Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Paprika (2006) dir. Satoshi Kon

Satoshi Kon is my favorite anime director - Perfect Blue, Millenium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers are all in my top ten favorite anime. I had been pretty disappointed about missing Paprika but finally sat down and watched it last night. Paprika is an excellent anime, on the par with Kon's other works and far superior to other releases I've seen in the last few years.
It's difficult to sum up Paprika - the official press kit synopsis reads:

Dr. Atsuko Chiba is a genius scientist by day, and a kick-ass dream warrior
named PAPRIKA by night. In this psychedelic sci-fi adventure, it will take the
skills of both women to save the world...
In the near future, a revolutionary new psychotherapy treatment called PT has been invented. Through a device called the "DC Mini" it is able to act as a "dream detective" to enter into people’s dreams and explore their unconscious thoughts. Before the government can pass a bill authorizing the use of such advanced psychiatric technology, one of the prototypes is stolen, sending the research facility into an uproar. In the wrong hands, the potential misuse of the devise could be
devastating, allowing the user to completely annihilate a dreamer’s personality
while they are asleep. Renowned scientist, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, enters the dream
world under her exotic alter-ego, code name "PAPRIKA," in an attempt to discover
who is behind the plot to undermine the new invention.

That's the long and short. Paprika is typical of Kon's work - you can analyze his movies until you don't know which way is up or you can simply enjoy the spectacle. The animation is top notch and Kon's art design is as strong as ever. Susumu Hirasawa's score is exceptional - a blend of atmospheric electronics, classical elements, and some bizarre techno-layering that gives Daft Punk a run for their money.

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