Paranoia Agent (2006) Anime Review
Satoshi Kon has directed prominent anime films like Perfect Blue, Tokyo Godfathers, etc. His directing and animation style usually revolves around people who blend in with reality and fiction.
In 2006, he created Paranoia Agent, an anime series with a similar take on blurring fiction and reality but with a little drama and excitement.
The series has many points; some episodes felt more independent than others.
It follows Tsukiko Sagi, a shy and introverted character designer who created the popular animated dog named Maromi. She feels the pressure to repeat her success for her future work. One night, as she was heading home, a young boy with roller skates struck her with a baseball bat. The investigation is led by two police officers, Keiichi Ikari and Mitsuhiro Maniwa. They initially suspected her story to be fake until a second victim was reported.
The attacker is named by many as Shonen Batto or Lil' Slugger in English—a series of assaults sprawled around Tokyo. All the victims do not remember the face of the attacker, which makes the investigation more difficult. They only recall the three common details from their memories: a pair of golden skates, a baseball cap, and a worn-out baseball bat. It's a race against time as Ikari and Maniwa struggle to find the perpetrator before more will be assaulted.
Paranoia Agent dwells itself in the world of mystery and crime while twisting the audience's minds about the real plot of the anime. It's not a straightforward and easy-to-watch story. It takes a lot of effort to think about what it is and sometimes needs to be recalled. The anime series gives you little clues here and there, but you still need to solve the mystery puzzle. That's typical to any Satoshi Kon's works, anyway.
The anime has some solid opening and ending tracks composed by Susumu Hirasawa, the pioneer of Japanese electronica music.
Rotten Tomatoes rated this anime with a perfect score of 100% in their Tomatometer. It shows that a series like this that bends your mind is something to watch despite everything.
Paranoia Agent should be on any anime-watcher's list. It's imperfect, but it makes up its 13-episode spectacle with many mind-boggling mysteries and questions.