Satoshi Kon’s Japanese 2006 animated (anime) film Paprika may seem quite familiar in that it spawned a live action adaption you may already be familiar with in the sci-fi genre. The story is not filled with the standard American cliché such as action or espionage or even tries carry linear path to an end game. Chicago Reader’s writer and critic Andrea Gronvall stated Paprika is, “The intersections between sleep and waking, memory, cinema, and the internet lead to a spectacular battle of titans who spring from the mind’s darkest recesses”. The film explores the idea of people sharing a dream and having the capability of entering somebody’s unconscious mind. This film important to the sci-fi because take on a different approach to plot, musical approaches, and public reaction that sets it apart from the American sci-fi genre.
Straightaway, there is a realization that this film’s plot takes place in these interconnected dream worlds, where the dream and reality ripple across one another. The film Paprika based on the Yasutaka Tsusui 1993 novel of the same name, follows the protagonist Dr. Atsuko Chiba, top of her field in the revolutionary new dream therapy treatment with experimental deceive called a “DC Mini” which allows her to illegally treat her patients through their dreams as her alter ego Paprika until the deceive is stolen due to opposition in order to stop the advancements of the new technology. Dr. Chiba will now work with the second protagonist Toshimi Konakawa, police inspector, and one of her patients to try to catch the thief. In Inception, the plot focus is on the thief, Dom Cobb, who specializes in corporate espionage trying gain back what was lost by performing one last inception regain his wife and children.
The film has rather dark concepts; Paprika, which is more complicated without the sense of romance. Paprika is not all misery and doom though but is a magical film and the dreams have a much more child-like. Paprika’s plot is amazing yet confusing in that it raises more questions than answering them. Paprika paints a rather vague picture of how the thief is able to enter and steal the dreams of people due to the multiple entry points that are used and not just the deceive itself. Not only does the plot contrast but also the music which shows how the mood and progression affect the outcome of the film.
Next, the catchy and yet popular techno tracks of Paprika soundtrack was composed by famous Susumu Hirasawa, a Japanese electronic artist, and composer. The soundtrack is significant for being the first made for a film to use a popular computer application synthesizer program developed by Yamaha, Vocaloid for some computer generated vocals. The second track of the film “Mediational Field,” best represents the film which is completely catchy and is repeatedly used during the parade scenes. Not only does the reputation of the music to be able to progress the films but the public reaction to the film is most important.
Lastly, the film received positive reception of the film yet the public reception that the film should really receive its deserved praise. Paprika is very vivid and unusually complex which is implied, where the lines between the dream and reality are blurred which confuses most the audiences. According to a French magazine Excessif, Christopher Nolan has cited Satoshi’s Paprika as an influence in which prompted the idea of Ellen Page’s character as a vital piece to his 2010 feature film, Inception. Chicago Sun-Times writer and critic Roger Ebert said, “Inception does a difficult thing. It is wholly original, cut from new cloth, and yet structured with action movie basics so it feels like it makes more sense than (quite possibly) it does.” At the box office, Paprika grossed in the U.S. 45,429 versus in Japan’s box office 6,789,700 yen (72,069.95 USD). It has a Metascore of 81 based on 26 critics and scored a 7.6 on IMDB.com. Later, the 2010 film Inception is even caught for using multiple scenes from Paprika like the scene where Ellen Page’s character touches the glass wall and it shatters, which also takes place in Paprika with Chiba’s alter ego. The fact that this film actually did so well at the box office and received great critical reception but only that Inception made more than double of what Paprika made and yet the audiences and fan bases are at odds when comes which made better film due to very similar visual effects that seems to be going toward Inception as their clear winner so far.
In conclusion, the film shares many comparisons yet the film does contrast in the plot, musical style and of course public receptions. Due to the cinematography and the fact that both of the films featured a device that allowed a person, or people, to travel into another’s dreams and dive into their subconscious maybe the reason why inspired films like Inception. America views of a movie are more inclined to a logical well thought out film rather than a story without much progression or unclear objective than other countries like Japan. It’s clear that this film goes in into a different direction spawning new ideas, but has a uniquely different conscience. It is clear the audience decision that this film set itself apart.
Paprika. Dir. Satoshi Kon. By Satoshi Kon, Seishi Minakami, Brian Beacock, Doug Erholtz, and Michael Forest. Sony Pictures Classics, 2007. DVD.
Inception. Warner Home Video, 2011. Film.
Le Vern, Romain. “Inception Par Christopher Nolan : Interview, Références, Indices…” TOUS DROITS RÉSERVÉS. N.p., 4 Sept. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.