Posted by Lenlo on 23 March 2019 with categories: Paranoia Agent, Throwback Thursday

Hello all, and welcome to a very… odd episode of Paranoia Agent. Which, knowing this show, is saying something. This week we tackle public gossip, the inconsistencies that come with it and if there is any truth to it. Lets go!

Starting off, let’s talk about the execution. Normally here, I talk about animation and production, but Paranoia Agent has been pretty consistent on that front to this point. Giving me little to talk about without repeating myself. So instead, how was this executed? In my opinion, it was very interesting to watch. You could never tell, at least at first, which pieces of gossip were real or not or how much so. With how crazy Paranoia Agent has been up to this point, this line of what is or is not believable was pushed very far back. So in that sense, this episode did a fantastic job expanding on the world while staying true to its weird/eldritch roots. That said, just like last week, this feels rather fillery. It doesn’t move the plot forward. At best, it tells us Shounen Bat is more prolific than we though.

My biggest issue with the episode has to be the repetition. Now, its possible and even probable this was on purpose. Paranoia Agent likes to comment on social issues, and it can get a little repetitive in its story format because of that. So not only would it be poking fun at society in this episode, but at itself a little as well. I am willing to accept that it was looking that far ahead with this episodes purpose. However, as clever as it might have been, it wasn’t that entertaining to watch. Had it cut down on the sheer number of gossip stories, gone for say a total of 3-4 longer ones, I think it would have benefited. The episode would be tighter and less cluttered, while still getting the point across for how gossip can get out of hand. Because as the episode went on, I lost interest.

What I mean is that the first 2-3 stories were good, and I was engaged. I could believe them as real, for the most part, because they were grounded in real issues. Such as Japan’s crazy study/exam culture, or household hierarchy. They were just grounded enough to be believable while being out there enough to fit as gossip. And let me be clear, that isn’t to say that some of the later ones didn’t touch on important topics either. But they just felt… less and less real? Perhaps serious would be a better word? For instance the baseball team. Peer pressure is an issue, but it felt like a throwaway tale instead of something more complete. Of course, that’s because it was. But Paranoia Agent has screwed itself here, as I have come to expect that more complete level of quality. So these lesser stories fall short.

Some good thing’s did come out of this though. Paranoia Agent continues to be the best Eldritch Horror anime I have ever seen. With every story about Shounen Bat reinforcing that, even if they accomplish nothing else. For instance, the first story with the vomiting of knowledge, was fantastic. Just abstract and absurd enough, while hitting such a ubiquitous topic. Even with its absurdity, with how previous episodes have gone, I was all for believing it. Paranoia Agent, when its focused, does a great job of building that tension and crafting that sense of unease that permeates every story in it. Perhaps that is what is missing from the later gossip stories, that built up sense of tension, as they get shorter and shorter.

The consequence of all these gossip stories though, and the fear the ending leaves me with, is where is Paranoia Agent going. The series started focused on the characters. Our leads, from the Cops to the “Journalist” to the children. Yet the deeper we get into the series, the more the focus becomes Shounen Bat. Now, some of you may wonder why that’s an issue, Shounen Bat is clearly the Antagonist/Villain or something, right? Well, its because Shounen Bat isn’t a personality. He only shows up in other people’s stories. He is only engaging because of the characters around him. So when you remove those established characters, our lead groups, he becomes much less interesting. I want to see his effect on Maniwa, I want to see how this connects back to Tsukiko. Basically, I want Paranoia Agent to stop introducing new characters and focus on what it has.

So all in all, how was the episode. To be honest… disappointing. I could handle last weeks essential filler, because it was still novel and a sort of break after Maniwa. This though, another “filler” following the previous? What is the point of it, would the story be hurt if this was removed? I don’t think so, this episode feels like chaff basically. Unneeded. Perhaps Paranoia Agent is using it and episode 8 to show a passage of time. Making an episode/story instead of some kind of “three months later…” sort of deal. If so, I understand the attempt, applaud it even. But I don’t think the attempt worked, not for me at least. I want to see our leads, I want to see what happens to Maniwa, the Old Man and Tsukiko. Not some group of old gossips and a desperate house wife.

But what about you? Is my IQ not high enough to appreciate this, perhaps I missed some key detail? How did this episode resonate with you? Tell me down below, and I will see you next week!

2 Responses

  1. Avatar JH says:

    Is there anyone who hasn’t seen this yet?
    These gossip stories are important.
    Shounen Bat is not… yet.
    That is all.

  2. AidanAK47 AidanAK47 says:

    Lenlo, I think this series is gonna go in a direction you won’t be fond of. I know that cause your thinking mirrors mine when I watched it.

    Let me just say that it’s only going to get weirder from here.

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