Do you like creepy shows? Do you find something boring if there’s nothing quirky in it? Well, don’t worry, Satoshi Kon brings you Paranoia Agent. A short 13 episodes psychological thriller show that will take you on a frightening ride with a perfect bit of story, characters, a mystery that you will crave to know the truth and question yourself at every turn. Paranoia Agent is a great combination of dark and fascinating stories and is presented uniquely. Paranoia Agent will elicit so many different emotions in you from heartwarming moments to moments that will make you disgusted. No matter how old the show is, Paranoia Agent never fails to entertain you with beautiful and bizarre storytelling. So hop in and buckle up for this spine-chilling trip to a dark, vile world.
Paranoia Agent is a psychological horror anime immaculately directed by Satoshi Kon. The anime director that’s popularly known for presenting distorted reality and the man behind psychologically extreme and surrealistic horrors like Perfect Blue and Paprika. And Paranoia Agent is no less than his other masterworks. Keeping the main plot aside, the show predicts an individual’s fear and repression. And Paranoia Agent is sublimely not limited to only a few ideas, but dozens of philosophies. While everyone thinks they are the main character of their life, they think whatever they do is correct, and they can’t be wrong. The show shapes the personality of characters and changes how they really think. The show is heavily based on the concept of gossiping and rumors too. How just thoughts or ideas accommodate facts and how the reality changes every time shared from one person to another.
Enter a gloomy world where everyone is miserable in one way or another. Some are troubled by the stress of work, some by mental illness, relations, and much more. Tsukiko Sagi, a character artist and the creator of Maromi, is stressed out by pressure from her boss that needs her to create a character that could get as famous and successful as Maromi, a little pink dog character that touched the peak of fame. One day when Tsukiko’s heading home after work, a kid wielding a metal bat attacks her. She wakes up in a hospital, and since she was a popular artist, the news of her being attacked spreads like wildfire. Many people thought she made it up to get attention, while many tried to help. But the thing gets serious when the assailant attacked Akio Kawazu, a freelance journalist trying to make Tsukiko’s story big. Now that there was another attack by the same assailant, it couldn’t mean Tsukiko made up the story. Things got more serious when the assailant started string attacks, and the people name him “Shounen Bat.” What could this possibly mean? Who is this kid with a metal bat and rollerblades, and most importantly, why is he doing that? Watch the 13 episodes to break the mystery and madness.
The story might not seem that interesting on pen and paper but hits at the right spot when in action. The show will feel too realistic yet too unreal at the same time. One of the things I love about Paranoia Agent is that there’s not only one question in the viewer’s mind. There are dozens of things and questions going on. Who, why, how, and so on. Episode 8 and 9 is a kind of sub-story that’s not directly related to the main plot of the show, with one being about the members of an online suicide group meeting in real life with their aim to commit suicide together and the other being about ladies gossiping about the Shounen Bat’s attacks for what they “heard” (expect some good irony in episode 9!)
Leaving the main story aside, the other side stories hit differently and are impactful, and mostly, they are a full dose of entertainment with dark humor. The show will seem to lose some pace on episode 5, but there’s episode 6 to hit you hard. Besides, the whole show is meant to hit you hard. Paranoia Agent will get better after every episode, and the tension built will keep you engrossed through the 13 episodes.
Paranoia Agents covers a great number of characters for just a span of 13 episodes. With the base set with few main characters, at least one new character is introduced every episode. And not only introduced but presented their life stories and their perspective of the world and fantasies. Many characters are there to enhance the curiosity towards Shounen Bat and why he is doing all of that. Talking about what good are the characters, well, most aren’t that likable, and some are even disgusting. But that’s the key factor of the process of building tension, and it gives a far-reach to characters in Paranoia Agent. The characters in the show are varied by their personalities more than anything. From narcissist douche to innocent fellow. From benevolent to callous.
Don’t expect much from the animation because of today’s animation quality, but Paranoia Agent’s animation is perfectly good for its time. Besides, the old animation gives it a more classic look, so it’s a win-win game. The animation quality might be bad, but there’s plenty of details you will notice while rewatching the entire series. Nothing not so special except details but in the end, it’s satisfactory. Talking about the OP, well, I’m sure that’s the most surreally creepy opening accompanied by a frightening opening song.
In conclusion, Paranoia Agent is an anime you must watch at least once. Whether you are into psychological thrillers or not, do give the first episode a try, and after all, it’s just 13 episodes long. From direction to the story to characters, Paranoia Agent makes it a great and unique watch. The show might be disturbing for some people, but it’s a treat for horror fans. Paranoia Agent might be old, and the animation might wear off, but it’s still as enjoyable and sublime as you can think. The show might be confusing or losing some pace at some moments, but that does not stop it from being a good anime. So if you would like anything unique, short, and jolting, Paranoia Agent would be one of the best options to watch.