April 17, 2008
Netflix DVD
Japanese / English
90 Minutes
Animation / Mystery / Sci-Fi
Satoshi Kon

This is your brain on anime.

Impossible to categorize (is there any other kind) anime about a dream machine which can capture dreams and record them on computers to be analyzed later. It seems that someone evil is placing people in other people’s dreams until everyone ends up in the same huge scary, yet creative, dreamworld. Because half of the story takes place in the characters’ dreamstates, the anime is used to great effect. People’s faces can melt, a hottie can turn into a scary dragon, people can fly, etc. When I was younger I’d probably assume that the filmmaker was complete high while making this film. But now I just think that there’s a collection of incredibly creative people in Japan that can somehow put down on film the wacky images they see in their heads.

There is a parade that is part of everyone’s dream that includes such a wide variety of objects that it can scarcely be believed. China dolls, the statute of liberty, teddy bears, robots, godzilla, the gates to a temple, umbrellas, confetti, and literally hundreds of others. Like the guy looked around a child’s room and brought everything to life.

A detective uses the dream machine to solve a case, the scientists use it to understand the mind, and evil men use it to control the thoughts of the whole world. The Paprika of the title is some kind of alter-ego cute 20ish pixie who can be summoned up to help within dreams. Sort of a Japanese animated Lola from Run Lola Run.

A feast for the eyes.

8.1 Metacritic
7.7 IMDB


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Written by Michael W. Cummins