Posted by Lenlo on 19 April 2019 with categories: Paranoia Agent, 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. From how the Chief’s slow realizations were portrayed to the actual final set piece action, I thought was gorgeous. One interesting thing about it all though are the reused shots. The actual art and scene contents are changed of course. But the shots/locations/angels are the same as the opening episode. Showing us how much everything has changed, and how it all goes back to being the same after everything is over. There are parts where I think it was very dim, and hard to see lighting wise. But because of the availability of the series, I don’t know how much of that is my source and the actual series. But enough on that, lets talk story.

This was, simply put, a fucking weird episode. I would understand why a lot of people would be turned off by it honestly, because it’s a very specific kind of story. But me? Eldritch Horror is my jam and Paranoia Agent had it in spades this week. Every aspect of the show is baked and soaked in the stuff. Take for instance the Chief’s dream-world again, where he had given in. Everything was bending to keep him trapped, complacent, clearly intelligent and with meaning. It was all very… sinister, taking this happy world and giving it a shadow. Once you add in Maromi, giving it a voice, and Ikari, giving it an opponent, it became even more so. Ikari’s final moments being used to break her husband out of his stupor? It fit their joint theme fanatically, and really brought their arc to a compelling close.

And by compelling close, I mean an awesome scene. The “Who’s your dad?!” scene was just a brilliant way to transition. Breaking the Chief, forcing Tsukiko into reality and driving the shows message home. That message being to accept reality, stop running away and don’t make excuses. Tsukiko has suffered since a child, as all she has done is make excuses. Meanwhile the Chief has never had trouble accepting reality until the end. So much so that he couldn’t even buy into the Fake Shounen Bats fantasy story. Then there was Maniwa who was torn between the two. So easily dragged out of reality, helping others out of theres but unable to get out of his himself. There were definitely some weird parts leading up to it, but as for how it actually worked? A stunning sequence.

What I also enjoyed about this theme of responsibility, and Tsukiko’s backstory, is how it applies to everyone. All the characters were suffering, all but falling apart. However their problems were, largely, self-made. Caused by their own decisions and driving themselves into a corner, Shounen Bat set them free. Shounen Bat, by his appearance, turned them into victims so that their problems were no longer their fault. It’s a great metaphor for personal responsibility I think, and for all the theories I myself have thrown out on him, I find myself satisfied. It also throws a new light on one of the filler episodes, with the 3 ghosts, who were satisfied with their mistakes. They were dead, they weren’t running anymore. Or, by another view, had finished running and were now outside Shounen Bat’s influence. I’m not smart enough to really work this out, but I appreciate that it’s there.

One aspect I am torn on though, in that I both love and question it, is the ending. Paranoia Agent has, effectively, established itself as a grand cycle. With a new Mascot 2 years after Maromi’s event, the world reset to the technological impersonal hell it was at the start, and a new old man. That old man, of course, being Maniwa. The one who dived to deeply into Shounen Bat’s story to try and stop him, and became unable to get out. Now predicting the next cycle to come. I like this, in that it shows the problem isn’t one that just goes away. Society as a whole gets complacent and falls back into the same things, that’s not wrong. But on the other hand, there really isn’t an… ending, for Paranoia Agent at that point. Just one cycle of many that have repeated for who knows how long.

So all in all, what can I say about Paranoia Agent… well it’s a weird ass show. If you enjoy Eldritch Horror and dont mind a bit of pretentiousness, I think there is a lot here to enjoy. However, none of it really comes together until the end. Building a bunch of different pieces and only combining them at the last second. Because of that, it’s hard to get through at times. But overall, I would say I enjoyed it. There were multiple times I wanted to watch the next episode immediately and held off for the sake of these posts. I still don’t quite understand it all, and its messages got mixed at times, but for entertainment value? I cannot say I was not entertained.

With that all done and said, it’s time to pick the next series for Throwback Thursday. Here is a link to the poll. I will keep it up for about a week and a half, while I write the final Paranoia Agent review and take a one week break. So May 3rd will be the start of the next Throwback Thursday series. See you then!

 

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