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"No more anger, our world is happy and mundane!"

Paprika started out as a book written by Yasutaka Tsutsui, its chapters serialized between 1991 and 1993. It was later adapted into a 2006 anime film by Satoshi Kon, director of Perfect Blue, Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress, and Paranoia Agent. This article mainly covers the latter.

20 Minutes into the Future, scientists have created a device called the "DC" that allows people to go into other people's dreams and record them. One of these people is the titular Paprika, a colorful and perky young dream therapist. She's the dream avatar of Dr. Atsuko Chiba (voiced by Megumi Hayashibara), one of the scientists involved in the creation of the DC. Things start to go wrong when prototypes of the DC-Mini, a portable version of the DC machine, go missing; the prototypes are missing a vital piece of programming which, basically, protects DC-Mini users' minds from being hacked.

Things get even more dangerous when it's discovered that the thieves are using the megalomaniacal dream of an insane person as a Weapon of Mass Destruction. People who used the DC machines frequently in the past, such as Chiba, are at risk for being "infected" by the mad dream, and it's up to Chiba/Paprika, the DC's naive yet brilliant creator Kosaku Tokita (Tōru Furuya), and stressed-out detective Toshimi Konakawa (Akio Ōtsuka) to save the day before reality gets invaded by the unstable Dream Land. The result is a beautiful, intelligent and often quite light-hearted film (though there are some heavy adult themes as well), with a very, very high "Holy Shit!" Quotient.

The film also stars Katsunosuke Hori as Torataro Shima, Toru Emori as Seijiro Inui, Kōichi Yamadera as Morio Osanai and Hideyuki Tanaka as Guy.

This film contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Sexuality: The relationship between the Chairman and Osanai has erotic vibes in the politically incorrect novel version, where it was played in a Depraved Homosexual way. Kon, being a touch more liberal-minded, tried to emphasize the unhealthy nature of the characters' obsessional relationships while making the orientation incidental, making it look more like a slave/master bond.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Tokita, whom the novel describes as fat, but not morbidly obese as the film portrays him.
  • Attempted Rape: Or actual rape, depending on your definition. In either interpretation, Chiba's body and mind both get violated. The scene is also a Shout-Out to a very similar scene from End of Evangelion.
  • Author Avatar: Some have interpreted Konakawa, an original character created for the film, as an avatar of Satoshi Kon himself and his interests and doubts as a filmmaker. The character's own name (Konakawa) even suggests it.
  • Author Tract: Subtly. Watch carefully during the parade when it merges with reality. Businessmen laughing as they jump off buildings? People transforming into religious symbols? Men with mobile phones for heads taking pictures up the skirts of a group of girls with phones for heads? (That last one in particular, seeing as Kon had previously criticized pedophilia.)
  • Bad Boss / Mean Boss: The Chairman has absolutely no care for those in his employ and will abuse them whenever he deems fit. Even if it's his right-hand hand man Osanai.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The main female lead has nipples but is drawn without genitalia or pubic hair. The villain is seen in a giant naked form, but he also lacks genitalia.
  • Barefoot Loon / Barefoot Sage: Downplayed, but still present in Dr. Shima, who wears sandals at work instead of proper dress shoes in order to show his unorthodox views.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness:
    • Subverted by Tokita. Possibly the nicest person in the movie, who is also very overweight. Despite his morbid obesity, however, Tokita's appearance has baby-like innocence to it.
    • Also subverted by Osanai, though in reverse.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Shima mentions Paprika once liberated him from a depression, and it's implied this was when he started working with her.
  • Big Damn Heroes: During the climax, the bartenders leap down with a banner in order to save Paprika and Shima from a rampaging robot-Tokita.
  • Big Eater: Dr. Tokita.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Osanai does four big shut ups to Paprika when the latter accuses him of being "the Chairman's pet dog" and of once being "Himuro's idol".
  • Body Horror: What Osanai does to Paprika.
  • Bond One-Liner: Konakawa after shooting Osanai in the English dub, which makes the parody of cliched movie endings even more hilariously biting. "Lights out," indeed.
  • Canon Foreigner: Konakawa is an original character of the film.
  • Casual High Drop: Paprika is the alternate identity of psychologist Chiba Atsuko, who is seen entering a patient's world by falling from the sky from about a mile up. Being a Manic Pixie Dream Girl and existing only in someone's mind means Paprika can drop from such a height and come to ground with no more drama than stepping off a curb. It is nonetheless an impressive entrance.
  • Chubby Chaser: Chiba. This is particularly evident when it's revealed that the early scene of her being stuck in an elevator with Tokita was another fantasy.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Torataro Shima is very cheerful and bubbly.
    • Tokita is a very mild example of this trope, bordering on a deconstruction of both how beneficial and harmful it can be when a scientist has this mindset.
    • Himuro, only because we only see him after he's been consumed by the mad dream.
    • Heck, anyone who has been consumed by the dream for that matter.
  • Combat Tentacles: The bad guy has an affinity for trees and uses tentacular tree roots to attack Paprika more than once.
  • Creator Cameo: Satoshi Kon and Yasutaka Tsutsui, the movie director and author of the original Paprika novel, respectively, play the part of the bartenders in Paprika's bar. Even the other voice actors of the movie didn't know this until the premiere when they saw their names in the program.
  • Creepy Circus Music: "Shizuku Ippai no Kioku" from the soundtrack.
  • Creepy Doll: If you thought large objects attacking buildings were not scary these days, you obviously haven't seen this film yet. That laughing...
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: A cartoon frog rolls down stairs, then begins drumming the second his feet hit the floor. It sounds funny, but in context, it's a G-rated terror.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Dr. Chiba, in spades.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Osanai. He's obsessed with Chiba and shares a bed with the Chairman; there's also an off-hand mention that he "sold his body" to Himuro in order to gain access to the DC Minis.
  • Depraved Homosexual:
    • Possibly the Chairman, though his attachment to Osanai seems more a master/slave thing (puppeteering his body) than a sexual or romantic relationship, unlike the novel.
    • Also possibly Himuro, who seems to have fetishized Osanai — we briefly see dirty magazines in his apartment with Osanai look-alikes on the cover, and his dreamscape features a towering statue of Osanai as a Greek god.
  • Deranged Animation: Particularly those scenes where everything... for lack of a better word, melts. Justified in that a lot of the movie takes place in dreams.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: While Konokawa and the audience may initially think he has a chance at romance with Paprika, she is basically working as his psychiatrist. Despite Paprika's fun-loving side, her true self Chiba would never breach her professional ethics that way. She also already has feelings for someone else, her coworker Tokita.
  • Diligent Hero, Slothful Villain: From the anime adapaptation:
    • Dr Atsuko Chiba is a devoted scientist with seemingly no time for herself or her emotions, to the point that she can only express her true exuberance and compassion as Paprika, a renegade psychiatrist who risks all manner of unknown dangers in her journeys into the minds of her patients. Meanwhile, the Big Bad Chairman Seijirou Inui remains hidden away in his mansion, allowing the minions he's bribed or duped to act in his stead while he gleefully exploits the power of the stolen DC Mini. For good measure, his Dream Weaver technique is the epitome of Unskilled, but Strong.
    • Dr Kousaku Tokito is a brilliant scientist responsible for inventing the DC Mini, and though he's undoubtedly an Absent-Minded Professor, he's always ready to work hard to help others — from tinkering in his lab to helping Atsuko pick the lock on Himuro's door. By contrast, Dr Morio Osanai The Dragon is a scummy careerist who's trying to claw his way to a promotion through toadying and corporate sabotage rather than hard work, to the point that Paprika intuits that he slept with Himuro in order to get his hands on the DC Mini.
  • Double Agent: Osanai, who turns out to be the Chairman's lackey.
  • Dream Tropes
    • All Just a Dream: Doesn't make it any less real to the characters, though.
    • Anxiety Dreams: Konakawa starts having them because of the stress of the ongoing homicide case he is on.
    • Dream Eater: This is the way Paprika puts an end to the out-of-control dreamworld. (This might be a reference to the mythological baku.)
    • Dream Walker: What the DC allows its users to become.
    • Dream Weaver: What the DC allows its users to do.
    • Your Mind Makes It Real:
      • There are two: Konakawa Anxiety Dreams and Himuro and Everyone's collective dream.
      • This is also one of the proposed uses for the DC — to cure diseases by manipulating the subconscious.
  • Dying to Wake Up: Played with; after Dr Shima is infected by the Big Bad's parade dream, Paprika is able to rescue him by melting into his body and making him inflate to the point that he explodes, causing Shima to instantly awaken from his coma. However, it's heavily implied from Paprika's rather suggestive dialog and Shima's blissed-out reaction that what woke the doctor up wasn't merely a death, but a... little death.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Done very well. The characters may act like normal people, but if you think about it, they've all had problems, ranging from prior depression to split personalities to completely delusional.
  • Ear Worm: Some have noted that Susumu Hirasawa's "Parade" theme, which serves as the leitmotif of the eponymous phenomenon in the movie, is very appropriately designed to stick in your mind and never, ever leave it. In the context of the story, the Parade is a sort of memetic virus that infects anyone who thinks about it too much, or even dreams about it, growing to fill more and more of their subconscious until their entire personality is subsumed into the mad procession and they appear, from an awake perspective, to go suicidally insane.
  • Emotionless Girl: Chiba, at times. Paprika actually calls her out on it later in the film.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Seijiro Inui, Chairman of the Institute of Psychiatric Research. He's not really called just "The Chairman".
  • Evil Cripple: The Chairman.
  • Evil Luddite: You'd think the Chairman for a company that creates Applied Phlebotinum would be a little more, you know, enthusiastic about technology. It's implied later on that the sole reason he supported it was to be able to walk again by placing his consciousness into a younger host body, such as Osanai's.
  • Falling into the Plot: Researchers develop the DC Mini, a device that allows psychologists to perceive the subconscious mind of mental patients. When Doctor Chiba uses this device to probe a patient's mind, she becomes the Manic Pixie Dream Girl called Paprika. She begins by falling from the sky, only to come to ground oh-so-gently on a Tokyo street where a parade of lunacy is underway.
  • False Camera Effects: The movie could be done in live-action; Detective Konakawa explains camera angles to Paprika.
  • First Guy Wins: Played withKonakawa is the first male that Paprika, Chiba's avatar, is seen interacting with, but it's Tokita who we first see her interact with as her real self. That's probably pretty meaningful.
  • Foreshadowing: Loaded with it.
    • Especially crucial in making the revelation of Chiba's love for Tokita not seem out of the blue. She never goes through the typical tropes that would indicate she liked him that are common in anime, such as the Luminescent Blush or He Is Not My Boyfriend, but there are several important hints that lead up to it:
      • Chiba seem a wee bit obsessed with him at times and gets annoyed when Konakawa pays more attention to her than to Tokita when he's enthusiastically talking about how he invented the DC Mini.
      • She instantly dismisses Osanai's suspicions of him despite how a scenario where Tokita went full Mad Scientist would explain everything going on.
      • Chiba has a very tight control of herself at all times yet she's prone to get cross with Tokita, and even snaps to give him a "Reason You Suck" Speech that is more about him remaining a Manchild rather than of any help to solve the problems at hand (and even makes things worse) that can come across as frustration in second viewings.
      • Her dream avatar provides several hints too. Paprika suspiciously looks like how a child of her and Tokita would look, her personality takes more after his than Chiba's own, and she drops everything she's doing in Konakawa's dream when he realizes Tokita entered the dream world. Also, why would a no-nonsense psychologist like her name her avatar after food?
    • The large statue making Osanai look like a Greek god in the merged dream. At first it makes you think the portly Tokita is secretly jealous of his good looks, but it turns out to be a manifestation of Himuro's attraction to him and the Chairman's obsession with abandoning his crippled body and Body Surfing into Osanai's.
    • A picture of Tokita's face being pasted onto a toy robot with the words "Help me!" beside it is shown in Himuro's apartment.
  • For Science!: Tokita's reason for creating a technology for sharing dreams essentially boils down to "Hey, wouldn't it be awesome?"
  • Friend on the Force: Shima acts as this to Paprika, using his connections as chief of staff in the company to help her with her dream-vigilante ways.
  • Genre Deconstruction: A heartwarming one: Paprika helps Konokawa reach the epiphany that his life wasn't a waste because he chose to become a police officer and not a filmmaker, and that he didn't abandon his childhood dream and friend. Instead he's living in the fantasy that he and his friend created, being the hero they imagined. That's how life goes sometimes, we aren't going to achieve our childhood dreams, and our ambitions change with time.
  • Girly Run: Paprika. She's even the page image!
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: The Chairman walks?
  • A God Am I: The Chairman.
  • Gonk: Subverted with Tokita, who has a sympathetic face despite being morbidly obese and unusually cartoonish in character design, but played more straight with Himuro, whose own round face looks a bit more off.
  • Good Shapeshifting, Evil Shapeshifting: In dreams, many characters have the ability to shapeshift in some way. Paprika often transforms into cartoon mascots, toys, fairies, sphinxes, mermaids, and other fantastical things, reflecting her heroism and whimsy; Tokita takes the form of a toy robot, befitting his innocence; Dr Shima, as the friendly Mission Control, becomes faces in the clouds or talking billboards. However, the villain of the story Chairman Inui chooses to manifest himself as animated trees, undersea leviathans, even a shadowy giant - all reflections of his god complex.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • "It's the greatest showtime!"
    • "Parade" has a good deal of English.
      Kore ga liberty
      Utopia no parody
  • Green Thumb: The Chairman. In his dream world, he takes on the attribute of a tree of spreading roots to fit his distaste of technology and obsession with controlling reality.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The doll's laughter. Which becomes a thousand times worse when the doll grows to gigantic size.
  • Heroic Resolve: Chiba.
  • Hollywood Old: Shima mentions he and Konakawa attended college together, which is surprising considering they appear to be vastly different ages. As no dates are mentioned, we don't know if Shima is Younger Than They Look, if Konawa is Older Than They Look, or if Shima was an older college student and it was more of an Intergenerational Friendship.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The portly large Tokita and slender Dr. Chiba.
  • Humongous Mecha: Tokita's dream avatar is a giant toy robot.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: It's revealed that Konakawa originally wanted to be a movie director when he was younger, but got cold feet. He does his best not to even think about this trope, but it's expressed nonverbally for much of the film because the childhood dream he gave up on is the root of his anxiety.
  • Ironic Echo: When discussing reentering Himuro's dream to get answers regarding who's behind the dream attacks, Chiba says, "Desperate times call for desperate measures." In the third act, when dreams merge with reality, Paprika is able to exist in the real world. When Chiba asks what Paprika is doing in the real world, she simply answers, "Desperate times call for desperate measures."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chiba, to a degree.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: A key part of the premise.
  • The Lab Rat(s): Unfortunately for them, they get dispatched early on.
  • Leitmotif: "Baikai", which first plays during the opening credits, acts as Paprika's theme and signals her appearance.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to Satoshi Kon's other psychological works. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but it still managed to be quite bright and colorful, and the main protagonist is much less damaged than either Mima or Tsukiko. Also, while elements of disturbing sexuality are present, they are far less prevalent (especially compared to Perfect Blue)
  • Logging onto the Fourth Wall: really existed around 2006 and served as (among other things) a promotional site for the film. It deliberately had a "Cannot find server" error page saying "DC mini error" at the bottom.
  • Mad Artist: Osanai. He's shown to possess an insane interest in beauty and a disgust for whatever he deems ugly and a fascination for the aesthetics of butterflies which he chooses to manifest in the dream world. He even restrains Paprika to a table in a manner reminiscent to a butterfly.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Paprika, in a more literal sense than most.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Done exceptionally well in a later scene, serving as a sign that everything isn't over yet.
  • Meaningful Name: Paprika to Robo-Tokita. She's there to spice up your life!
  • Medium Awareness: Detective Konakawa is a film buff, and in his dreams he's aware of the 180-degree rule and panfocus.
  • Memetic Mutation: The parade dream is an in-universe example of a meme getting literally out of control.
  • Mind Rape: Paprika gets pinned to a table like a butterfly and then painfully has her skin removed, revealing a naked Dr. Chiba. Made creepier by Osanai's dialogue. *shudder*
  • Mind Screw: For both the people in the movie and the audience:
    • Specifically when Paprika finds out that the Chairman is the real culprit behind everything going on. She yells to be woken up and returns to reality as Chiba. Chiba then goes to confront the Chairman. But during the conversation, she realizes that she is still in the dream and has fallen right into the Chairman's trap.
    • At one point, Paprika is in trouble, and sees herself from five minutes earlier in the dream and yells to her own past self to run away. It's not time travel, just dream logic. Time is not linear in dreams!
    • Your Mind Makes It Real is in full effect when the dream infects Japan's collective unconsious. The hole and damage created by the Chairman's dream form remains a crater after everyone comes to their senses.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Dr. Torataro Shima is noticeably shorter than most of the other characters.
  • Mission Control: Shima tends to play this role to Paprika.
  • My Card: Used to start the opening credits; ends up being a plot point later on.
  • Naughty by Night: Straight-laced Chiba becomes a lot more flirty and extroverted when she turns into Paprika.
  • Nerd Glasses: Shima.
  • Nice Guy: Aside from Nice Girl Paprika, who is Chiba's alter ego, Tokita is the nicest character in the movie.
  • Night Parade of One Hundred Demons: The Parade is a dream that induces madness in whoever gets it inspired by the Hyakki Yagyo, right down to invading the real world.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Averted. After the dream ends, there's still a smoldering crater in the middle of Tokyo. While everyone was caught in the dream, something big blew up.
  • Non Sequitur Environment: The film features a great deal of this, befitting the illogical nature of the dreamworld. One notable instance occurs when Dr Chiba is exploring Himuro's apartment in the real world, only to wander down the wrong corridor and unexpectedly find herself in a deserted amusement park. Upon seeing the Creepy Doll that Himuro uses as his avatar in the dreamworld, Chiba attempts to climb over a railing to get to it - only to find herself back in the real world and about to climb over a balcony railing to her death. Once she's been rescued, it's realized that people who've used the DC Mini long enough can be hacked by the Big Bad even while they're still awake.
  • Obake: The mad dream parade is a reference to the Japanese "Demon Parade".
  • Obviously Evil: The Chairman looks like someone who is up to no good.
  • Older Sidekick: Dr. Shima to Paprika.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Subverted. It takes some time to Chiba and company to realize Shima is being controlled by a dream, as he is so eccentric in his daylife that his maddened rants are somewhat in-character for him.
  • Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Death: The last battle.
  • Pass the Popcorn: At one point, Paprika is watching Detective Konakawa's dreams on a movie theater screen, while munching on popcorn. This ties in with Konakawa's short-lived efforts to make a movie before he became a detective.
  • Police Are Useless: Subverted. The police don't consider to ask how someone could have broken into a science facility and stolen an important device. That's because the thief was someone in the company, who already would have had access to the security codes. Such a burglary could only have happened by someone who had access.
  • Posthumous Character: Himuro, sort of. He remains alive in a vegetative state, but even before the movie begins he'd already become an "empty shell" used by the Chairman as a puppet. Everything we know about who he was is revealed through Tokita and Chiba's dialog.
  • Pretty Butterflies: A constant element of the parade. They're really a manifestation of Osanai within the dream.
  • Production Throwback:
    • Posters for Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers are visible at a movie theater.
    • Paprika skipping around during the opening is uncomfortably reminiscent of Perfect Blue.
    • The Bartenders' banner that is used to ensnare Tokita is also not unlike the banner in Tokyo Godfathers.
    • The robots of the theme park sign bear a great resemblance to the robots in Satoshi Kon's film The Dream Machine.
    • The background music where Konakawa is running from Osanai is a remixed version of Paranoia Agent's opening theme.
  • The Professor: Shima qualifies for most traits of the trope, but both Chiba and Tokita technically qualify as well.
  • Psycho Supporter: Not only two of Dr. Chiba's colleagues, but the Chairman of the company she works for as well.
  • The Pursuing Nightmare: Atsuko/Paprika is eventually able to confront the Big Bad responsible for stealing the DC Mini - namely Chairman Inui... only to find too late that she's still dreaming, and Paprika finds her Dream Weaver powers outmatched for the first time in the story - leaving her with no choice but to leg it. The whole thing quickly descends into a nightmare, with the thief's crawling vines chasing her through the corridors, the thief's accomplice following her into artworks to block her escape, and the thief himself countering her mermaid form by becoming a leviathan that swallows her whole and spits her into the Parade Dream.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Overlapping with What the Hell, Hero? and Poor Communication Kills. Chiba gives a rather epic one to Tokita calling him out on his immaturity, recklessness, and only doing what he wants instead of what needs to be done. This unfortunately leads Tokita to go into Himuro's dream to figure his motive for stealing the DC Mini. It doesn't go well.
    Chiba: You were so selfishly wrapped up in what you want to do that you ignore what needs to be done. You never coded the DC Mini. That was just irresponsible. It cost lives, don't you get it? Of course not. Not much gets through all that protective fat, now does it? Here's what does: "What a scientist!" "He's so amazing!" It's like a really bad joke! What good is a scientist to mankind if he doesn't care about people, hmm? If you want to be the king of geeks with your bloated ego, then just keep on doing only what pleases you. Go ahead, indulge in your freakish masturbation, because that's what you're good at!
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Paprika and Dr. Chiba respectively.
  • The Renfield: Osanai, who goes so far as to share a bed with and pimp himself out for the Chairman.
  • Rescue Romance: Played straight at first when Paprika saves Konakawa during his repeating dream sequence. He starts to become attracted to her especially as she helps him work through his repressed regrets. Then it's brutally parodied when he saves her from the Chairman and kisses her in their shared dream; her first instinct on waking up is smacking the nearest guy. Konokawa eventually accepts that Chiba loves someone else, though he's morose about it.
  • Rocket Ride: The opening credits.
  • Room Full of Crazy: When investigating the apartment of Himuro, the suspected dream terrorist, they find it completely stuffed with robotic dolls. Tokita's photograph has the face cut out and pasted on a toy robot holding up a sign saying "Help Me!" Osanai passes by a shelf of magazines full of erotic male imagery that happen to resemble him.
  • Rule of Cool: The title sequence.
  • Save Both Worlds: Real Life and Dream Land.
  • Scenery Porn: Probably the most gorgeously animated film directed by Satoshi Kon, and that is saying a lot.
  • Science Is Bad: The Chairman keeps saying this again and again. It's far from the message of the film, though; without science, we wouldn't be able to appreciate all the awesome and strange things in the universe, would we? Also, the Chairman is lying his ass off or at least being hypocritical, 'cause he just wants to hoard all the dream-power to himself.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Konakawa explains filmmaking techniques to Paprika, he's wearing Akira Kurosawa's trademark cap and sunglasses.
    • There are a number of movie references in Konakawa's dream. The circus is a reference to The Greatest Show On Earth (probably; there's also a movie poster of the film visible in another sequence), while the scenes through which he runs afterward resemble Tarzan, From Russia with Love, and Roman Holiday.
    • Paprika was dressed at one point as the Monkey King is often depicted, complete with Flying on a Cloud.
    • A creepy doll from Monster appears as part of the parade and talks a bit to Paprika; the same studio had done the manga's anime adaptation.
    • Three Sentai figures can been seen in Himuro's apartment for a split second.
    • Paprika is swallowed by an evil whale, and pops out of its blowhole dressed as Pinocchio.
    • The English dub's tagline is an obvious one for the This Is Your Brain on Drugs PSAs by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
  • Stealth Pun: The CHAIR-man. Also, Paprika calling Osanai the Chairman's "Legman."
  • Stepford Smiler: Both Osanai and Paprika again. Also, the businessmen when the dream world and the real world merge.
  • Stock Footage: Some sequences of the parade. It would be a surprise if it wasn't extremely expensive to animate.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Chiba, again. Her emphasis on self-control and remaining stoic makes her cold and aloof to others but she still maintains a great deal of care for others when things become serious and has an inner passionate side.
  • Taken from a Dream:
    • Early in the film, Paprika gives Detective Konakawa her business card, which he hangs onto in the real world... even though Paprika is a persona of Atsuko Chiba that exists only in the dreamworld.
    • During the search of Himuro's apartment, Atsuko is somewhat alarmed to find herself encountering the Creepy Doll that Himuro uses as his avatar, seemingly just as animated as it is in the dreamworld. Curious, she follows it through the apartment... only to lurch back into the real world and very nearly fall to her death over the apartment balcony: the doll wasn't really there, and Atsuko was dreaming while wide awake. Worse still, it turns out that the hacker who stole the DC Mini has the power alter his targets' perceptions of reality...
    • In the finale, Atsuko and Dr Shina are walking away, convinced that they've achieved victory over the hacker and gotten back to the real world... only for a kaiju-sized version of Himuro's doll to suddenly loom into view behind them. As it turns out, Reality Is Out to Lunch and a whole host of figures from dreams are being brought into the real world, including the nightmare parade, the two bartenders from the dream lounge, and even Paprika herself - much to Atsuko's irritation.
  • Talkative Loon: Those infected by the parade dream start babbling incoherently. Of course, then you see it, and those ramblings are more-or-less accurate...
  • The Tokyo Fireball: Actually Tokyo dream infestation and giant naked people.
  • Transformation Discretion Shot: Though many transformations occur in detailed sequences, just as many are obscured or occur only in cuts, befitting the weird and inconsistent atmosphere of a dream:
    • When Himuro reveals himself as the apparent culprit behind the theft of the DC Mini, he does so by transforming the face of a Creepy Doll to match his own in a fully animated scene. Himuro continues to manifest himself as dolls in the dreamworld, but this time with no visible transformation: when Atsuko/Paprika confronts him, we see an ordinary doll turning to face her... and then a cut to Paprika's POV reveals that it's suddenly wearing Himuro's face. Paprika ends up literally tearing Himuro's head off in her attempts to capture him, only to find herself holding the head of an ordinary doll in another cut.
    • In the same scene, while Atsuko/Paprika is attempting to awaken Dr Shima from the Parade nightmare, she's initially dressed up in a shepherdess costume to match the dolls accompanying him on the float, but when Shima notices her, Paprika suddenly finds herself dressed in a more traditional Japanese costume to match his delusions. By contrast, the transformations that both Paprika and Shima undergo in the remainder of this scene are all shown in detail.
    • During Paprika's second therapy session with Detective Konakawa, the detective manifests himself in the iconic sunglasses and cap of Akira Kurosawa to reveal his hidden love of filmmaking. However, when Paprika delves deeper into the reasons for his troubling dreams, Konakawa becomes uncomfortable and suddenly regresses to a much younger man in a cut. Then, when the Parade breaks into the movie theater, Konakawa is suddenly back to his middle-aged self in yet another cut.
    • After discovering that Chairman Inui is behind the Parade nightmare, Atsuko and Dr Shima attempt to confront him in the real world... only to suddenly realize that she never awoke from the dream where she discovered the truth. As a result, Atsuko immediately transforms into Paprika via a cut. Worse still, the same cut reveals that Dr Shima is revealed to actually be a disguised Osanai, the Chairman's henchman.
    • Shortly after this scene, Paprika is forced to flee from the Big Bad and The Dragon as they unleash their powers on the dreamworld, using her own abilities to escape into different dream environments, transforming along the way. Though her transformation into the sphinx in Gustave Moreau's Oedipus And The Sphinx is seen in full, the rest occur in cuts: when Osanai takes the form of Oedipus and knocks Paprika into the ocean, her transformation into a mermaid isn't revealed until we cut to beneath the surface; then, when the Chairman takes the form of a whale and eats her alive, he blasts her out through his blowhole - revealing that she has now become a clown doll.
    • In the climax, Atsuko and Paprika finally merge into one united personality in order to defeat the Chairman once and for all, transforming into a giant baby that matures as it feeds upon Inui's contagious nightmare until it's become an adult dream goddess. However, though the process of growing from infancy to adulthood is seen in full, the moment in which the two personalities merge and actually become the baby is obscured by the fact that it takes place inside the body of a Humongous Mecha.
  • Transformation Sequence: A somewhat subtle one. As Chiba sets out to deal with the dream incursion into the real world, she's seen through a series of windows. For the first few, she's seen running normally with her arms pumping, the next few show her running like Paprika does with her arms moving differently, and then you see Paprika running by.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Tokita and Chiba.
  • Voice of the Legion: If you're thinking, "Why has 'so many people saying the same thing at once' never sounded so scary before?", that's because in Paprika, they use the same pitch changes and speak at EXACTLY the same time, creating an effect that's pretty unnerving.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • The Chairman, who believes that technology is violating the privacy of dreams. His response to this is a dream-based apocalypse.
    • Tokita is a mild, more benevolent example. He creates the DC Mini due to wanting to help people and due to the idea being inherently interesting and cool. However, he doesn't really take the time to consider the potential abuse and harm that could come from the DC Mini.
  • Wham Shot: Overlapping with Wham Line; Chiba, Shima, and the Chairman are having a rather heated and serious discussion concerning the dream therapy machines having fallen into the wrong hands, the potential ramifications thereof, and in whom to assign blame. Shima's musings on the situation rapidly give way to incomprehensible gibberish, shortly before he throws himself out a window, running full speed and screaming laughter all the way out. While he survives this, and recovers well enough to continue along in the story, this is how we learn that whomever has the DC Mini can use it not only to invade the dreams of anyone who's used a dream therapy machine, but can "infect" their dreams with nightmares of insanity, and the victim doesn't even have to be using a machine themselves at the time.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Osanai does this to Paprika.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Chairman.
  • World Gone Mad: After a while, Tokyo more or less becomes a warped dream reality, thankfully Paprika stops the whole disaster before it goes any further.
  • The World Tree: Used as a dream metaphor for the wheelchair-bound Chairman.


Video Example(s):


The Parade

The Parade in Paprika is a dream that induces madness in whoever gets it inspired by the Hyakki Yagyo, right down to invading the real world.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / NightParadeOfOneHundredDemons

Media sources: