Stephen reviews: Paprika (2006)

paprika-movie-poster-2006-1020689313Paprika [パプリカ] (2006)

Starring Megumi Hayashibara, Tohru Furuya, Akio Ohtsuka, Daisuke Sakaguchi, Katsunosuke Hori, Kouchi Yamadera, Toru Emori, Akio Ōtsuka, Hideyuki Tanaka

Directed by Satoshi Kon


The final film of Satoshi Kon’s is something of a combination of all his previous ones. It has the reality warping confusion that characterizes his usual style, and it blends both the lighthearted cheer of Millennium Actress with the despondent terror of Perfect Blue, then adds in quirky-but-loveable characters like Tokyo Godfathers.

The standout feature of Paprika is its sci-fi premise. The plot revolves around a new device that lets you jump into other people’s dreams (just like the later film Inception would do). It was developed by a psychiatric research team for treating patients, but someone stole the thing and is using it for mysterious terrorist activities. But the science in this film is just there to trick you into thinking Paprika is a science fiction film. Once you peel back the layers, however, you find that it’s actually compete fantasy, and the weird stuff going on by the end of the film just can’t be explained by the device alone.

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Stephen reviews: Blue Gender: The Warrior (2002)

bluegenderthewarrior_1Blue Gender: The Warrior [ブルージェンダー ザ・ウォリアー] (2002)

Starring Kenji Nojima, Houko Kuwashima, Katsunosuke Hori, Hisayoshi Suganuma, Akimitsu Takase, Chizu Yonemoto, Eiji Itô, Hiroshi Isobe, Hisanori Nemoto, Jōji Nakata, Nobutoshi Kanna

Directed by Koichi Ohata


What we have here is another compilation film that splices together scenes from the TV series to make a feature from the scraps. This of course means that the story is a bit disjointed, but really it’s no more so than films like Fist of the North Star or X: 1999 which did reanimate the story from scratch. What this also means is that the animation is TV-series quality. It isn’t really impressive for TV either, so its quality is noticeably different from other anime films.

A long time ago I tried to watch the TV series of Blue Gender. I don’t remember quite what turned me off to the series, but I remember thinking it was generic and kinda boring. Of course, I’ve learned since then that all anime series take at least the first episode, usually longer, to get going. Watching The Warrior I found that the story did take some interesting turns even though its initial premise looked like any other giant mecha anime with monsters overrunning the Earth.

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