Anime Review: Paranoia Agent (2004) by Satoshi Kon

“With out worrying about tomorrow/
let your vacation spot slide/
Lock up your coronary heart/
With out believing in an avalanche.”

After having labored on three characteristic movies – “Excellent Blue” (1997), “Millennium Actress” (2001) and “Tokyo Godfathers” (2003) – Satoshi Kon could not have created a industrial success, however had gained fairly a repute internationally. Aside from the vital popularity of his tasks, Kon will all the time be remembered to be one of many main inventive minds who gave anime options and collection the decisive push with regard to altering the best way these tales and characters have been perceived by audiences and critics alike. For these accustomed to the sheer imaginative drive and flexibility in his works, it mustn’t come as a shock to seek out that he had fairly plenty of unused concepts in his arsenal, a few of which too dangerous or too complicated to be explored in characteristic kind. When he was lastly provided to make his first collection, he determined to make use of a few of them and mix them right into a story named “Paranoia Agent”, maybe one of the crucial fascinating, intricate in addition to provocative tasks Kon would create in his lifetime.

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Though the story includes a number of characters, all of it begins in Tokyo, when designer Tsukiko Sagi, well-known for creating the favored pink canine Maromi, is attacked by an unknown assailant on her means house. As police detectives Keiichi Ikari and Mitsuhiro Maniwa begin investigating the case, it doesn’t take lengthy earlier than the variety of victims will increase, all of whom describe the attacker as a younger child, armed with a bent, golden baseball bat, rapidly leaving the scene of the crime with on his inline skates. What makes the 2 detectives’ work difficult is the seeming randomness of the victims, which embody Yuichi Taira, an elementary pupil, whose apparent similarity to the attackers makes him the goal for bullying at his faculty, and Harumi Chono, Yuichi’s tutor who leads a weird double life as a hostess.

Moreover, because the variety of victims grows and eventually even a homicide occurs, the stress is on Ikari and Maniwa to unravel the case as rapidly as attainable. Because the concern of the attacker nicknamed “shonen bat” spreads among the many residents of Tokyo, the 2 detectives not solely come upon a wierd connection linking all of the victims, but additionally a attainable suspect. However simply because the case would possibly attain its conclusion, issues turn out to be much more difficult and weird.

Over the course of its 13 episodes, “Paranoia Agent” looks like a set of the themes Satoshi Kon was most involved with, judging by his options. The idea of the doppelgänger, as launched in “Excellent Blue”, the obsession with fame and media in “Millennium Actress” and “Excellent Blue” in addition to the assorted sides of the Japanese capital and its “misplaced kids” as proven in “Tokyo Godfathers” are only a small listing of concepts explored within the collection. Nevertheless, “Paranoia Agent” would possibly simply be the pessimistic predecessor to “Paprika”, particularly given its portrayal of the fashionable city panorama as a working system, very like a pc, with “shonen bat” primarily working as a form of virus spreading chaos and destruction, and probably laying the muse for this human home of playing cards to lastly collapse.

Every existence is linked to the opposite, via social interplay, however most significantly fashionable know-how. Kon, who has all the time been skeptical of the cell telephones and social media, envisions a multi-layered social panorama, every character outlined by plenty of identities, a few of which even combating with one another about their domination of the bodily physique they each inhabit. Much like the principle character in “Excellent Blue”, identification is inconceivable to know on this “paranoid” world, till an attacker, armed with a golden bat, brings a second of readability, which, mockingly, destabilizes the entire social assemble. The best way these themes and characters are launched is sort of well-executed by Kon and screenwriter Seishi Minakami, particularly given how a few of them don’t appear to additional the general plot at first look, however reveal rather a lot when seen within the context of the entire 13 episodes.

In the long run, “Paranoia Agent” is a fancy collection, a mix of psychological thriller, drama and fantasy. Satoshi Kon has managed to mix the key themes of his works into an intricate collection, which can simply be his most formidable mission and subsequently a must-see for followers of the director and followers of anime basically.

TagsParanoia Agent Satoshi Kon



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