Posted by Lenlo on 31 January 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Paranoia Agent, Throwback Thursday

Hello to week 2 of Paranoia Agent, now with an extra dose of weird! This week we focus on some new characters, the cruelty of children and the supernatural presence of Lil Slugger. Lets jump in!

In general, this was an odd week of Paranoia Agent. Only 2 episodes in and I expect to see myself saying that often. It started off very subdued with its animation. Lots of nice details, but nothing like Kawazu’s beautifully creep fluidity. It did have some awesome direction though. Showing how Icchi views himself and his growing paranoia and solitude. A lot of the shots were very evocative, and really sold the growing dread, even if the animation was more subdued. That isn’t to say Paranoia Agent didn’t have its moments of Kon greatness though. It just reserved it. Every time Icchi started to freak out, the art changed to a more simplistic but exaggerated style. Really playing with the camera angles and stretching the models. I think reserving the fun animation for these moments was a great idea, as it made them really stand out from everything else.

Now lets get into specifics, such as the aforementioned Icchi and his counterpoint Usshi. Paranoia Agent pulled a fast one this week, completely switching the focus from Tsukiko to these kids. I was nervous about this at first, but it helps show the effect of Shounen Bat from a different angle. What I loved about this though was how Paranoia Agent characterized them. Before Icchi really even said a word, we got a good idea of his character. Practicing his smile in the mirror, a designed look at attitude. His actions told us volumes about his character before any dialogue did. We also saw Usshi characterized through actions, rather than Icchi’s words as our unreliable narrator. Considering a majority of the episode was also from his perspective, this was necessary in my opinion.

Before going further though, I want to spend more time on the unreliable narrator aspect. The entire episode, excluding some bits with Tsukiko, were all from Icchi’s perspective. Another brilliant choice from Kon in my opinion, as I don’t think the growing dread would be near as impactful if split up. It forces us to pay attention to his words and compare them to what we see, as the narrator is a character with stakes in the show. There were some moments this was broken up, such as the phone camera shots, that took me out of the flow. However given their place in the narrative, I think they were necessary. I just wish there was a different way to present them. Given I have no idea what could be better though, I really have no place to knock points for this from.

For Icchi’s actual mental state, I touched on it a bit before, but I quite liked his slow breakdown. All the little things adding up. He starts able to ignore it, its just a stupid rumor. But as it builds and builds, he starts to get more and more irrational about it. Eventually directing it towards Usshi specifically because of how different they are from each other. We even got to see how Usshi’s kind actions can get twisted when stuck in this paranoid mindset. Kind actions instead becoming devious manipulations. I can’t say I have much experience with this personally, but I do distinctly remember over thinking other peoples actions when worried about their response. This is the same thing, but taken to an extreme, and for me it was surprisingly accurate.

The big thing for me about all of this though was Kon’s commentary on bullying and children. How unfounded it can be and how it can come from nowhere. The littlest things setting you apart eventually cascading out of control. Generating more and more victims. Because as much of an ass as Icchi is, he is without a doubt a victim in all of this. Simply owning a pair of skates caused everyone to turn against him, the equivalent of ruining his life to a sixth grader. Kon even goes into how the actions of adults can have negative effects in the politics of children. The detectives visit and clear Icchi, yet their simple act of visiting made him stick out even more. Worsening it all.

Paranoia Agent doesn’t descend into physical bullying either, but focusing on the mental and social aspects of it. Drawing on his poster, destroying his robot model and writing on his desk. Its all these, admittedly not small but still little, things adding up. I do have some questions about it though. The big one being, who took those pictures? Was it Shonen Bat? But that doesn’t fit his style at all so far, which means it was someone else. I refuse to believe it’s Usshi, he had no idea and I doubt he actually is some kind of mastermind. So who took the photos? I hope we find out, as I think it would be very disappointing for such a large plot point to be some random passerby.

Finally, we get back to Shounen Bat. In this episode, it is all but confirmed that Shounen Bat is on some level real. He isn’t Tsukiko’s imagination nor is he a split personality. Afterall, someone else saw him, and he doesn’t fit Tsukuko’s profile at all. So at the least, he exists. However, I am not convinced that something paranormal is not happening. Shounen Bat appeared at precisely the right time, story wise, and I am sure there is some kind of internal logic to his targets. There has to be, as the Old Man pulled his math once again, and got the number 1. Icchi. Meaning he predicted Icchi would be attacked. I have to wonder though, did that one also include Usshi? Where was his math? I hope all of these questions get answered, because I find the mystery around Shounen Bat to be fascinating.

So all in all, another interesting episode of Paranoia Agent. There was a lot here worth thinking about. From the actual story involving Shounen Bat to Kon’s commentary on society. Its like every scene or character has deeper meaning. Were written as if the author were thinking about how they relate to everyone else. Its a different, much more personal touch than Planetes had in our last Throwback Thursday. There the story was more about the world and the effects of privatized space travel. In Paranoia Agent the focus is very much focused on the characters and their effect/relation to society. I think the best way to describe these kinds of series is heavy. They are heavy series. You can’t turn your brain off and relax, you have to be invested. Watching an episode of Paranoia Agent requires preparation. And so far, I love it.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Tayo Jones says:

    If you think this episode was great, wait until Ep 3.

Leave a Reply

Star Crossed Anime Blog

6 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

One Punch Man S2 – 3 [The Hunt Begins]

Alright OPM, credit where it’s due, you managed to recover a little this week.  Garou gets more screen time, the animation is a little less shit and ONEs writing is starting to shine through. Lets jump in! Starting off, as fun as it would be to rag on OPM for another week, it’s improved. This […]

Dororo – 15 [The story of the scene from hell]

Fuck you Osamu Kobayashi. Your a terrible director and you ruin everything you touch. Welcome to another week of Dororo, where for once OPM isn’t the show I am most disappointed in. Lets dive in. Let’s cut right to the chase, Dororo looked like shit this week. And all the credit goes to Osamu Kobayashi, […]

Sarazanmai – 02 [I Want to Connect, but I Want to Take]

And the wild ride is here. In turn for cardboard zombies last week, our three kappa-who-are-pooped-out-by-someone-else have to fight cat zombies, an acid bee-themed amusement park, a person with a cat face who clearly reference Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lamb, weeds and a (yuri) kiss at the end of the rainbow. It’s […]

Fruits Basket (2019) – 02/03 [They’re All Animals! / Let’s Play Rich Man-Poor Man!]

I believe it’s safe to say that one of the main concern for this adaptation of Fruits Basket isn’t about the source, but more about whether or not the current staffs have what it takes to bring this classic to life (while at the same time pleases the original author, but that’s beside the point), […]

Mix – 02/03

Star Crossed is one of the oldest anime blogs left on the English-speaking internet, so we’re bound to have a few devotees of Mitsuru Adachi, that master of classic storytelling, among our readership. If you fall into that category, you might wonder why someone who has never read or watched Touch, his seminal work, has […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 3 [Sabito and Makomo]

Welcome to Kimetsu no Yaiba, the premier Saturday Morning Cartoon of the season! This time we burn through a training arc, meet some ghosts and learn the arcs end-goal. Lets jump in! Starting off, like always, the production. Yaiba does a great job here, like usual, looking fantastic. Assume you like digital effects that is. […]

Paranoia Agent – 13 [The Final Episode] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome all to the finale of Paranoia Agent! People grow up, Shounen Bat is defeated and absolutely nothing makes any sense. Lets dive in! Starting off, visually, it worked very well as a finale. Lots of awesome shots, action and moments throughout, all blending into just a joy to watch. Really, it just flowed well. […]

One Punch Man S2 – 2 [Human Monsters]

Breathe deep… Siiiiiiiiigh… Guess we are doing this. Strap in folks, because this is going to be a rough season of OPM. Let me start off, with a friendly warning. If your here for my usual attempts at constructive criticism and attempted multifaceted analysis, I apologize. There will be very little of that for these […]

Dororo – 14 [The Story of Sabame]

Another week, another episode of Dororo. This time we learn the mystery of Dororo’s back, meet a new demon and get a lot of parallels to their current overall situation. Lets jump in! Starting off, Dororo once again is a bit disappointing on the production front. There were a number of dull or sliding stills, […]

Latest Reviews

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]

Kemurikusa (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 79/100

Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]

Mob Psycho 100 S2 Anime Review – 87/100

Upon finishing this series, the only question on my mind was how many animators did Bones sacrifice on ONE’s altar to achieve this. Following their prior season, Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 continues Bones adaptation of webcomic and manga author ONE’s 4th work, Mob Psycho 100. ONE has also authored the critically acclaimed One Punch […]

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai Review – 84/100

Anime draws on many different media types in its endless search for properties to adapt, but manga is still the king of the bunch. And why not? It’s a distinctly Japanese art form, their main demographics have significant overlap, and manga’s panel-based layout means that some of the anime staff’s work is already done. Plenty […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru Anime Review – 93/100

Recently, sports anime have become a bit of a dying breed. Falling into the same hole as Mecha, aside from a passionate base audience, most are overlooked. There are the occasional hits like Haikyuu, Yuri on Ice, or Darling in the Franxx for Mecha, but those are few and far between, often taking years. Even […]

A quick and dirty review of Garo: Vanishing Line

What it claims to be about: A secret order of knights and alchemists, the Makai Knights and Alchemists, fight horrifying creatures called Hollows who prey on human weakness .Part of the media franchise spanning anime and live action shows, this iteration is set in modern metropolis and concerns the attempts of Sword, the strongest Makai […]

Planetes Anime Review – 84/100

If there is one thing I have lost watching seasonal anime, it is patience. Every week I expect something to happen, some kind of payoff, to make watching that week worth it. Luckily, Planetes as brought that back to me. Its depth of writing, characters, and general structure belay an anime of a different age. […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]