Saturday, August 12, 2017

Manic Red-Haired Dream Girl

Paprika (2006) is a pretty kooky anime. It's got a complicated story and psychedelic visual style. Wait, that's a normal anime.

A red-headed girl called Paprika is inside police detective Konakawa's dreams, helping him with his anxiety dreams. It transpires (although it is never quite explained) that Paprika is the dream avatar of Dr. Chiba, a dark-haired, severe, Nagel-type beauty. Along with fat man-boy Tokita and gnomish Dr. Shima, she invented the device that lets them enter people's dreams. Two problems: it's use is illegal (so her therapy sessions with the detective aren't sanctioned) and 2. The device has been stolen.

As Dr. Shima explains it, this miniaturized device, the "DC Mini" can control the dreams of anyone, anywhere at anytime, and then ice cream dolls, the refrigerators and microwaves join the parade, and ... He goes a little mad in the middle of the discussion and jumps out a window. It seems that he has been DC Mini-ed.

The story is about how this team finds who stole the DC Mini and gets it back before the whole world goes mad in their dreams. But what it's really about is crazy dream sequences of Japanese dolls, kitchen appliances, schoolgirls with cellphone heads, frogs and more in wild profusion.

The story in the "real world" (which can be a little vague) is a bit confused, or just plain weak. The detective's dream plot doesn't really get resolved. Dr. Chiba is alternately scornful and loving to "I eat everything" Tokita-san, for reasons that aren't clear to me (although Japanese anime fans might get it). In the finale, Dr. Chiba/Paprika conquers with a technique that clearly should have been Tokita's. Oh well, you don't watch anime for the story. At least we don't.

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