Anime that melts in your mind, not in your eyes.
March 5, 2007 12:08 AM   Subscribe

Paprika. (warning-flash, nsfw) If you've seen the bizarre anime series Paranoia Agent, you've been exposed to the genius of Satoshi Kon.

His latest project is generating enormous buzz--now that an American release for it is finally due in May.
Comments by reviewers seem to agree that it is ten times weirder--and cooler--than Paranoia Agent. The American trailer, at least, is an eye-popper. One note: if you often fall from great heights during your nightmares, you might want to skip this movie. (via)
posted by metasonix (30 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
With any luck, it won't completely fall apart like Paranoia Agent did. I liked PA but it definitely blew it towards the end.

I like the trailer, though.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:12 AM on March 5, 2007

Paranoia agent had a really sweet opening sequence. The series was worth it just for that.

I watched some of it on Cartoon network, a few episodes, but I don't think the full show came anywhere close to the intensity of the opening sequence. It seemed sort of meandering and meaningless, maybe it was one of those things you really need to watch from the beginning.
posted by delmoi at 12:20 AM on March 5, 2007

If you need a little more brain-frying, here
is a Japanese trailer, here is a French trailer, and this
is a brief excerpt from the movie. It's been in release in Asia and Europe for a few months already. (I feel culturally deprived.)
posted by metasonix at 12:29 AM on March 5, 2007

I'm a huge, huge Kon fan, and news that Paprika has a big-screen release here in the states has made my year.

One thing to consider about Paranoia Agent: It was cobbled together from ideas that Kon couldn't make room for in Tokyo Gofathers, Millenium Actress and Perfect Blue. If you wath them first and then see Paranoia Agent, you can see where the pieces go together.
posted by lekvar at 12:48 AM on March 5, 2007

Looks like it would be worth watching if only to try and sort out all of the imagery. And, if the trailer is any indication, the movie would be alot better on a big screen than a tv.
posted by fenriq at 1:03 AM on March 5, 2007

I watched Tokyo Godfathers recently and was really impressed. It's a comedy/drama about a handful of homeless people in Tokyo. After a while you forget you're watching animation, the characters are so well-done and the direction on par with any live action film. I saw Perfect Blue years ago but don't remember it well, I'll have to check it out again.

Paprika looks amazing, will definitely check it out.
posted by zardoz at 1:29 AM on March 5, 2007

I've seen Perfect Blue, and thought it was an incoherent piece of crap. Is his other stuff the same style, or did something change along the way?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:29 AM on March 5, 2007

Joakim Ziegler, if you didn't like Perfect Blue it's a bretty good bet you aren't going to like anything else Satoshi Kon has made.
posted by lekvar at 1:33 AM on March 5, 2007

"pretty good bet," that is.
posted by lekvar at 1:34 AM on March 5, 2007

I've seen Perfect Blue, and thought it was an incoherent piece of crap. Is his other stuff the same style, or did something change along the way?

Tokyo Godfathers is pretty much straight narrative (albeit with a hard twist or two) and is really worth checking out even if Perfect Blue wasn't your thing - but you probably wouldn't appreciate much of his other work.

I'm really looking forward to Paprika.
posted by Drexen at 1:35 AM on March 5, 2007

A dude at Drawn went ga-ga over the trailer and when I followed his link, I did too...

Incoherent is not always a crappy thing...
posted by wendell at 1:50 AM on March 5, 2007

Anyone know if the music from the trailer is a real song (as opposed to just a score)? Would be interested in knowing the artist/album
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:56 AM on March 5, 2007

Goes to show how much out of the anime-loop I am these days: this was the first I'd heard of Paprika. I love Perfect Blue, so am now really looking forward to this.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:58 AM on March 5, 2007

OxFCAF--the song is by composer Susumu Hirasawa, and you can dl ithere.
posted by zardoz at 2:19 AM on March 5, 2007

I didn't like Pefect Blue the first time I saw it, but I loved Paprika. Definately essential to see it on the big screen as it as visually rich as they come.
I would have gone to see it again immediately were it not for the fact I couldn't make it to the next showing.
posted by asok at 2:33 AM on March 5, 2007

Loved Millennium Actress, loved Tokyo Godfathers, didn't like Perfect Blue.

(on preview: Paragraphs below may contain some spoilers. I tried to keep to the basic premises of Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers, but you never know.)

Even if you didn't like Perfect Blue, you should definitely try Tokyo Godfathers. It's an extremely well-crafted, heartwarming movie about three homeless people in Tokyo and the unusual story of how they try to return an abandoned baby to its family! The narrative is straightforward, and the characters are portrayed in a manner that is both comedic and realistic at the same time.

The narrative of Millennium Actress is a little unusual, but in a good way. It follows the biography of a (fictional) actress, whose acting career starts when she develops a crush on an anti-government rebel she runs into at a young age. He disappears -- on the run from the law, and all that -- leaving behind a key. She spends her life trying to find him; settings of her movies range from feudal Japan to the space age -- the titular "millennium."

I think I'm making the two movies sound like dumb, feel-good movies, but I promise you, they are not. They are both great watches, and I would recommend them to anybody.

Thanks for the heads up, metasonix -- will definitely keep an eye out for Paprika.
posted by tickingclock at 3:10 AM on March 5, 2007

I think Hirasawa also composed the music for the Paranoia Agent Opening delmoi was talking about.
posted by kolophon at 3:18 AM on March 5, 2007

Paranoia Agent isn't getting enough love in this thread. For 13 episodes, the series covered an ambitious range of Japanese culture to comment on. It gets compared a lot as "Twin Peaks anime", which I think describes the feel of it, but downplays the message(s) it is trying to convey.

The events are highly linear and episodes are full of both foreshadowing and references to past events; there is little chance of appreciating the interconnectedness and full impact of the symbolism without watching the whole series in order. Even still, the series isn't for everyone.
posted by ken_zoan at 7:10 AM on March 5, 2007

Hirasawa's been doing work for anime for a while. My earliest exposure to his work were 3 pieces of music in an old robot action show "Detonator Orgun". The referred pieces are in his third album "Virtual Rabbit"; at the time I found it rather odd to find such eclectic music tracks in what was generally a straightforward sci-fi action-adventure.
posted by PsychoKick at 7:30 AM on March 5, 2007

I saw Paprika at the NYFF last year and didn't care for it at all: "unappetizing characters in remarkably flat animation talking epistemological gobble-di-gook," I wrote at the time. Didn't think much of Millennium Actress and Perfect Blue either--and there's plenty of anime I like. The foreign film that's worth getting excited about right now is The Host.
posted by muckster at 7:37 AM on March 5, 2007

"Evidence that Japanese animators are reaching for the moon while most of their American counterparts remain stuck in the kiddie sandbox."

Take that, Katzenberg.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 7:58 AM on March 5, 2007

That looks really great and good. Also, I saw nothing NSFW. NSFSquares, maybe, but no boobies/curse words. So, click on wageslaves!
posted by Rock Steady at 8:59 AM on March 5, 2007

Metafilter itself is getting more NSFW lately....Spring must be in the air...

Looks pretty neat tho, didn't see anything NSFW...kinda makes me think of a cross between Spirited Away and Ghost in the Shell
posted by samsara at 9:18 AM on March 5, 2007

Muckster: I'm confused. You say you don't like Perfect Blue but it's in the top ten list you posted that you said you liked. What's going on?
posted by clockworkjoe at 10:16 AM on March 5, 2007

Now, I've got Byakkoya No Musume stuck in my head, damn it....
posted by Samizdata at 10:40 AM on March 5, 2007

Could catch, clockworkjoe. I hadn't had my coffee yet. I did like Perfect Blue just enough to make #10 on that list. I must have been thinking of Tokyo Godfathers.

My main problem with Paprika was that it's working very hard to "blow your mind, duuuude," but all the presumably trippy stuff is really pretty generic and familiar. Now the parade in Ghost in the Shell II: that's some amazing animation.
posted by muckster at 10:56 AM on March 5, 2007

Can't wait to see Paprika. I don't really care for most nowadays anime, but Kon is a major exception. Millennium Actress is killer, and Paranoia Agent is the best new anime series I've seen in years. Episode 8 ("Happy Family Planning") alone is worth everything I paid for this show!

As for those who said it doesn't go anywhere or come together at the end: yes, it does. Watch it again. There's definitely a linear story inside the narrative, but it's much easier to see the second time around, because some of the things you need to know to understand it don't come up until the end. Also, it helps if you know some Japanese, or have a cheat-sheet for the animal symbolism [warning, other spoilers] in the characters' names. The things the old man says before each episode actually make sense once you know which animal represents which character. The animals appear in the names in the chatroom as well.
posted by vorfeed at 11:04 AM on March 5, 2007

Just so that people are aware:

Serial Experiments Lain > Everything.
posted by Alex404 at 11:12 AM on March 5, 2007 [3 favorites]

posted by ELF Radio at 3:39 PM on March 5, 2007

At times, watching Paranoia Agent -- which I liked a lot -- reminded me of reading certain parts of The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, in that Kon was very clearly engaging in a cultural critique which I was not quite equipped to follow. It is largely about very particular aspects of a Japanese reality and its construction, which makes it seem obtuse compared even to something like Lain. Googling and so forth after the fact explained a lot.

That said, the plot does make sense, both on the level of the individual episode (some of which, like "Happy Family Planning", are excellent), and more generally across the arc. I am confident I'm missing some portion of what Kon was trying to say, but what I did take away was satisfying.

Also, the opening sequence is my favorite opening to a show ever.
posted by tingley at 8:18 PM on March 5, 2007

« Older Is Israel Falling Apart ?   |   Media and Algorithms and Home Made Music. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments