Posted by Lenlo on 15 March 2019 with categories: Paranoia Agent, Throwback Thursday

Hello and welcome to another weird week of Paranoia Agent! This time we have suicide pacts, gallows humor and some interesting filler content. Lets jump in!

As always, lets start with production. Paranoia Agent was… acceptable, is the best I can say. It was expressive when it wanted to be. But it simply doesn’t match up with some of the previous episodes. It used a lot still shots, which had some interesting direction, but didn’t wow me at all. Not a bad showing for a glorified filler episode, but that’s all this week was. A filler episode, with loose ties to the central plot. It was interesting, as we will dive into later, but at the moment it feels inconsequential. As if were the episode removed, the overarching plot would be the same. For such a plot driven, thematic series, that leaves me a little disappointed. After all, the only character really connected to the main series here is Kozuma, and even then only loosely. Yet still, this filler was richer than most other series.

For the story content itself, the most descriptive word I have is ‘intriguing’. Not only was it focused on suicide, a rather touchy topic for most, but Paranoia Agent explored it with 3 different age groups. Giving each person their own reasons for it. From Zebra the homosexual to Kamome who just didn’t want to be left alone. While it didn’t connect to the main plot much at all, it did provide some interesting commentary on how Japan treats some of its sub-cultures. What happens to cogs that stick out. My favorite part of it all, that was also very weird, was how it was played for laughs. Suicide and, essentially, depression being played up for laughs. For someone like me, who prefers gallows humor, it was fantastic. However I can see how this episode would bother some people. Especially with how the ending went.

The ending was simultaneously brilliant and insane. Finding out they had been dead the entire time, that at one point their suicide succeeded? Madness, and yet there were hints all throughout. From a lack of shadows and no one noticing them, to the man who crawled out from under the train. Hints that they were ghosts abounded for those wiling to look. It’s the kind of hints and mystery that I love. However I can see this being problematic for some people. As our trio seemed to be happier as ghosts, happier dead, enjoying themselves together. The episode could go either way on either saying “do what you need to do” or saying “enjoy the life you have”. Personally, I lean towards a “enjoy the little things” or “your time together” for a message. I think it fits with how long it took them to notice their deaths.

Speaking of their deaths, I think I know where it happened. Paranoia Agent did a great job hinting this throughout the episode, as was previously discussed. Because of this, I believe that our trio died right at the start, with the collapsing building. The reason for this is two fold. The first is the jump cut once the workers break in, as they wake up in the street and no one makes note of them. It’s from that point forward that they never interact with anyone else, no one taking notice. The second is that it is after that when they go to the subway, and attempt to jump in front of the train. There they see the man who did jump afterwords, clearly showing him alive. However that’s impossible, so the only explanation is he is a ghost, and so are they. They did “meet” some interesting people however.

Those people being both our real and fake Shounen Bat’s. For the fake, we see that Kozuma was in contact with our trio on the net. Giving them advice on how to commit suicide. It’s an odd connection to make to Kozuma in my opinion, as I have yet to decide how I feel about it. I am leaning towards not being a big fan of what it does to his character. That he would help people die, while at the same time seeing himself as a hero in his head. Did he make all those delusions up? The second one however, our real Shounen Bat, was more interesting. For one, he can see ghosts, and is apparently afraid of them. Two, he has more victims than we are seeing. It expands the scope of the story, if only a little, in my opinion.

So with all that said, my opinion of this episode is this. It was alright. It had some interesting commentary, Paranoia Agent would have to do very poorly to not be engaging. But it doesn’t push the overall story forward in any way. Unlike other episodes, where the characters merged back in or pushed the Shounen Bat case forward like the police officer, I don’t see how Paranoia Agent can do that here. The trio are dead, at best they could be passing mention in another story. It just feels like another way to explore the society Kon is trying to present. It’s not bad. I don’t think Kon is capable of making something “bad”. Its just irrelevant to the overall story in my opinion. And when a story is as good as Paranoia Agent’s, that’s a damn shame.

But what do you think? Am I being impatient, does this link back in the future? Let me know down below and I will see you next week!

5 Responses

  1. Avatar anon says:

    It kinda does though not the trio specifically and not directly. Without spoilering, I’d say Paranoia Agent is in transition now.

  2. Avatar Vonter says:

    What I find curious is how Paranoia Agent, despite being so good, it wasn’t that much of an ambitious project by its director.

    “During the makings of his previous three films (Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers), Paranoia Agent creator Satoshi Kon was left with an abundance of unused ideas for stories and arrangements that he felt were good but did not fit into any of his projects.”

    I suppose that’s why not all episodes from the show are part of the larger story. But at least are thematically linked to what the show is trying to say.

    I think the review comes hard on filler, and while I can understand how pointless, or even waste of time filler episodes can be, I do think they can also serve a purpose to make the story feel bigger. For example, a story within a story, like in Avatar in where a recap episode was made using a play that sort of tell what has happened in the story so far.

    I don’t know, it seems like sometimes it can be hard to link all events to the main story, but sometimes it can be more interesting telling a sidestory happening in the same world. Star Trek had a several stories no tied to an overarching story and it let them tell interesting phylosophical debates.

    In short, there’s a way to do fillers right.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      There is a way to do filler right, and Paranoia Agent was the best filler I have seen in a long time. Mayhaps I was a tad hard on it, because I want to make clear, I still enjoyed the episode.

      My issue is just that, Paranoia Agent is an all around good show. So I have come to expect a lot from it. To get a filler episode after Maniwa’s breakdown was just a bit disappointing for me.

      That said, like I believe I mentioned, it was definitely interesting. The commentary on how Japanese society treats some of its minorities or undesirables, to the point of driving them to suicide, was great. And I enjoyed the gallows humor, like the hanging being played for laughs. I suppose I just wasn’t expecting it after last week.

  3. SuperMario SuperMario says:

    This is one my favorite standalone episode of all time and it still gives me a mixture of chill, sad and laugh every time I watch it. The subject matter is dark for sure, but it has lots of heart.

    So doesn’t matter if it doesn’t fit much to the central plot, as long as it manages to make me laugh and cry in the span of 20 minutes, I’m all down for it.

Leave a Reply

Star Crossed Anime Blog

8 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 7 [Muzan Kibutsuji]

Hello all, and welcome to a big week for Kimetsu no Yaiba. This is the week where I move it up from a “Competent” Shounen to a “Good/Great” Shounen. You see, Yaiba finishes up another arc, Nezuko kicks some butt and Tanjiro meets the big bad 8 episodes in. So let’s jump into it! Starting […]

Mix – 07 [Worried?]

What’s with all the A-list seiyuu in Mix? The four main characters are voiced by some of the biggest names in the industry right now: Yuki Kaji, the Uchida siblings, and Kana Hanazawa as new character Haruka. I tend to dodge a lot of the shounen and harem series that feature Mr. Kaji, and the […]

Serial Experiments Lain – 3 [Psyche] – Throwback Thursday

Starting off, let me apologize for the lateness of this weeks Lain post. I tend to try and digest an episode before writing, and Lain makes that… difficult. As this week we get into the human psyche, the line between reality and the Wired blurs and Lain becomes multiple people. Lets hop right in! Starting […]

One Punch Man S2 – 6 [The Uprising of the Monsters]

Sigh Welcome once again to the sinking ship that is OPM S2. This week we see a fantastic character done dirty, botched pacing, and more boob shots than you can swing a stick at. Lets dive in. As always, production, and oof. OOF. JC Staff screwed the pooch this week. I won’t even talk animation, […]

Dororo – 18 [The Story of the Cape of No Mercy]

Welcome one and all to Dororo’s redemption, the episode that takes us back to first cour quality. We have demons, sword fights, and poignant character moments. Maybe, just maybe, I won’t be disappointed in 2 months. Lets jump in! First up, thank you MAPPA, for getting production right this week. Every aspect was, at the […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 6 [Swordsman Accompanying a Demon]

Welcome everyone to another episode of Yaiba! We are 1/4th of the way through now and Yaiba is 3 arcs in, with no plans of slowing. We arrive at the town, a hunt ensues and combat begins with our first super powered Demon. Lets jump in! As always, production first. I could go on and […]

Mix – 05/06 [You’re a Pitcher, Right?/When Spring Arrives]

Two weeks ago, I wondered how long Mix’s middle school arc would stretch, given that its ultimate destination was the Koushien tournament. Apparently the show had a similar question on its mind, as these two episodes pushed through an entire year’s worth of story. In fact, it was episode 6 that did the majority of […]

Serial Experiments Lain – 2 [Girls] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome to week 2 of Serial Experiments Lain, or as I like to call it, Screw With Lenlo. This week 4 friends walk into a club with drugs and a gun. Sounds like a good time, so let’s jump in! Starting off, I really need to remember when Lain was made. I got half-way through […]

One Punch Man S2 – 5 [Martial Arts Tournament]

God damnit OPM. I thought we were past this, I thought we could get along. It was my hope, after these last two episodes, that you could make it. I was wrong. This week OPM disappoints me, and I once again get to go on a rant. Jump in if you dare. Right off the […]

Latest Reviews

[Star Crossed Anime Exclusive] Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection Review – 80/100

I was lucky enough to be at Sakura-con in Seattle on 20 April 2019 for the Funimation’s movie premiere of Code Geass’ third movie with the Director himself, Gorō Taniguchi, along with his senior staff in attendance inside a room full of raving fans. Was it was worth the decade-long wait to have a worthy […]

Paranoia Agent Anime Review – 67/100

In an era of the mundane, where every series is the same moe blob, the weird sticks out. Even the most mediocre series can get attention just by being weird. Paranoia Agent is not mediocre, and it is far beyond simply “weird”. Written and Directed by Satoshi Kon, Paranoia Agent is one of his last […]

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 […]