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  • Paprika and The Importance of Dreams - Nikko Schaff (Final)

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    Although the Chairman is the greatest villain in the story, he, not the lovable and spunky Paprika, is the character Satoshi Kon seems to be imparting most of his philosophy onto.  He (Kon) has a long history of regarding the nature of dreams to be sacred.  As he said once in an interview, “we don’t always experience things rationally.”2 Just as similar experiences overlap given current ones, subjective experiences can overlap and influence the objective.  

Wiki Markup    It is also the overlap that is crucial to understanding the meaning of the film.  Balance, as the argument seems to go, is necessary in order for things to be understood.  At the end of the film, when all is but doomed, it’s the insertion of balance into the system that sets everything back to normal.  As was written in the OtakuUS Magazine review of the movie, “\[the main characters\] have to learn to release their psychic pressure valves in order to do battle with nightmares in the world of dreams”3  The movie is also reminiscent of this opinion, when the carelessness of the free use of the DC-Mini causes dreams and reality to merge, which, when imbalanced with the now-corrupted Chairman, ends up nearly destroying both.  From this aspect, “Paprika” posits that dreams are what they are, and they should not be changed or altered from their present state.  Satoshi Kon doesn’t believe dreams are to be avoided, but rather that “In the morning daze after a dream you go over it wondering what it meant.”2   This is far from the director’s first foray in experimenting with understanding perception.      It is also the overlap that is crucial to understanding the meaning of the film.  Balance, as the argument seems to go, is necessary in order for things to be understood.  At the end of the film, when all is but doomed, it’s the insertion of balance into the system that sets everything back to normal.  As was written in the OtakuUS Magazine review of the movie, “[the main characters] have to learn to release their psychic pressure valves in order to do battle with nightmares in the world of dreams”3  The movie is also reminiscent of this opinion, when the carelessness of the free use of the DC-Mini causes dreams and reality to merge, which, when imbalanced with the now-corrupted Chairman, ends up nearly destroying both.  From this aspect, “Paprika” posits that dreams are what they are, and they should not be changed or altered from their present state.  Satoshi Kon doesn’t believe dreams are to be avoided, but rather that “In the morning daze after a dream you go over it wondering what it meant.”2   This is far from the director’s first foray in experimenting with understanding perception.  

    In his most-recognized debut, “Perfect Blue,” he also carries similar themes of understanding reality when the picture is skewed.  As was written in a segment of a book on anime and cinema about “Perfect Blue,” “Perceptions cannot be trusted.  Again and again throughout the narrative, Kon sets the viewer up… only to pull back to show that it is happening on television or on stage.”4 The alteration of perspective causing a change in how the audience views things is a hallmark of Satoshi Kon.  When asked about why he chose to deviate on the script of “Perfect Blue” from that of the original novel, he said, “The storytelling aspects interest me much more.  Looking at things objectively or subjectively gives two very different images.”5  

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