This 87% Rotten Tomatoes Forgotten Anime Is Better Than Nolan's $825M Rip-Off

This 87% Rotten Tomatoes Forgotten Anime Is Better Than Nolan's $825M Rip-Off
Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing, Warner Bros.

Thought Nolan's movies were mind-blowing? Check out this anime from the acknowledged Japanese master.


  • When creating Inception, Christopher Nolan was clearly inspired by the 2006 anime Paprika, created by one of Japan's most prominent animators, Satoshi Kon.
  • Paprika tells the story of a world where devices allow doctors to enter their patients' dreams, but this technology falls into the wrong hands.
  • Nolan was not only inspired by the idea of Paprika, but also borrowed shots from it – the city folding in half and the dizzying scene in the hallway.
  • Paprika was the peak of Kon's talent, and his work was so prominent that it influenced Western cinema, including The Matrix.

It's strange that the creators of Paprika released in 2006 – a cult anime in Japan, by the way – didn't sue Christopher Nolan for plagiarism. After all, the entire concept of his blockbuster Inception is at least inspired by their idea.

What Is Paprika About?

The plot revolves around a device that allows doctors to enter their patients' dreams. However, unknown people steal the technology and start using it for other purposes, driving people crazy. To save the day, the doctors enlist the help of Paprika, an eighteen-year-old girl who, for some reason, knows all about dreams.

Beyond the story, Nolan also brought some of Paprika's most memorable scenes to Inception: the metropolis folding in half and that dizzying moment in the hallway.

However, Satoshi Kon's work is much more fascinating and hypnotizing (sorry, Christopher Nolan fans) – not constrained by the blockbuster framework, Paprika can afford to show real madness: giant robots, anthropomorphic cats and, in general, complete freedom for the animation talent of the anime creators.

Based on the novel of the same name by Kon's idol Yasutaka Tsutsui, Paprika contains the most incredible stylistic games, plot leaps, and psychological reflections from one of Japan's most talented animators.

Paprika Is the Culmination of Satoshi Kon's Talent

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The anime combines not only dream and reality, but also all of Satoshi Kon's achievements accumulated throughout his career: a riot of color, a film within a film, a reflection on creativity, and the breaking of the fourth wall. The genius of Satoshi Kon blossomed in all its glory in this work, and his skill reached its peak.

The surreal sci-fi, which begins with a scene in a circus, becomes a breathtaking cinematic attraction in itself, with references to classic 20th century Hollywood films, including Roman Holiday. Kon himself admitted that he does not like stories that are one hundred percent clear to the viewer, and Paprika definitely needs to be revisited several times.

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Throughout his career, the Japanese master was able to create a unique style of editing that has influenced the entire anime industry and some cult Western films, such as Christopher Nolan's Inception and the Wachowskis' The Matrix, inscribing his name not only in the history of anime, but also in the history of cinematography.