English: Paranoia Agent
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Feb 3, 2004 to May 18, 2004
24 min. per episode
R+ - Mild Nudity
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.781 (scored by 35386 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
drama horror mystery psychological
SynopsisAn elementary school kid dubbed with the title "shounen bat" or "lil slugger" has been going around attacking people with his bent, golden bat. Now, two detectives are investigating so they can stop this kid from making any more attacks, but they will find out soon enough... that this case is much more than they expected.
Characters & Voice Actors
For those who aren't used to a Satoshi Kon anime, be prepared. They usually start off as a normal type of anime, and then take a serious turn for the surreal. As for Paranoia Agent, it starts off as a normal detective-style anime but then the plot twists and turns worse than a twist-tie on a bag of wonder bread. For those used to Satoshi Kon's work (Paprika, Tokyo Godfathers, etc), none of this is news. Personally I enjoy a good "whodunit" anime since I also love CSI, 24, Prison Break, etc. These kind of shows actually get the viewer to really think how its going to unfold next or guess who is the real culprit. Just for general information I watched the whole show on Cartoon Network years ago, but then I rewatched the Japanese version and let me tell you there are ALOT of things they (Cartoon Network) cut in various episodes of the show. They even took out important parts of the show that were very important to making the episode make sense. But after watching the 'uncut' version many things made sense.
Even with that extra knowledge I couldn't help but think that half the episodes had a filler feeling to them. Many times you'll wonder why certain story arcs are being told or how that person is connected to the overall story but it will all make sense in the end (except for episode 09). The character cast is extremely varied, in terms of look and personality. The details show in most of their faces.Whats most noticeable is the older the character is, the more detail their face becomes. The voice acting in the english and japanese dubs are extremely top notch as well. For the serious otakus you'll definitely notice Mamiko Noto's voice or Haruko Momoi, but if you're open minded enough to listen to the english side of the voices you'll notice good voices as well like Carrie Savage or Sam Regal. But the attention to detail don't just stop with character style and voice acting.
Character props and background art is where this show shines the most, from an artists cluttered cubicle to an otaku's room filled with figures. I could have sworn you can actually see a layer of dust on an old bookshelf. Each scene is unique and different and you can tell they put alot of time and effort on all the small details to make this show stand out better than the rest. My only gripe out the artwork is that it is very earth tone and dark. Well not really dark per se but its color scheme is very warm and brownish looking which I didn't like all that much but you will soon overcome the problem the more you watch it.
Another gripe I am not to fond of how Kon draws his characters. Some of them look very normal, ordinary and sometimes cute. But the characters who wear their personality on their sleeves look very drastic. Like abnormaly huge mouths, beady eyes, fishy lips, all very strange to look at. The most that suffers from this type of look are the male figures in the show. I'm not fond of it but im sure most people will enjoy the change of pace from all the cute moe cartoons that plage the anime world.
If you have never seen a Sat-Kon anime, I highly reccomend watching this series simply because it will definitely be a different experience that you should see for yourself. With the outrageous plot twists and holes in some parts, the story does have a few problems overall. Like I said way back in the beggining the story starts out fine then it takes a serious turn for the surreal so take that however you may but I highly recommender this to anyone who doesn't mind a crazy mind trip of "Alice in Wonderland" proportions.
Title: Paranoia Agent
Anime: The animation production for Paranoia Agent was done by Madhouse (famous for work on Death Note and Paradise Kiss), and was directed by Satoshi Kon (famous for Perfect Blue and Paprika). It aired on Japanese television from February 2nd, 2004 to May 18th, 2004. Geneon (soon to be defunct) licensed it Stateside, and the fourth and final volume was released May 10th, 2005. The dubbed version also had a run on Adult Swim, the first of which began on May 28th, 2005, and an encore run on June 6th, 2006.
Story: The first episode kicks off with character designer (Sugi) being pressured to follow up on her first hit and dealing with creative block. On her way home, she runs into an older woman rummaging through garbage and who randomly disappears -- never a good sign, especially in a Satoshi Kon work. Things get progressively creepier from there, culminating in her getting beat over the head by some random elementary school punk on gold skates with a bent bat, which draws suspicion from the detectives investigating the case. Soon, others are attacked in the same way and give the same description of the kid, who is dubbed "Shounen Bat" (Bat Boy in English, but I prefer Shounen Bat, personally :P).
From there, a different director takes the helm each episode, and the episodes become self-contained one-shots that focus on a different victim of Shounen Bat. Each of the episodes are, for the most part, self-contained, but, at the same time, link together (oxymoronic, I know) in the tiniest, subtlest ways to become a part of the larger series. It's only in the last third or so of the series that episodes actually pick up where they left off the last time and connect to each other. And each of the victims have one major common factor (but I can't tell you that, because it would spoil the series for you), but connect to each other in smaller, subtler ways.
This story is nothing short of phenomenal. You'll be on the edge of your seat as you watch each victim's story unfold, wait for the inevitable attack, and watch the mystery of Shounen Bat unfold.
Just be warned, though: this is classic Kon, which means there's going to be blurring between fantasy and reality, the occasional trippiness, and psychological problems. I think this is Kon Lite, though (then again, I may have just gotten used to his works).
WARNING: There's a bit of sex and nudity in here, and some trippiness, but, as I said before, it's nothing, compared to his other works. Still, nice to know that it's there.
Art: Madhouse's realistic style fits this production to a tee. They tend to use darker colors and shades, except for when they use brighter hues, usually to a darker effect (yes, I know it's oxymoronic, work with me here).
But remember how I said that directors changed each episode? Well, this applies to the art directors, too; this results in a subtle changing of styles each episode that affects what each director most wants to get across, while still remaining Madhouse's trademark realistic style. Art directors can even change several times within an episode, which makes for some interesting style changes.
Music: Satoshi Kon almost never does a work without Susumu Hirasawa, and this is where the latter has a chance to shine. The OP is absolutely eerie, and sets the tone for the series perfectly, and the ED manages to make bright music seem like the damn creepiest thing ever. The music for the series alternates between these two extremes, but it never gets old. The ED (which is also the theme for one of the series' main characters) and the theme for Shounen Bat will never fail to send shivers running up and down your spine.
Length: Perfect. If it were any longer, it would've started to drag, but if it were shorter, they probably wouldn't have been able to tie everything together like they did. The length allows for the perfect exploration of each victim, and for the larger mystery to unfold like it does.
Seiyuu: No particular standouts or any seiyuu that I recognize, really. Overall, good job.
Overall: A Kon work, through and through, with a phenomenal story and amazing art, all because of the changing directors.
This is one of the anime that I believe you must see at least one episode of before you die. So go watch it already!
Overall: 46/50; 92% (A) read more
Another one of Satoshi Kon's masterpieces that uses a lot of the same animation style as Paprika!
Deeply Psychological, excellent and creative action, same studio.
Both Paranoia Agent and Paprika probe the power of man made illusions and how these affect reality to the point of merging with it. Paranoia Agent contradicts linear modes of story telling as the series progresses while Paprika is deliberately oneiric from the start. The artwork is similar and Satoshi Kon's trademarks are very visible in the way PA and Paprika push the limits of animation in general. Image surpasses the role of medium and becomes an experimental endeavour of psychological valence: PA and Paprika offer this autonomy of imagery without compromising a highly complex exploration of what it is that shapes and defines reality.
Both are directed by Satoshi Kon, both can mess with your mind.
Same man behind the anime's and they're both psychological. Lots of jaw dropping moments where u'll think "What the HELLLL???!!" but in a good mind flexing way
In both delusions merge with reality
Both have twists that will make make you think, "what the hell is going on?"
This recommendation is rather pointless. Same creators and genre. Both are great.
The surrealism and they are both detectives, the same psychodelic atmosphere and the same conclusion in the end.
It's the same director, but it also has the same colorful, almost nonsensical feel to it.
Satoshi Kon, similar visuals and both have an amazing soundtrack. Similar atmosphere, both portray a merging of the surreal with the real.
Both are Madhouse, Satoshi Kon anime with media-making characters, haunted by their own guilt.
Very similar plot development. Both are psychological
complex stories, similar people, and 'real' world with a supernatural twist
These series are about people on the edge and how everyone can be driven to psychological collapse if enough pressure is added. Boogiepop Phantom is extremely confusing for the most part and demands constant attention from the viewer, while PA is as odd and requires some analysis to be fully comprehended. A dark atmosphere pervades both efforts; in Paranoia Agent it is edgy and at times quirky, while in BP it remains somber and moody through and through. Both deal with the effects of self delusion taken to the extreme of alienation and conflict.
They both have a very strange psycological atmosphere, they have similar characters and they both deal with human and society problems. The taste this series give you its very similar.
Both Boogiepop Phantom and Paranoia Agent involve a group of people who don't seem to be connected but are all affected by a strange supernatural phenomenon. Both have dark undertones and are very psychological, requiring your full attention.
Similar setting - modern Japan, in both people are facing some kind of urban legend, origins unknown, that helps them reach katharsis
similar feel of dark atmospheric and psychological undertones
Both series have a dark atmosphere and mystery revolving around different characters with storytelling of different perspectives.
Both series are quite dark and focuses more of the psychological theme involving murder, mystery, and twists. A psycho drama pleasing to eyes of fans into the psychological side of anime.
They're both dark urban fantasy and also share many similarities in the way the narrative is set out, jumping from person to person to tell stories that are connected in some way.
Both series have a feeling of unease about them, with a dark and eerie atmosphere and a supernatural "main character" (?) lurking behind the scenes each episode.
The way the story is told is very similar, with each episode focusing on a different person (or group of people) and the strange events surrounding them.
Opening Theme"Yume no Shima Shinen Kouen/Dream Island Obsessional Park (夢の島思念公園)" by Susumu Hirasawa
Ending Theme"Shiroi Oka - Maromi no Theme" by Susumu Hirasawa
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