Posted on 30 April 2019 with categories: Anime Reviews, Finished Series: Mystery/Suspense, Paranoia Agent, Reviews by Lenlo, Throwback Thursday

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 works before his untimely death. With only Paprika and Good Morning coming after it. Known for a radical style and a penchant for the odd, Satoshi Kon was an extraordinary director, unique to any other. Paranoia Agent lives up to this reputation, being unlike any other series I have ever seen. Its horror is Lovecraftian, its style chilling though as interesting as it is, this isn’t always in it’s favor. For the most part, the series is a joy, but when you try something new, it doesn’t all stick.

Welcome to Paranoia Agent, one of the hardest reviews I have ever written, lets jump in!

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Posted 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.

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Posted on 12 April 2019 with categories: Paranoia Agent, Throwback Thursday

Hello all, and welcome to the Galaxy Brain episode of Paranoia Agent. Apologies for the lateness, but I really needed to wrap my head around this. Threads are brought  together, more questions are raised, and I am somehow entertained, confused and enlightened all at once. Lets jump in!

Now I have so much I need to talk about this week, let’s just skip animation and production. It looked fantastic, lots of awesome movement, onto the episode itself. And what an episode it was. I feel like I understand so much more now, all the narrative threads are coming together. Yet at the same time, I am confused and have absolutely no idea what is happening. That these two states can coincide, that I can understand nothing and still be wholly satisfied, is amazing. I am unsure how much of this was intentional by Kon though. Large portions were clearly foreshadowed early on, such as Maniwa or Maromi. However with the 2 or so episodes of filler, you also have to wonder, how much of this just… fell into place? Thats question for next week’s finale though, for now, onto specifics!

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Posted on 4 April 2019 with categories: Paranoia Agent, Throwback Thursday

And so Paranoia Agent gets back on its weird tracks! This week week see what’s happened with Maniwa and the chief, Shounen Bat gets one upped and Kon get’s a little weird again. Lets jump in!

I have to say, this was a unique episode. All of Paranoia Agent’s episodes are unique in some way, but that’s not going to stop me from pointing it out each week. This time, Kon give’s us a closer look into Shounen Bat himself, which is a very welcome surprise. I made a point last week of explaining my worries with the series. That it was moving away from the characters and towards Shounen Bat, when he had no character of his own. That there wasn’t a clear plot to actually end in the first place. Kon apparently realized this, knowing from the start if the setup is anything to go by. This week give’s me that characterization, that sort of plot hook, that I so desperately wanted last week. So credit where credit is do, Kon has assuaged one of my biggest worries. But what about the actual content?

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Posted on 29 March 2019 with categories: Paranoia Agent, Throwback Thursday

Welcome everyone to the most enjoyable episode of Paranoia Agent in a while. This week we get a peek into the anime industry, Shounen Bat appears once more and our death count skyrockets. Lets jump in!

Starting off, I not only have to but want to talk about the animation. Paranoia Agent got very inventive this week, wowing me multiple times. It really embraced the focus on the animation industry to have some fun with its eldritch premise. There are two instances of this I specifically want to mention. The first comes right at the start, by cutting to the various stages of the animation process. Complete, to Genga, to Storyboard it was an interesting look and really set the focus for the episode early. The second, and much more impressive, was about mid-way through, as Saruta is basically reverse animated. Losing his color, his line-work getting rougher and rougher. It was simultaneously beautiful and horrifying, fitting Paranoia Agent’s unique brand of horror. This is exactly what I have wanted these past few episodes, so its good to see the series return to form.

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Posted 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.

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Posted 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.

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Posted on 8 March 2019 with categories: Paranoia Agent, Throwback Thursday

Hello everyone to the catch up Paranoia Agent! First off, apologies for being late. Work was killer Thursday and really impacted writing this. No excuses though, on to the show! This week Paranoia Agent might as well have slipped LSD into my drink, because we get weird. Lets jump in!

Right off the bat, Paranoia Agent gets weird with these two episodes. Even from a production standpoint, there are a lot of interesting decisions made. For instance the use of the fish-eye lense when talking to Kozuka, even though its an animation, really nailed the tension for his character. There were also a number of message-filled decisions with some character actions. Such as when Maniwa and the Chief were discussing having run out of ideas, and it being time for new ones. The Chief’s box of matches is empty, while Maniwa’s modern lighter was filled up and ready to go. A clear symbolic message of who has good, right ideas, and a differing method. On top of all of this, Paranoia Agent got weird near the end of episode 7 with the Old Mans sequence. Painting a very clear picture of Maniwa’s degrading mental health. Fantastic stuff all around, really.

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Posted 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!

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Posted on 15 February 2019 with categories: Paranoia Agent, Throwback Thursday

This week, once again, Paranoia Agent takes another interesting turn. This time we follow the cop who caught Shounen Bat, see a bit into organized crime and watch a man fall apart at the seams. Lets go!

So in general, while this episode was interesting and explored some more aspects of society, I wasn’t big on it. The issue is, I can’t really tell you why either. It just didn’t… click with me? All of the pieces were there. Kon’s unique animation style, societal commentary, interesting direction. Maybe it was Hirukara as a character whom I did not enjoy? However I would find that to be odd, as all of his scenes succeeded at what they set out to do. I was incredibly nervous anytime he was onscreen in the latter half. Objectively, he succeeded at his role in the story. So why didn’t I enjoy it as much as the previous episodes? Well, let’s get into the details, and hopefully by the end I will have figured out an answer.

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