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: 7.771 (scored by 41433 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
Perception and reality: the divergence between what one perceives and what might exist is at the heart of both series. Paranoia Agent follows a more psychological approach to unravel the relation between these vectors while Serial Experiments Lain has a more philosophical take. It is likely that those who enjoy abstract deconstructions of identity will appreciate these exercises in surreal existentialism that are Lain and Paranoia Agent.
Paranoia Agent has the same psychological feel that makes you think, but doesn't become apparent until later episodes. But if you are looking for something more rooted in a "whodunit" fashion, this is for you.
Both are heavily psychological and philosophical (Lain is more philosophical than Paranoia Agent) with mysterious circumstances and great characters (or for Lain, character).
In the way of complexity and how both deals with the psyche of society.
Both series focus heavily to the cerebral side of storytelling. The power of the mind, and how it can invade the real world in very dark ways. Symbolic and allegoric in nature, both Lain and Agent are exceptional visual treats as well as very thought-provoking and intelligently written. If you enjoy cartoons that make you think-- and more importantly, if you enjoyed Paranoia Agent-- you'll owe it to yourself to give Serial Experiments Lain a viewing. Or three.
It's all about human spirit/soul & The Net, but:
Paranoia Agent has more fragmented structure, often going sideways to tell your almost unrelated story just to keep with overall crazy style;
and just playing with questions about spirit/soul, never getting serious; while
Serial Experiments Lain has more solid structure, always staying on the way, with every episode submerging you deeper into the story;
and not answering any question about spirit/soul, but makes you think about those questions yourself.
If you're looking for amazing psychological anime; these two are among my favourites
The series both feature some really trippy/terrifying sequences, a dark atmosphere, and a plot that the viewer will have to think a lot about, not to mention that the power of the media is an important element in both.
Both Paranoia Agent and Serial Experiments Lain are thought provoking and leave a lot to the viewer to interpret, and both have stunning visual styles and interesting plot decisions, although lain is a bit more abstract than that of Paranoia Agent.
The art styles are very similar, and both shows revolve around dark, subversive presentation. Both shows are tonally very similar, but Lain has more cyberpunk elements, while Paranoia Agent has a heavier focus on individual character's stories.
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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