Friday, February 25, 2011

Turning Japanese: Inception x Paprika

Last night, I had an idea for a new feature for this blog. I had noticed a vast number of American books, movies, and comics have taken inspiration from manga and anime. It makes me happy to see that several very prolific talents would take interest in anime and manga; however, it bothers me how few people are aware of their connections to J-cool culture. So, I have decided to make a new column dedicated to enlightening those unaware of a movie's otaku roots.

Movie: Inception (Christopher Nolan)
Anime: Paprika (Satoshi Kon)
What Makes Them Similar: Both movies' plots center on a machine that allows people to enter dreams.
Proof of Inspiration: The character of Ariadne, the architect, was reportedly inspired by Paprika's titular character.
Is Inception a Rip-off: No. Despite the noticeably similar premise, the execution is very different. While Paprika had a winsome, emotionally charged narrative, Inception was a sterile, often cold experience. I would compare this to the relationship between Ghost in the Shell and The Matrix (which I will certainly discuss at a later date), except that both of those movies were emotionally cold. Both movies and directors come from a very similar intellectual place, but the final products of each are remarkably unique, a fine example of how a good creative mind can take an identical concept to a very, very different place.

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