Anime – Paprika [REVIEW] – This Is Your Brain On Anime

MyAnimeList Rating: 8,12/10
Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery, Dementia, Horror, Psychological, Thriller, Fantasy
Studios: Madhouse
Author: Yasutaka Tsutsui (Story), Reiji Hagiwara (Art)
Seiyuu: Megumi Hayashibara, Akio Ootsuka, Toru Furuya

This is a movie that’s said as an inspirational from Christopher Nolan in making Inception which is the best sci-fi film of this decade. Paprika is also Satoshi Kon second movie which I’ve watched and his last masterpiece before he died. It can be said, Satoshi Kon is one of the famous directors with his expertise in making an anime with brilliant artwork to the details of it. In addition, he always shows a story that is still fresh, complicated, but interesting to follow it entirely. He is also known for his expertise that combines reality and hallucinations between stories and characters. Paprika is also like that, no exception to deal with them.

Paprika GIF

“Paprika,” tells about a world where dreams can become a world that can be changed, memory, and make it as things you like. ‘Mini DC’ is a device that can enter one’s dream into another dream. Atsuko Chiba (Megumi Hayashibara) and Kosaku Tokita (Toru Furuya) have been worked hard to develop this technology with the hope that people can make it as a therapy which can cure a person’s mental illness. However, the deeper into a person’s dream there will be great responsibility and consequences. Falling into the wrong hands, this technology used as a material of terrorist in order to bring down someone’s mental. When the technology was stolen and the people around them went insane and crazy, Atsuko and Kosaku knew how serious this was. With the help of a Konakawa officer (Akio Ootsuka) who also underwent the therapy, they sought the presence of the terrorist in the real world as well as in the dream world.


The story consists of three major characters: Atsuko Chiba, Torataro Shima, and Kosaku Tokita who worked on a psychiatric research foundation and failed to keep a device they created. This device can enter a person’s dreams, explore their subconscious and the three of them must know who the mastermind behind it. Just read by the synopsis, it’s not kinda interesting to tell the story in front of it but not the whole. The story’s presented with the same premise with Perfect Blue that combines a reality and fiction. For me, the story doesn’t seem as non-linear or complicated as presented by Christopher Nolan’s Inception. But, the more you watch it the more interesting because we don’t know also how to distinguish dreams within the reality. Sometimes we think of it as the real world but is the opposite. Not too complicated to me, nothing is too exaggerated but there is something that makes me want to see it more, especially on the story about Toshimi which is always whirling on the top. When the beginning of his impression, he didn’t belong into the story and not too obvious to get into the main story but the further it actually becomes closer to the main character and story that initially has no relationship at all into a story that is focused on him. The story is not too devoted to people who are still laid but more focused for you who like Hollywood movies with a complex story. Not to non-linear but it’s interesting to understand it.


The art is excellent to blend a reality into a more vivid image. In terms of character, background diversion, a dream scene, this is why Satoshi Kon is considered one of those who successfully changed the anime. The animation and art are very brilliant to make in terms of this anime that can be said as the best of all. A world which created by Satoshi Kon himself managed to pull the audience into his world. The atmosphere that he built is very strong because of it’s over the realism of when it uses a location that looks similar to the real world. One of the best thing in this aspect is also when Satoshi Kon incorporates two things into one where we don’t know if this is a dream or a reality. It’s about using your imagination instead of following the story. Excellent editing for Satoshi Kon with astonishing cinematography and graphics. Can’t believe this is made by Madhouse who also worked on Perfect Blue and Mousou Dairinin, another Satoshi Kon’s other works. The soundtrack and music are so great if you wanna hear it again from all sides. Susumu Hirasawa composes it so well that every scene always invites some intense with scenes that are disturbing and confusing. The opening theme song reminds me of the song called “Baba O’Riley” by The Who, one of my favorite British classic rock bands ever. For the seiyuu are great too especially Megumi Hayashibara who plays two characters with two different personalities, a little spoiler in here.


The characters are sometimes good at the right times but sometimes vice versa. The characters introductions are still very weak, though I hear the novel is worse than the anime. The antagonist also has a bad script in being a villain because they are only seen from one perspective only so it looks boring. There is no obvious reason why he did this and that. The explanation of the major character’s background is still questionable and there are no feelings at all, some of the characters are putting each other’s feelings but it’s back because on top of all is not really developed. Konakawa is the best character of all although he initially impressed not too important for the main story. However, he is the one who recognizes the background, the feeling, and the character so that this character is more sympathetic than others. But overall, Satoshi Kon doesn’t want to make this anime like cheesy considering he wants to make his own world which is mindblowing and memorable. It’s worth watching and I don’t think there’s any more to say about this anime considering it was made by one of the legendary directors that ever existed. Paprika is a mindblowing anime that creates chaos in your head. Some people who watch this movie more than once though not complicated as Inception. I think the story is very easy to comprehend if you always focus on each frame. The art is great, the music, the soundtrack, but the characters that have a little lack but are not overly noticed by people because they consider it not very important when a story succeeds in inciting one’s mind into the artificial world of Satoshi Kon.

Paprika is one anime with the director’s imaginary world that he raises up. Sometimes, your mind is needed to understand what is really going on so you must also be able to make each interpretation. It’s Madhouse Studios that creates some achievement that people can get out there. The animation can spoil your feelings, the music is good and the position is so good, but the character is one of the lacks that must be fixed. Somewhat it’s slightly predictable in some scenes and sometimes an awkward little romance also make this anime break up little by little. Bottom line, it’s worth watching since you watch Inception because these two movies will make you mindblowing.


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