Paprika Paprika
Paprika Paprika
Atsuko Atsuko
Atsuko Atsuko
Tokita Tokita
Konakawa Konakawa
Tokita as a Robot Tokita as a Robot
Atsuko & Paprika Atsuko & Paprika

The Dream Body...

...dreaming in Black & White

with Satoshi Kon's Paprika

written by "Dr. Alam A. Mithral"

Amazing that the human body, so finite, tangible and mortal, can be the container of something as intangible and infinite
as dreams. One can nap for five minutes and awaken from a dream that lasted for an hour, or longer. Dreams can be elusive; defying memory and description, which is why Satoshi Kon's Paprika may be one of the best visualizations of dreaming. So much so that we invited Dr. Alam A. Mithral, a psychologist, to pull four dream motifs from Kon's movie and construct a sort of Paprika's guide to dreams. If you've ever turned to a dream dictionary to help you make sense of what you saw in your head, then you won't mind cross referencing with Alam's take on things. Of course, Dr. Mithral is just a person we dreamed up, but that makes him the perfect "person" to help us hallucinate... err, we mean elucidate the mythical world of dreams.

Sex "The most carnal appetite cannot be satiated by an image."

Dreams are symbolic, yet dream sex is seldom interpreted symbolically. If someone gets laid in a dream they usually reach for the lowest hanging fruit in the bountiful tree of symbols. Consequently, sex = sex, or desire, or lust, or sexuality. Not very imaginative. We're usually not this literal with other dream symbols. It's not surprising. Sex and money are interpreted so opaquely because it's what so many of us want more of. Violence and death also get blanket interpretations because so many of us live in fear of both. That Osanai excavates Atsuko's nude "real" body from the dream fabric of Paprika reveals that even the most carnal appetite can never be satiated by an image. Esteemed actress Rita Hayworth revealed candidly that "Every man I have ever known has fallen in love with Gilda and awakened with me." Rita's lovers were probably a little let down when they realized that "Gilda", like "Paprika", is an idealization of the mind that can never be realized. Flesh has a way of chasing off fantasy. Since Osanai confessed to Atsuko his burning envy of her exceptional talent, an envy that elicited feelings of powerlessness. His need to have sex with her was an attempt to be her. He digs out and discards the sensual Paprika to grasp the true source of his envy - Atsuko.


Dr. Tokita, inventor of the DC Mini, is a massive man-child. A genius who keeps his heads way up in the clouds. Like the Fool card in the Tarot deck, he's clouded by his own gaiety. However, cloudy dreams are a symbol of imminent transformation. Clouds, like so many aspects of nature, are shape-shifters. They hang over our heads now, and will rain on them later. They come down to earth for a period, before disappearing back into the air. Eventually, they reappear - but only to those willing to look up. Tokita is such a person. He dares to dream, no matter how dangerously. Like the clouds above him, he has the ability to "CTRL_Shift". When he makes the shift, so will we. Like so many visionaries, his dreams are destined to become a reality that is shared with the world.

The Chase

If you find yourself being chased in a dream there's only one thing to do - run faster.

But you can't.

You're running in slow motion.

Worse - whatever is slowing us down doesn't seem to apply to our pursuant. Being relentlessly chased in dreams is common. The usual response is to run like hell or fight like hell, which means that even in the dream world our basic fight or flight instincts prevail.

The chase often carries the interpretation of "running away" from something in life. That might be true. It could also mean that it is time to slow down and allow something to catch up with you. That might sound like suicide when a dog, killer or monster is after you in a dream, but you'd be amazed at how much dreams are really just going by the script you gave it. Don't run. Don't even fight. The Chase is your subconscious giving you an opportunity to conquer your animal nature and reprogram your fight or flight instincts. They have no place in your world of dreams.

"Reprogram your fight or flight instinct.
They have no place in your world of dreams."


If dreams had only one message to pass on to us it would surely be that we are not our bodies. Ancient cultures knew this long ago, probably because of dreams. To be in a new body but still be you is the brain saying "Hey, you're in here. Not out there." Of course, that truism is losing some of its truth as we receive more and more scientific factoids telling us the opposite: You are your genes, and your personality is purely chemical. That may be true for two-thirds of your day. But for the remaining third, the powerful voice of science is hushed. Our brains upload us, and sometimes even our friends, into a new body. To quote the Chairman in Paprika "Science is nothing but a piece of trash before a profound dream."

"Science is nothing but a piece of trash before a profound dream."
- The Chairman

This article is dedicated to the memory of Satoshi Kon and his works
October 12, 1963 - August 24, 2010