6 Anime Movies Like Paprika [Recommendations]

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The DC Mini is a device created to help us dive into our dreams. You see, it’s when we are asleep that our unconscious reveals a lot to us, just in the forms usually of something that makes no sense, like falling out of a plane. However, the DC Mini is going to help us realize the future as it could even be used to treat mental illness… or so humanity thought. When two researchers end up following up the theft of the DC Mini, reality and dreams, along with the human psyche itself are all at stake. The last thing that this revolutionary device needs is a bad reputation because it destroyed someone’s mind, or worse.

Of course, everyone knows this movie. Paprika! The great Satoshi Kon made it! The final film of his at that! Paprika has been well loved whether it was for its storytelling, its psychological elements, and just the overall experience. A glance at the net tells you that if you have not seen the movie, are you really an anime fan? And if you have seen it, you know that you crave for more just like it. So today, we are going to take a look at six more movies just like Paprika.

Similar Anime Movies to Paprika

1. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: Sept 1, 2006

GITS:SAC Solid State Society is set two years after Motoko has left–she disappeared– from Section 9. Togusa is now calling the shots, and there are a bunch of newbies. As one would guess, the puppetmaster is suspected to be behind a series of incidents. When Batou is out on a mission one day, he finds the Major! However, she just warns him to stay away from the solid state society before leaving. However, as more events occur including one involving Togusa’s own children, it seems that Section 9 has a lot more than they planned for as they try to not only investigate the solid state society but also the puppetmaster.

Truth be told, Ghost in the Shell 2 Innocence is a lot closer to Paprika, but if you’re not a fan of very long monologues or GITS as a whole, then you may have a hard time not only sitting through Batou and Togusa’s conversation with the puppetmaster in Innocence, but you also have to sit through the first GITS movie in order for Innocence to make sense. Thankfully though, Solid State Society, is easier to digest while still keeping similar themes. SSS also delves into humanity and what makes us different from each other like Paprika does. While SSS has a solid storyline that makes sense, Paprika is something that is best experienced and not pondered. Paprika and SSS also both deal with what is reality and what is fantasy while layering both effortlessly on top of each other. Not to mention too, there’s some dabs of action in as well, so you know this is not entirely a post-existential crisis psychological rant. Enjoy!

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society Trailer


2. Perfect Blue

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: Feb 28, 1998

Mima Kiroge is a member of the idol group CHAM! And wants out. When she gets the chance, she leaves to pursue her acting career. Naturally, some fans are okay with it, but others are not. Some begin to harass her including one fan who is relentless about how she has betrayed her. However, Mima tries to brush it off as she gets acting work. Working in a crime drama though proves to be too mentally taxing for her and she’s exhausted daily. Then, a website goes online which posts all the intricate details of her life. Now, Mima’s losing the ability to tell what is real and what is fantasy.

Let’s just start with the fact that Perfect Blue is directed by Satoshi Kon. You know you are going to love this. Both focus on a female protagonist that dances on the fine line between what is reality and what is not. Both frequently get you to ask, what if this happened in the real world? If that’s not enough to make you watch, both will completely mess with your mind, twist reality to a point that will make you question what you are watching, and the explosiveness of what Surrealism could be and is when realized. Just watch. You will not regret it.

Perfect Blue Trailer:


3. Sennen Joyuu (Millennium Actress)

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: Sept 14, 2002

The train is really going off the tracks at Ginei Studio. They are at the end of their business, but they decide to make one last film. It will be a documentary featuring Chiyoko Fujiwara. She’s well loved, so it only seems fitting since they made her a star years ago. When Genya, the filmmaker, and Kyouji the cameraman reach her though, Chiyoko takes them on a journey of her lifetime. The train fully derails though, when they lose the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy. This is further compounded with every story from Chiyoko’s past which adds more flames to the fires of fantasy. She may be older now, but her story still is a living, breathing work of art.

Guilty as charged, we had to bring up this other Satoshi Kon movie. Something that he really loved was keeping the viewer at the edge of their seats as he showed fantasy more and more and kept us guessing. The overall question is about what is reality and how can we be sure that what we are seeing is reality. While Paprika gives us dreams, Millenium Actress gives us reality, however, both blend into this fantastic monster which tells a unique story. Watching one will surely make you want to watch the other, so give it a try!


Any Anime Like Paprika?

4. Akira

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: July 16, 1988

The world has been plunged into WWIII. A boy develops psychic powers and wreaks havoc. He is eventually captured and a sense of normalcy returns. 30 years later, Neo-Tokyo is crawling with gangs that engage in violence. When Tetsuo, best friend to Shoutarou, ends up with an esper after an accident, he starts to develop powers of his own. The government however, is ready to nip this in the bud at all costs. Tetsuo’s powers could bring about a fourth world war.

Sorry, not sorry. Akira has to be here. Every step of the way through paprika and Akira twists not only what you expect to happen, but takes it outside what your general expectations are. Heavy in the sci-fi genre as well, both sets of main characters in the respective movies are trying to prevent another incident from bringing the world to its knees yet again. Akira is more violent than its psychological counterpart, but you will not regret watching this!


5. Summer Wars

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: August 1, 2009

OZ is a new reality that has been introduced into humanity. Well… sort of. It’s a virtual world attached to the internet that allows people to live out their own lives in another way they see fit. It’s the pinnacle of technology, so thankfully it’s very safe. When Kenji receives a strange message on his phone while on vacation with the girl of his dreams, he attempts to crack it and does so successfully. However, this sets into motion something that could possibly destroy Earth. Now what can he do?

The overall main theme shared here is technology and while it can be a boon, it can also be the bane of humanity sometimes. Mamoru Hosoda is another amazingly talented director and his talents really do shine here much like how Satoshi Kon’s does in Paprika. Both deal with heavy amounts of surrealism connecting to the story, but for those looking for a slightly more linear storyline after Paprika, then Summer Wars is an excellent place to start.

Summer Wars Trailer:


6. Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: July 20, 2001

Chihiro is a bit of a monster. She hates the fact that she is moving and cannot get into it. However, when she and her parents stumble across an abandoned amusement park, which then turns them into giant pigs, she is at a loss. Things only get worse for Chihiro as the sun goes down because strange things start appearing. Ghosts, spirits, and beings that she has only read about in books. Then there is Haku, a boy who introduces her to a bathhouse. She needs to work to get money in order to save her parents from becoming food. However, every interaction gets a little bit more interesting.

Spirited Away and Paprika bring our list to its final entry. Effortlessly blending our reality with another, you have to sharply question what is real and what is pure fantasy at every step. The path may appear smoother with Spirited Away, but it is still equally treacherous for our main characters. Both also tell fantastic stories of strong female characters who work hard to escape that which they are tried in. A lot of people tend to dismiss Ghibli Movies as being shallow, but it’s clear that there is a lot more here under the surface.

Spirited Away Trailer:


Final Thoughts

Paprika may be one of the final works of the late and great Satoshi Kon, however, it is great to see that there were movies before it which proceed in the same manner and there are others that come after it giving us bizarre and unique stories, fantastic plots, and leave the viewer sometimes saying, “What did I just watch?” For this list, we did focus on movies related to Paprika, but if you have more, we would love to hear them. In the meantime, check out these on the list. Who knows, by checking out these series, you may just find another you love! Till next time!

Nagareboshi

Editor/Translator

Author: Nagareboshi

American by birth; international by choice. I am trying to bring attention to one of my favorite causes; me. I translate by day and write by night. Aspiring polyglot. My dream would be to be the personal translator for Amuro Namie. Other than that, my hobbies include languages, weightlifting, sleeping, karaoke, GOOD coffee and music. When I’m not doing any of the above, I am most likely laughing hysterically at Willam Belli videos or EV farming. I ain’t gunna Rupologize for it neither. Waifu are Shirai Kuroko & Euaerin.

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