Dr. Atsuko Chiba has the honor of being one of the few psychotherapists to test out the next wave of psychological probing: The DC Mini. Designed by a jelly donut of a man named Dr. Tokita, the DC Mini allows Chiba to go into her patients' dreams, studying and interacting as her alter ego Paprika. She has made major breakthroughs with one patient, Detective Konakawa, but soon enough the DC Mini becomes a point of threat. It seems that certain proprietors of the Mini DC are committing suicide while in a waking dream populated by lunatic imagery including a disco-dancing refrigerator, teddy bears trotting around, and a monster mash of telephones, alarm clocks, and action figures. It becomes Chiba, Det. Konakawa, and Paprika's charge to find out who is behind these deeds and who has stolen one of Tokita's Mini's for their own use.
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A senseless roller coaster ride through the unstable mind of a bubble-headed, Japanese teenager and flash-in-the-pan, cheese-pop singer, "Perfect Blue" is just the kind of anime that could turn Western audiences off from this generally fascinating genre all together.
Animated and written at a level a few steps above "Pokemon" but several stories below classics like "Akira" and "Ghost in the Shell," this absurd import takes weak passes at Hitchcockian mind bending, but winds up pitching gibberish.
Not only is the supposedly cerebral stuff hard to follow, but the heroine -- a sweet young thing named Mima, whose career handlers are pushing her away from the singing she loves and toward an acting career -- is so uselessly dim and giggly the only people who could possibly take interest in her are stalker types.
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'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.