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Paprika by Yasutaka Tsutsui
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Paprika (edition 2002)

by Yasutaka Tsutsui

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Kosaku Tokita and Atsuko Chiba have been short-listed for a Nobel Prize for their work in developing and using psychotherapy devices allowing an analyst to access and even enter and affect a patient's dreams. But it seems that someone at the Institute for Psychiatric Research may be intent on sabotaging their chances. Chiba, in the guise of Paprika, has been using the device to treat high-end businessmen and is asked by the Institute's president to help one of his friend's who's been suffering from a severe anxiety neurosis. As the technology is still only in the development stage then its use outside of the lab is illegal and with the increased press scrutiny may provide the opportunity the saboteurs require. When 5 of the 6 newest prototypes go missing maybe they also have the means as well. Can Chiba/Paprika scuttle their plans and prevent a catastrophe that misuse of the new devices may bring?

I came to this book through the anime movie (unfortunately Satoshi Kon's last directorial feature film) and I'm glad I experienced them in that order. The film really helped me visualise the more surreal moments of the story towards the end of the book when dreamscape and reality merge. There are two main issues I had with this book. The first is what I assume is probably the translation. It is often stilted and doesn't flow all that naturally. The second, and less forgiving, is how much the use of sex and rape is used as a plot device. Pretty much all of the male characters want to have sex with Atsuko Chiba in one form or another, whether it's as a willing partner or not. Despite that, there's still a decent story in there with some interesting concepts that make the reader think. Because of this I would be willing to give the author a further try especially when another of his titles (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) has also been adapted into an acclaimed anime movie. 3★'s ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Nov 15, 2014 |
Tedium, broken up by excitement I couldn't understand. ( )
  picardyrose | Jun 24, 2013 |
The movie is significantly better but I finished the book because I LOVE the movie. The book just wasn't quite as fantastic or vivid or imaginative and 100 times more rapey. Seriously, almost every man in the book either tries to rape Paprika or ends of having sex with her. I'm not a prude but the threatened rape at every corner got old fast. But I'm glad this book exists, so the movie could be created. I'm also glad Satoshi Kon made the changes that he made. ( )
1 vote yolaleah | Apr 4, 2013 |
Amazingly good. Tsutsui plays with your mind yet you don't feel robbed, you feel all the ups and downs as the story comes and goes and gets confusing, yet you will also understand somethings that the characters didn't and you will be left with questions that they never asked.
I would surely recommend it (yes, not the best review, but to give a full extent review, for me, would be to try and spoil a flavor that only Tsutsui could leave in your mouth). ( )
  littlesparrow | Apr 2, 2013 |
Atsuko Chiba, beautiful and brilliant psychotherapist, is one of the best and brightest working at the Institute for Psychiatric Research. She deftly uses the cutting edge psychotherapy devices that allow therapists to view patients dreams and even insert themselves into or manipulate those dreams to aid therapy. When helping private, rich clients, Atsuko disguises herself as Paprika to conduct therapy sessions in secret. Trouble starts when someone steals one of the psychotherapy devices to use it maliciously and drive people insane. Atsuko must differentiate between the rapidly overlapping worlds of dream and reality to find the culprit.

I was super excited to read Paprika. The plot sounds surreal and amazing plus I've only heard good things about the anime film based on the book. Despite my excitement, I just struggled to finish it. It had a lot of potential. The technology and the innovation with dreams and therapy is incredibly interesting and had the makings for wonderful scenes of surrealism. I just couldn't get past the language and the unlikeable characters. I'm not sure if I didn't like the author's writing or if it was a bad translation, but it was downright painful and stilted. It was as if the translator didn't want to use any pronouns and just repeated everyone's name every time a person was referenced or spoke. It didn't flow well and it grew arduous to read. The characters are terrible. Despite being professional adults who might win prestigious international awards, they are the most petty and immature group ever. Everyone just talks about Atsuko's beauty instead of her abilities or her intelligence. Her colleagues are very childish and whine about their own looks and how everyone hates them. Grow up! You are adults and there are much more important things happening than their middle school level drama. Even Atsuko's therapy was just very ham handed and really seemed like the patient was really diagnosing himself half the time. I grew bored by the end of the novel and just skimmed the ending.

Paprika had a lot of potential with the technology and surrealist elements, but the writing and the intolerable characters just ruined the book for me. I would try to read another book by Yasutaka Tsutsui because it may have been a bad translation. ( )
  titania86 | Jan 8, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Kosaku Tokita lumbered into the Senior Staff Room.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Widely acknowledged as Yasutaka Tsutsui's masterpiece, Paprika unites his surreal, quirky imagination with a compelling, haunting narrative. When prototype models of a device for entering into patients' dreams go missing at the Institute for Psychiatric Research, it transpires that someone is using them to manipulate people's dreams and drive them insane. Threatened both personally and professionally, brilliant psychotherapist Atsuko Chiba has to journey into the world of fantasy to fight her mysterious opponents. As she delves ever deeper into the imagination, the borderline between dream and reality becomes increasingly blurred, and nightmares begin to leak into the everyday realm. The scene is set for a final showdown between the dream detective and her enemies, with the subconscious as their battleground, and the future of the waking world at stake"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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