Posted by Lenlo on 21 February 2019 with categories: Paranoia Agent, Throwback Thursday

Welcome to another week of Paranoia Agent! This week Kon explores different generations, Shounen Bat gets caught and the Old Lady becomes relevant. Lets dive in!

After the bumpy reception I had towards last week’s episode, Paranoia Agent bounced back to wow me this week. Production wise, it was incredibly expressive this week. With the character animation exaggerating to go with the fantasy backdrops. The chief especially, with his expressive face and body language, really made a lot of its scenes. Bringing a lot of situational comedy without detracting from the story, as it fit his character well. The backgrounds were also varied and unique. Making every scene stand out, compared to the otherwise standard cityscape backdrops we normally get. Combine this with Kon’s directorial style, and Paranoia Agent was a treat to watch this week. With visuals out of the way, now let’s get into the story itself. Remember, spoilers after the break!

First up, let’s talk about Kozuka Makoto, Shounen Bat. Turns out he really was caught, and he is an actual kid, not a force of nature like I suspected. What Makoto is though, is bat shit insane, as he believes the entire world is a video game. Gotta say, on my list of possibilities, this was all but non-existent. It’s very interesting though as he is clearly not in his right mind, all of his victims did come out better mentally for it, and it does connect back to the old man. So clearly, there is still something great going on to connect this all together. So now the question becomes, why is he like this? Does Kon think to many video games are bad, or is Makoto just escaping reality? Paranoia Agent manages to answer my question, while raising a dozen more, and I love it.

As far as Makoto’s story goes, I thought it interesting. I will touch on later on how it uses each of the series characters, but first, lets talk the detectives. Paranoia Agent did a great job of against the old “with age comes wisdom” saying. Showing how just because someone is you are older than someone, you are not guaranteed to be smarter or right. We see this throughout as Maniwa works with Makoto to get more and more of the story out of him. Meanwhile the chief is against it the whole time, always working at cross purposes, and getting no information. Paranoia Agent has done this before with Maniwa, as his insights have been ignored by the chief, with him finally getting to show off a bit here. He kept it up just long enough to get a lead, and I loved it.

Paranoia Agent didn’t do this just story wise though, but worked it into the visuals. With the chief being in his suit the entire time, smoking a cigarette on the sidelines of a big fight. Rambling about society and what is happening to the world, like every old grandma. Meanwhile Maniwa was slowly assimilating into the story. Getting relevant clothes to the fantasy world, getting acknowledged by Makoto’s Holy Warrior form and getting more and more involved. Only for it all to drop away the moment he got what he needed, when he got back in his suit and was walking around town. It made for a very clear delineation I feel, and showed that Maniwa didn’t actually believe anything that was going on. He was just playing to Makoto, in an odd sort of good cop/bad cop routine. I thought it worked quite well.

For how all of the characters were worked in, Paranoia Agent made some interesting decisions here. Walking us through them in order and showing how each one was possessed by the “Gooma”. Makes you wonder who will be that grand evil. But Paranoia Agent didn’t stop with just the victims, but worked in the old man and woman as well. Making it seem like Makoto went to the old man to figure out who each of his targets are. Did he actually go, or did it just work out that way? That could be very important for the overall story and I can’t wait to learn it. What stood out to me the most though, was the lack of Tsukiko. Where was she this episode? She was the first victim, yet we skipped over her completely. Makes me think there is something more going on with her.

So now the question is, where does Paranoia Agent go fro- wait a second. I just had a revelation while writing this post, and going back to previous episode screenshots. In earlier appearances of Shounen Bat, he smiles. But Makoto is shown, very clearly and obviously, to have braces in this episode. A clear indicator that they are important to the narrative, why else give them such prominence? So if the first appearances of Shounen Bat doesn’t have braces, but Makoto does… does that mean Makoto is an imposter? But why? Is it for the attention? Is he making all of this up? Perhaps that is why Tsukiko wasn’t present in the story, because he didn’t actually attack her? Or are there multiple Bats? Or maybe he just got the braces recently? Regardless, everything I thought I knew about what was happening, just went out the window.

With that revelation, I have to say, all in all Paranoia Agent did a fantastic job this week. It brought me back in to the series where episode 4 had lost me a bit. Revitalized my interest in the Shounen Bat mystery and also ties us back in to some earlier characters who had disappeared. It even managed to leave some clues, such as the braces, that what is happening or we are seeing isn’t necessarily true. That what is happening isn’t as clear cut as we may otherwise believe. It is these kinds of clues that make mysteries good, as a it lets the audience try to figure it out with the character. To put the pieces together on their own, and get that satisfaction at the end if/when they are right. So yes, I enjoyed this episode, and can’t wait for me.

But what do you think? Paranoia Agent get a bit to weird for you here? Let me know down below! And remember, I will be out next week because of a trip to Japan. So there will be no posts until March, sorry to say. See you then!

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