Who's in It:
The voices of Megumi Hayashibara, Tôru Furuya, Kôichi Yamadera, Katsunosuke Hori, Toru Emori, Akio Ôtsuka
The Basics: A machine that can enter and alter the dreams of psychotherapy patients is stolen, and it threatens to disrupt everyone's reality as their nighttime dreams and daytime mundanity collide and overlap. That's when therapist Dr. Atsuko Chiba steps in as her alter ego, Paprika, to try to save the world from chaos.
What's the Deal? Discarding all the arguments about whether this is for nerdtronic fanboys whose dream babes are always brilliant scientists by day and butt-kicking, world-saving, dream-crashing superfighters by night or if it's a woman-powered feminist fable that's never compromised for the sake of mere boobs, I'll tell you who it's really for: adults who want something complex and cool, freaky and fun, mind-blowingly gorgeous, psychedelic and packed with more interesting ideas than most animated or live-action films you're going to watch this year.
Don't Wait for DVD: Sometimes, when you review movies for a living, you're forced to see things on promotional DVDs. You make allowances for that, and sometimes you just realize you've watched something that demands that you see it twice because you want to be fully immersed in the visual trip. That's what happened to me with this one, and I'm actually going to go out and buy a ticket and see it again. This is a movie that begs for that. So if you're geographically able, make sure you get out to a theater. Don't wait; your big-screen TV isn't big enough. It's just not.
See Also: Director Satoshi Kon's earlier movies, Millenium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers. If you admire Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke, then Kon's the guy for you.
Mad TV May Have a Point, But
They recently did a Gwen Stefani parody mocking her career's recent Japan-o-philia phase. You can still catch it on YouTube. It's funny enough, but if this movie is any evidence, everything really is cooler in Japan.