41WEQNJJC4LFrom the creative and mind bending imagination of Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue, Paprika) comes this twisted thriller that dives deep into the psyche of troubled minds. Paranoia Agent is a series of episodes loosely connected by a plot about a mysterious boy nicknamed Lil’ Slugger who assaults seemingly innocent civilians with a golden baseball bat. For the most part, the episodes offer a deep look into those connected, directly or indirectly, to the bat wielding maniac including two police detectives, a stressed character designer, a desperate family man and young schoolboy who sees his popularity dwindling.

Paranoia Agent is a engrossing psychological thriller that will have you guessing the reality of the world these characters live in. The major theme of the series is how we are affected by reaching rock bottom, emotionally speaking. Despite their differences Although they have no relationship with one another other, the characters are connected by this emotion. It is hard to truly discuss the role fear plays in Paranoia Agent without spoiling the entire series, so I’ll stop there!

Each episode focuses on a character and the problems they face in life. Episodes run the emotional gauntlet of being haunting (“Double Lips”), comical (“The Holy Warrior”), and uproariously uncomfortable (“Happy Family Planning”). Paranoia Agent is geared towards a mature audience due to scenes of violence as well as adult-oriented issues such as suicide, split personality disorder, and incest, all of which are incredibly important to the plot. As uncomfortable as the content can be, Kon is never over the top nor does he try to find ways to disgust the viewer.

The DVD set contains both an English and Japanese track and I found the English track to be done quiet well, with the stable of actors and actresses doing a fine job with their roles. The music of the series is light and airy at times, which contradicts the dark subject matter. Paranoia Agent is an emotionally driven series that explores themes that are not so far removed from reality. That is what makes Kon’s work so fascinating. He is interested in telling stories about the human condition and how we deal with the stress in our lives. While most people are able to cope, it is far more compelling to watch those who succumb to it.

Paranoia Agent
Geneon, 2005
directed by Satoshi Kon
325 minutes, Number of Discs: 4

  • Allen

    | He/Him Past Reviewer

    Allen Kesinger is a Reference Librarian at the Newport Beach Public Library in California. He maintains the graphic novel collections at the library, having established an Adult collection to compliment the YA materials. When not reading graphic novels, he fills his time with other nerdy pursuits including video games, Legos and steampunk.

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