From the genius mind of Satoshi Kon, the visionary and award-winning
director responsible for the anime features Perfect Blue,
Tokyo Godfathers and Millennium
Actress, comes Paranoia Agent, a 13-episode
series which reaches its final volume with this release. Kon
has brilliantly translated the stunning cinematic style and
quality of his earlier features to this truly innovative anime
series. The show's intricately plotted storyline and strong
characterisations bear more relation to the works of David
Lynch than to the usual anime fare...
Entry Forbidden, Keiichi Ikari has started work as
a guard at a construction site. He recognises one of his new
colleagues as a man he put in prison years before. Later Ikari
starts to reminisce about how great the world was when he
was younger, and before he knows it he has entered a strange
two-dimensional world where everything is perfect. Meanwhile
Keiichi's wife, Misae, returns home to find Lil' Slugger waiting
for her. As he is about to attack her she starts to unburden
her past troubles, as well as her incurable illness. It soon
becomes apparent that Lil' Slugger can only attack those that
are weak and have given up all hope. Any signs of a strong
personality and he starts to get weak - he feeds off people's
weaknesses and their paranoia. Misae realises that Lil' Slugger's
doesn't really exist and that he is merely an illusion. Furious
that he has been rumbled, Lil' Slugger vanishes.
Man: After an encounter with Lil' Slugger, Mitsuhiro Maniwa
asks the strange old man for advice. The old man dies after
mentioning something about a rabbit. Maniwa turns up at the
Ikari house to find that Lil' Slugger and Maromi (the cute
little dog creation that is sweeping Japan by storm) are one
and the same. Digging around, he discovers that an incident
that is very similar to the recent spate of Lil' Slugger attacks
occurred ten years previously. What's stranger is that the
victim was Tsukiko Sagi, the creator of Maromi. Maniwa tracks
down Sagi's father and discovers the truth behind the attack.
Final Episode, Keiichi is still living in the strange
two-dimensional world. He realises that this world is a product
of his imagination and starts to destroy it. Meanwhile a huge
formless cloud starts to engulf Tokyo. The cloud is the new
manifestation of Lil' Slugger. Maniwa is all that stands in
the way of Lil' Slugger's plans - as he believes he has a
weapon that should destroy Lil' Slugger once and for all.
concluded my review of Volume
by saying: "I hope that everything will be resolved in
a way that won't have us scratching our heads and asking 'Eh?'"
Sadly, for the most part, this is exactly what happens. The
ending doesn't clear that much up, and it doesn't make that
much sense either - almost as thought the writer ran out of
ideas and thought: "I know. I'll end it without explaining
everything and then I'll look like a genius." You may
come to this conclusion, or you may feel cheated.
are a little healthier than the previous volumes in this collection.
This time we get audio commentaries with Satoshi Kon (creator
and director), Seishi Minakami (script writer), and
Satoki Toyoda (producer) on all episodes, as well as trailers
for other releases.
audio commentaries are interesting. They reveal that the opening
credits are not supposed to mean anything at all - despite
the fact that there are Internet chatrooms filled with theories
on what all the segments mean. It was also interesting to
discover that this show was originally broadcast late at night
and the reason why the opening title music is so manic and
the closing sequence music is so mellow is down to the fact
that they wanted the opening sequence to wake the audience
up and the closing titles to prepare them for going to sleep.
the end of the day this is going to divide those that have
sat through the entire series. Some will believe it to be
a stroke of genius to leave everything so unresolved, while
others will feel cheated. Personally I did feel slightly short
changed, but then I also thought that the reveal of how Lil'
Slugger was originally created was a little unoriginal. I
also couldn't help thinking of Akira
in the scenes in Final Episode where Lil' Slugger is
now that the whole series is completed, I do feel compelled
to go back and watch all of the episodes again so that I can
pick up any subtle references that I will have missed the
first time around. And surely that's a good thing - that a
show that ends so oddly still invites a second viewing.