Posted by Lenlo on 24 January 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Paranoia Agent, Throwback Thursday

Hello all and welcome to another round of Throwback Thursday, with this seasons special guest, Paranoia Agent! Satashi Kon through and through, lots of weird beautiful things are happening, so let’s jump right in!

Starting off, some details for how this is going to go. Planetes was a 26 episode series, so we did 2 episodes a week so we could get through it in a season. Paranoia Agent is a 13 episode series, so we will be doing 1 episode a week. A nice and easy pace. As for Paranoia Agent itself, you can tell its Satoshi Kon right from the get go. He has a very personal, odd style, which I love. I think you can see it most in his focus on lips and mouths, faces in general. You can see it to a great extent in Tokyo Godfathers, but his faces are always… not droopy, but fluid. Detailed in how the mouth and the skin around it moves. It could almost be described as plump on some characters. Regardless, it’s an iconic and brilliant style that I love.

Onto specifics! Right off the bat, Paranoia Agent hit me as a weird show. It definitely has some commentary it wants to make on society, some common through line, but one episode in I can’t figure it out. There is a clear critique of what smart phones and social media have done to us. Everyone being on their phone, ignoring each other, etc etc. But at the same time it seems like Paranoia Agent his hitting against some of the work culture as well with how it handles Tsukiko, our lead. Finally, it also touches on youth culture a bit with the curiously named Lil Slugger. It’s all very curious, and Kon’s unique angles and style makes it an engaging introduction. I can’t wait to see what he does with it going forward.

Speaking of the weird, lets talk about crazy old math man and the old lady. Both showed unusual focus on our lead Tsukiko, as if they knew what was coming. The old lady managed to get away before Lil Slugger appeared at all, and considering her body wasn’t found, I am assuming she is alive. Meanwhile the old man mathed out Tsukiko’s room number, predicting her as the victim basically. It makes me wonder how many victims there will be and how this will work into the greater story. The crazy math, the old woman, and the menacing presence of Lil Slugger almost gives Paranoia Agent an… Eldritch feel to it. The sort of cosmic horror Lovecraft pioneered. Though on a much smaller scale, it seems. A more localized horror. Either way, I think it has a lot of promise, and look forward to how it plays out.

As for the characters, there are a few that introduced this episode. The first, our lead I have mentioned a few times, is Tsukiko. I am curious how relevant she is going to be to the story. She seems very inconsequential aside from being the first to meet Lil Slugger. Like she was just chosen out of the blue. I suspect there will be more to it than this, that it will fit in with Kon’s commentary on society. But for now its to early to tell. I am also curious about the doll segment. I haven’t yet decided if she was hallucinating, since she got smacked in the head, or if it actually happened. Knowing Kon, it could be either, but so far I am leaning towards hallucination. I think Paranoia Agent wants to hint at the Eldritch horror angle without full on embracing it, which is just fine.

Next up we have Kawazu, the creepiest, slimiest anime character I have seen in a long time. Paranoia Agent does a fantastic job portraying this slime ball of a human being. From his hanging fatty flesh around his chin and mouth, to his leering eyes and movements. The eating of the cherry or the licking of the ice cream, the sweat beading down his face at the hospital. It’s just so disgustingly well done. Yet it isn’t a turn off, its engaging, so well has Kon portrayed him. I want to see more of him, because of his on screen presence and how he plays off of all the other characters. He is engaged with everyone, from Tsukiko and the Old Man to the Cops and the Old Lady. He is like the glue that holds them all together in the narrative.

Finally, we have our villain (?) who I have mentioned before, Lil Slugger. He had perhaps the least screen time of the episode, but considering he set everything in motion, he is perhaps the most important. I am still not convinced he exists at all personally. I am fully prepared for some twist where Tsukiko is actually Slugger with split personalities or something. Some kind of supernatural setup. I admit, what leads me to this is entirely the Old Man and Woman. I don’t see why they would be included, why Paranoia Agent would hint at it, if Lil Slugger was actually a real person. This isn’t Psycho Pass, I doubt Paranoia Agent is a grounded mystery or thriller. Everything from the OP to the series itself is very unnatural. I suppose we will have to wait and see though.

All in all, Paranoia Agent has me very intrigued. The characters are great, I love Kon’s style, and the story is drip feeding us information on a regular basis. Everything about it screams deliberation. Take for instance the police driving over the biggest clue they have, the Old Man’s math. Never looking around them or considering all their options. Society just taking it for granted. Kon has put a lot of work into the series and it makes me excited for what to come.

What do you think though? Paranoia Agent a good pick? Am I a raving madman about Lil Slugger being fake and this all being some kind of Eldritch horror story? Let me know below, and I will see you next week!

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Tayo Jones says:

    Just wait. Things will get more surreal as you progress through the series. You are in for a treat

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