumi Hayashibara as Dr. Atsuko “Paprika” Chiba
Akio Ohtsuka as Toshimi Konakawa
Daisuke Sakaguchi as Hajime Himuro
Hideyuki Tanaka as HIM
Katsunosuke Hori as Dr. Torataro Shima
Kouichi Yamadera as Dr. Morio Osanai
Tohru Furuya as Dr. Kosaku Tokita
Toru Emori as Dr. Seijiro Inui
Yasutaka Tsutsui as Mr. Kuga
Satoshi Kon as Mr. Jinnai

Directed by Satoshi Kon
Screenplay by Satoshi Kon and Seishi Minakami. Adapted from a Novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui
Music by Susumu Hirasawa
Animation by Madhouse

Available from Amazon.com (DVD, Blu-Ray), and RightStuf.com (DVD, Blu-Ray)

The Premise

Dr. Atsuko Chiba and Dr. Kosaku Tokita work for a major research facility and have developed the “DC Mini”, a device that allows psychotherapists to dive into patients dreams and examine them, to assist in treatment. While waiting for final approval on their device, Chiba has been secretly treating a detective named Toshimi Konakama under the identity of “Paprika”. When three of the devices are stolen, and several of Chiba and Tokita’s collegues are attacked by bizarre waking dreams that put them in the hospital, they must discover why the world of dreams has started interacting with the world of reality.

High Points

This film uses foreground and background action to wonderful effect. This probably the most technically sophisticated animated films I’ve seen from an animation standpoint.

The story is also incredibly well written, and the moment where Chiba realizes that she’s still in Inui’s dream is absolutely fantastic, and a wonderful “Oh, crap” moment. As is the first appearance of the Giant Doll in the real world.

Low Points

Good betrayals in films are ones that the audience can see clues to on a second viewing. Osanai’s betrayal doesn’t have that. It’s very out of the blue. Maybe if we saw him with The Chairman a little more often it would have made more sense.

Content Notes

There is some blood here, but not a lot of it. There is some nudity and sexual content here, though it’s predominately limited to a couple scenes.

Scores

Originality: This is an adaptation of a pretty original novel, though it takes a few liberties with the source material. In the original, Chiba and her Paprika persona never meet in the combined Real World-Dreamstate. 5 out of 6.

Animation: This movie looks amazing. From the opening credits to the Dream Parade, to all the wonderful little background touches. This is one of the best animated films I’ve ever seen. 6 out of 6.

Acting: The acting in the film is very good. Megumi Hayashibara has always done fantastic performances, and Tohru Furuya & Akio Ohtsuka put a lot of personality into their characters as well. 4 out of 6.

Story: The film’s story is fantastic. Even though my low point is certainly a flaw with the story, I had to spend a good 10 minutes trying to think of a low point before I came on that one. 5 out of 6.

Emotional Response: I never really felt a lot of suspense in the film. I found humor in the moments that were supposed to be humorous but the film felt more like a ride then most other anime films I’ve watched. 4 out of 6.

Production: The film has one of the best soundtracks of any anime film I’ve ever seen. Everything in the real world makes sense, and even the dream realm has its own little logic to it. 5 out of 6.

Overall: This is the best anime film I’ve ever seen. 6 out of 6.

In Total, Paprika gets 35 out of 42.