Saturday, 24 January 2015

Review: Paprika (2006)

Paprika (2006) is a 2D Anime created and directed by Satoshi Kon. Kon built his way up into the industry after graduation, being the runner up in the 10th Annual Tetsuya Chiba Awards and becoming Katsuhiro Otomo's (directed Akira) assistant, and later writing scripts for him. Kon has always been interested in mixing real life issues/situations and blending them with warped and fantastical animation. As it is evident in his previous work ‘Perfect Blue’ (1997) where a young celebrity is stalked by a fan. The plots in his films are gritty and real but they have a sinister charm because they’ve been portrayed through anime, something that seems fun is actually quite disturbing; a clown after midnight. Within Paprika the main voice actor is Megumi Hayashibara, at the time of Paprika she was the most prolific voice actor (over 180 credited) and ranked third place in the whole of Japan. Tôru Furuya voice acted Tokita; an overweight genius, he too was popular but had his reign earlier, particularly in the later 80’s version of popular show Dragon Ball Z. Overall, Paprika claimed a whopping seven wins and four nominations including the Tokyo Anime Award.

The plot of paprika is a little hard to follow but essentially is about a small device where therapists can enter their patients’ dreams, to help them understand why they are dreaming particular things and uncover anything secret. However, the device has been stolen and is being misused for indecent purposes, only Paprika, a female therapist can put a stop to it. Helping her is a solidary detective, with an unsolved murder mystery case and an eccentric scientist who knows too much for his own good.

This film tries to achieve an understanding of a dynamic and difficult theory of our subconscious and dream state. As it is portrayed through anime the ludicrous happenings are more accepted from an audience point of view but in the same breath as some scenes are particularly uncomfortable the anime style makes it doubly disturbing because of all the bright colours and hand drawn animation, we commonly associate that style with a much younger audience, as if were watching a banned cartoon. However, it did display beautiful and energetic animation which was done superbly and the music definitely screams Japan culture. Therefore, I would recommend Paprika but prepare to have mixed feelings after the viewing.

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