The late Satoshi Kon is one of Japan’s finest animation directors. Paprika, Perfect Blue and Tokyo Godfathers are some of his best known works. Paranoia Agent is Kon’s only Anime TV series and I have to say that it’s one of the finest psychological thrillers I have watched in recent times. If you liked shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ergo Proxy and Serial Experiments Lain then you will probably like this too.
The plot revolves around the mystery behind a string of attacks by a middle school kid in golden roller-blades and a crooked bad and called lil’ slugger. The story revolves around the victims and the two detectives in charge of the case. Sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it but it is not, mainly due to the way that the story is narrated. In each episode the story is narrated by the perspective of lil’ slugger’s next victim and for some mysterious reason lil’ slugger only attacks people who are under some severe mental stress. This means that we only get the events by the warped perspective of the aforementioned mentally
insane stressed victims.
The show is only 13 episodes but the variety of characters in it is impressive. From a cop who is a pimp, a paedophile and a thief, to a woman with severe multiple personality disorder, to a kid who is suffering from having lost his popularity. The next mysterious thing that you will notice is that all of the victims seem to be better off after after having their heads hit with a bat as they are freed from their mental stress.
The presentation of the media was also very accurate as it is portrayed as some kind of a catalyst and a tool for the spreading of ‘paranoia’ like wild fire. The title of this show kind of gives away what it is about. What they mean by paranoia here however is not the mild distrust of other people but a state of active self denial, of freeing ourself from our problems through delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, and exaggerated self-importance.
Ultimately however the message of this show is that there are no makeshift solutions to the problems in our lives or even that there are no solutions at all and that the best thing that we can probably do is to go on living with those problems.
I give this show 5/5 stars. The only thing that slightly bothered me were the filler episodes in the middle of the show.