Gawkish Kogure passively allows himself to be cursed by the boss of the paperclip factory where he works as a paperclip bender. Without protest, he lets his clothes be stolen by fairly clumsy thieves. Kogure doesn’t put up a fight about anything. One day he finds a butterfly in his small flat; he allows the insect to fly to freedom. Another day he finds a woman speaking strangely (a gibberish invented by the makers) in his flat. He lets her stay, just like her father who turns up. In Kogure's imagination, the woman is a transformation of the butterfly.
Anatomy of a Paper Clip is an unusual romantic comedy. The humour is fairly bizarre and the staging unreal. The story is like a fairytale, but not the colourful childlike kind; everything has a black edge. Ikeda Akira sketches a strange, small world where peculiar and fairly unsavoury food gets eaten. Yet the mechanisms of work and relationships look suspiciously like those in the real world. Ikeda based his story on the mood and magic of old Japanese folk stories. The final film emerged in close corporation with the actors, most of whom had worked previously with the filmmaker (for instance in his debut film Blue Monkey).
Anatomy of a Paper Clip was made under the auspices of the PIA film festival in Tokyo, which has a reputation for finding and guiding new film talent.