Paranoia Agent review

"With a dark tone, we move it... Slowly our dreams become reality.. Our fates collide. We can't take it anymore! They are not dreams at all.. Nightmares.... But hope is there. And hope... is the pain!"

Episodes: 13

Directors: Satoshi Kon (R.I.P ~2010)

Genres: Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Thriller

Age rating: 15+

Year: 2004


Set in the dark modern times, we are delivered with the new show that might fry your brains in and out. It is Paranoia agent…
The story is very dark yet very bright. Talking alone about it would be completely impossible. It is almost as impossible talking about the characters here. So, I will go step by step and try to explain the story by each divided part.

The world in this anime is very normal looking at first. Cars all driving around, people hurrying to their jobs, high degree of stress, mobile phones ringing, dogs barking, people shouting… Yes, that is how Paranoia agent begins. You would actually think that it would be just another normal and boring anime.
Well it goes that until you come to some other episodes, like the second one. You will be surprised how the developers thought about this and how it goes even later. Everything is tuning around you, the world that you know plays not importance anymore. You will forget about it, the story itself will make you forget of it… That is until the last part. Then everything will come together and you will understand the full being of the world that they live in.

There is no actual plot. Not in the first few episodes that is, it is just a normal detective type anime where two detectives investigate these mysterious attacks by a person called “Shounen Bat”.
But then from sixth episode things become really mixed up! Everything that you knew by now you can slowly put aside, because this is one of these animes that will make you think even after you finish the episode. You will be dying to see the next one and to see were you or not in right. But even then, you are not. It is almost impossible to see to where this anime leads and who actually is behind all that. I just like how it will all come together at the end, but that is what is good. It will just keep going on like that.
For the first five episodes the story is as I described, sixth and seventh will make your brain go across the whole globe of confusion and interest as well. Episodes after that until the 11th one might appear as some kind of fillers because they seem not to have any connection with original characters. You would be surprised how right and wrong is that. See it for yourself.

I can’t believe that I am writing this… I just can’t! Why? Because how to describe all of them. There are many, many characters for this short anime. And this is the strongest part of it, you won’t believe it…
First of, there is no main character or protagonist in this anime. If so, then tell me who it is? You could find any random character, but I can find another one which might be closer than that one. There just isn’t, every character seems to play an important role and then they disappear. Some character will return at the end, but then there will still be several of them, so that doesn’t clear up things.
You could say that Shounen Bat is the main protagonist, but actually he could be both protagonist and antagonist. He is one of those that appear to be hero at the beginning and yet deadly, only to reveal it’s true self at the end.
Other thing that is worth mentioning is that all characters are so different from each other. Each one of them has something that others don’t and each has its own back story. And while it might appear at the beginning that there is no connection at all between all these characters, soon it will all come together and you will notice a pattern that follows around them.

Second and different look:
No matter how you look at this, you can’t watch this as a normal series. This whole show is paranoia. Remember that you have to watch this with clear conscious and to take in note everything that goes around it. Many might wander and not fully understand it, but then again this is not an anime for anyone. If you are prepared for it, prepare your brain and thoughts as well.

Pros: unique plot, makes you think and get more into the anime, returning and complex characters
Cons: might be too confusing to some, storytelling tends to change tempo and way of presenting

Presentation of this anime is also pretty much like I explained about the story. Story itself is hardly expressing and this one too.
But there are some things that I want to point out. You see, the whole story moves around that Shounen Bat, but who is he actually and what is his purpose? Will they actually catch him and what is the meaning behind all that illusion? That is what you will be discovering in the whole twelve episodes that this anime has to offer.

Sometimes things may seem different, like funny. Yes, this anime is yet death serious, but also it has some funny episodes. Funny if you take it, some might take it as just randomly weird. Everyone will have different opinion on this, it is just not something that you can take and watch freely. You have to think from it.
There are many random things, like how in 10th episode there actually explain the whole cast of producing an anime or any other cartoon show like in this case. The real thing, from the real life, you heard it correctly. Yes and in the mean time Shounen Bat goes and murders all these people.

It is also interesting that Shounen Bat just dispatches people, but not really kills them. Later he kills everyone. Well not everyone, but that is for you to watch and see what it takes to stand against this illusion.
This show goes from being average boring, to being more and more and more interesting until it reaches its climax at the end.
It is a mind sick, blown up thriller, with a lot of psychological moments. It is also a comedy, random, action, love packed anime with some emotional moments as well.

You have not seen psychological anime until you have seen this one. Just because of all these things and what it has to offer, it can be downgraded by some and easily forgotten. Others will want to even watch it again, maybe with friends. I do recommend that everyone watches this with someone else, just because of all the side talking that you might have.
If you are not one of them, still gives this anime a try. It might disappoint you and you can easily forget it, or it might be one of the best animes of this genre that you have ever seen.

Pros: each episode is different on its own, many genres combined in one
Cons: this anime is not for everyone

This show has very specific anime style. Not the classic, but more realistic style. Thing is that even then it is not quite realistic because it doesn’t work on certain details. It seems something like combination of avant-garde and realistic style made into one presentation.
Even though many of you may not like this overall style, it still will make you into watching this anime because of it. It is very appealing and it makes for the theme of it. Details are presented there though, but not in the characters, but more in the environment and changes that happen of them. They are disturbed by many illusions, describing or just some things that even I couldn’t understand.
They change a lot in that aspect, even from character to character. Interesting, but you would still hope it would remain as just one style. That is for the first half of the anime, later you will get used to it and maybe even begin liking it a lot.

So what you will mostly like here, moving of the roller coasters of the Shounen Bat, or… Or I don’t even know what. Thinking about it, most characters here walk, everything goes slowly, until it comes to the climax and high point of the situations and something actually does happen. It can either be Shounen Bat or maybe just some other action performed by some character.

What is interesting is, like I said, how the animations change either if they are shown by some cartoonish style, video game one, or to say even cardboard style, they all play their own part.
Speaking about cardboard drawn out buildings and characters, you will see that later, when everything comes in and out for one detective.

Pros: changes and differences of the style
Cons: again, changes and differences of the style

This anime has one of the weirdest openings that I have seen and one of the catchiest too. Ending song is so calm and relaxing, you actually might almost fell asleep just by looking at the video and listening to that song.

Other than that, it is not bad, but it can get somewhat boring. For example, while the OST is nice in general it actually is just a variation of the ending songs, by changing its tempo and such. There are some other good music though, like the one when Shounen Bat comes or when something is about to happen. Overall there are some nice songs, but not too much. It might actually be even better that way, because this is one of these animes that are not looking for whole lot of it. Few songs are more than enough.

Voice acting is nicely done, but too narrow and sharp, but it depends by characters. While some are very nicely done, some lack and aren’t impressive at all.
Sound effects are good. Again as songs, they are not much and you would actually want that they are presented at some situations, but those that are presented, are good, mostly by the actions that Shounen Bat does.

Pros: sound effects, opening ending
Cons: short soundtrack and quality of voice acting at certain parts

Animations and graphics: 7.5/10 – good and different, but may not be liked by everyone
Sound and effects: 8/10 – just some small details, everything else is great
Story: 9/10 – oh so good and such good characters, yet some parts can get too confusing and boring
Presentation: 8/10 – combination of all those genres and the way the anime is shown is by far the strongest aspect of it
Overall: 8/10 – very good mystery, paranormal, thriller anime. One of the most unusual and better ones out there

One of the best and unique anime openings that I have seen

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Main characters there with the mascot of this anime... a mascot which holds many secrets

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Shounen Bat himself

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This anime has many unexpected and disturbing events

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You never know what comes next and it will drive you into confusion, laughter and even sometimes sorrow

Just try to listen to this ending and to watch it at the same time.. You will definitely feel sleepy and much relaxing, especially after watching one of the episodes