Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
When Sony Pictures released the Paprika anime film, it was released on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc. This review focuses on the Blu-ray release of the film.
Paprika is set in the "near future," and the plot of the film revolves around a psychotherapy treatment called dream therapy. A device called a "DC Mini" is used for dream therapy, and it allows the user to view other people's dreams. Dr. Atsuko Chiba, the head of the team working on the project, has been using the machine illegally to help patients outside the research facility. When she does this, she goes by the alter ego "Paprika." Dr. Chiba and her associates must make sure word does not leak out to the media about the DC Mini or Paprika. Dr. Chiba's closest ally is Dr. Kosaku Tokita, the inventor of the DC Mini.
The film opens with Paprika counseling Konakawa Toshimi, a detective who is plagued by a recurring dream that is incomplete. When Dr. Chiba returns to the laboratory, she learns that three DC Mini prototypes have been stolen. Unfortunately, since the DC Mini isn't finished yet, the devices can allow anyone to enter another person's dreams and get away with all kinds of misdeeds. Suddenly, Dr. Torataro Shima, the chief of the department, goes on a nonsensical tirade; it ends with him jumping out of a window.
Dr. Shima is still alive, and the team works at examining his dream. As they do, they discover Dr. Tokita's assistant, Kei Himuro, is in the dream. This leads the group to suspect that Himuro had something to do with the theft of the DC Mini prototypes. From here, the film follows the search for Himuro, as well as a quest for clues to figure out what exactly is going on.
As the film progresses, the narrative becomes more and more muddled between dreams and reality, to the point where the viewer is questioning whether what they are seeing on the screen is actually happening in the story, or is just someone's dream. However, this blurring of the lines really helps to tell the story that Satoshi Kon is wanting to convey in the film.
The packaging for the Blu-ray is rather "bare bones." There is no actual insert with information for the film included inside; instead, there is an insert playing up other titles that Sony Pictures had released on Blu-ray.
As for the video quality, I have to admit that I didn't see a lot of difference when I compared it to the DVD copy of this film I had viewed previously. However, this doesn't mean that it's a bad picture quality on the Blu-ray; all it means is that I personally didn't see any significant differences.
According to the box, the main feature is 1080p High Definition, while the extras are Standard & High Definition. For audio, the box says the main feature has Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby True HD 5.1, French, Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Mandarin), Thai, Portuguese, and Spanish 5.1. The audio for the special features is Japanese (Stereo). For subtitles, the main feature has English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Thai, and Portuguese. The special features have English and Korean subtitles.
Most of the special features on the Blu-ray can also be found on the DVD release: the filmmaker's commentary and four documentaries. However, the Blu-ray also contains storyboard comparisons, which was not included on the DVD release of the film.
If you enjoy Paprika and don't already have it in your home video collection, I would recommend the Blu-ray release if you have the ability to play Blu-rays. If you already own Paprika on DVD, the only reason I can give to upgrade to Blu-ray would be to get the storyboard comparisons that are not included on the DVD if you are interested in having all of the bonus content that was made available for Paprika.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of the Blu-ray Disc that my husband and I purchased.