Genre: Mystery / Drama
Length: Film
Rating: 12 for nudity
Score: OK

A new device allowing people to enter each other’s dreams and record the result promises great strides for psychotherapy. Even though it’s yet to be approved, some of the researchers are secretly offering the service to a few clients, including Atsuko Chiba under the alias (or avatar) Paprika. But when one of the researchers walks off with three of the prototypes, they threaten to allow terrorists access to the mind of anybody using the device. Now Atsuko and her team must find out who’s taken the devices and what they’re planning.

First questions first: if you’re going to watch this film, watch in HD if you can. The visuals are big and beautiful.

The plot is interesting, with an idea similar to Ghost In The Shell’s of hacking into people’s minds, but on the much more subconscious level of dreams. Unfortunately, like previous films by Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress) it has a bad habit of blurring boundaries and veering into the indecipherable. This gets most problematic towards the end, where “reality and dreams merge” and it kind of gives up on making sense. They never touch on how the device is supposed to work, which is a good thing because if they did it would be scientific nonsense. I can’t speak for you lot, but my dreams are sufficiently strange, abstract and synaesthetic that I can rarely even describe them, never mind render them in clean, mutually-intelligible HD video. Given the format of film, it does a fairly good job of depicting dream landscapes.

This is a good film to show to beginners, as it provides a gripping experience and great visuals. Experienced anime watchers with developed tastes in storytelling will likely find it a bit disappointing.

A note on the rating: while it does briefly contain full frontal nudity, it’s of a grown woman and handled in a non-sexual fashion that I think is quite acceptable for most teenagers. The dream imagery is also freaky at times, but again largely non-sexual.