Danny Webster’s review published on Letterboxd:
Paprika presents a world entirely about the Japanese conciousness. The fantasies and dreams of a stoic nation projected onto a screen like a wounded, naked and ashamed housefly ready to be splatted by an equally mortal and scarred hand. To reveal and expose these fantasies is not a shame for Satoshi Kon however, as he focusses his efforts not only on shame - as he does with Tokita who despite his genius devours everything in his path like an all-consuming megaton nuclear bomb -- and detective Toshimi, a depressed individual battling inner demons and lost dreams as a result of his own uncertainty.
In this world, in the film, Tokita is the creator of a device known as D.C. Mini, which allows Chiba Atsuko to record and enter dreams to assist psychiatric patients. In this world, Atsuko becomes the titular Paprika; a sort of prosopopoeia who not only contradicts her own personality but ultimately represents the conclusive fantasy of the Japanese man. Paprika is a manic pixie girl and Atsuko is the uptight, cold and difficult aloof reality.
Confronting reality is an important portion of the film; as each character confronts their own reality through the dream-world; battling against not only their own fantasy but against the fantasies and desires, and in same cases the antagonism they are confronted by.
Paprika is a golden flurry of not only Satoshi Kon's dream like aesthetic but also the realms and difficulties of science, its limited potential and the frustrations of living in a modern world where science exists not as fantasy would have it be. Technology is an ally we must embrace, but if we embrace it too tightly it will crush us mercilessly to death and pummel us into obscurity.
The soundtrack is also obscure, for what it is worth; using a strange vocaloid singing voice and it was also composed by Susumu Hirasawa (the same who composed for Paranoia Agent which funnily enough, reflects upon the similarities in theme between them -- not everything is at is seems).
Which is just how animation works. Satoshi Kon's animation can give off the illusion that it is a live-feature film by falsifying its own existence by imitating cinematography techniques. The shots appear to be from a camera which would have been intriguing; yet what appeals to me about animation in particular is the pre-determinedness of its entire existence. A live-action film may accidentally create something masterful by environment and that in itself is magical, but the magic involved with this particular animation is the result of a genuine genius. Paprika presents a world entirely about the Japanese conciousness: Satoshi Kon's conciousness.