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Paranoia Agent Vol. 1: Enter Lil' Slugger (2003)

Director: Satoshi Kon, Satoshi Kon
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Geneon
Genre: Anime, Horror Anime, Action Anime, Drama Anime
Running Time: 100 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

This extremely interactive anime series features a regular cast of characters who appear on the functioning outskirts of each episode, allowing most of the airtime to be devoted to the latest victim of the "Shounen Bat." This mysterious figure of a young boy is seen riding on gold rollerblades, wearing a cap, and carrying a baseball bat, which he hits some unsuspecting pedestrian with in each episode. The investigation surrounding the "Shounen Bat" is carried out Law & Order style, devoting most of each episode to the latest case and avoiding the personal lives of the investigators in favor of the victims. What at first seems like a bizarre series of random assaults on the part of some young delinquent soon cascades into a cerebral web of finger-pointing that earns the "paranoid" element of the title. This 13-episode series demands full attention in order to catch all of the nuances, and in true thriller style, the resolution to the mystery remains steadily out of reach until the end. ~ Cammila Albertson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Intelligent Anime by yyokes January 9, 2006 - 8:27 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
I couldn't stop watching this series after getting sucked into the first episode. The surreal, twisted, and cynical reality of Paranoia Agent is very representative of Japanese culture today. If you want to get a peak of the dark side of Japanese culture, this is a must see. Satoshi Kon is amazing at capturing the strange nuances that occur in Japanese culture. Under the "kawaii" cute characters, polite society and laughter, there's something painful, heart wrenching and lonely deep down inside. If you're familiar with the online suicide clubs and kids killing people with as little emotion as in a game, you know what I'm talking about. Being Japanese, I couldn't stop laughing at the sarcasm behind a lot of the storylines because they're all so true. If you're looking for intelligent anime, this is for you. ...and by the way, it says "Horror Anime" but it's not like guts'n'gore or anything like "Ringu" no worries on that aspect.

Glued to the Couch by ancawonka May 17, 2005 - 10:40 AM PDT
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful
This series is a psychological thriller, all the way through. I couldn't stop watching after the first episode. Each spisode features interesting characters going through intensely personal crises, each one postponed, for a moment, by the mysterious attacks of Lil' Slugger. The victims all have rich inner lives, realistic motivations and cares - it's easy to become engrosed in their story. The weirdness is very subtle, and enhances, rather than confuses, the plot. The English voice acting is excellent, just like in other Satoshi Kon works that I've seen.

The Best Villain Ever by Shaky January 15, 2005 - 11:55 AM PST
17 out of 19 members found this review helpful
You won't find a much creepier villain than a grinning kid on roller blades who wields a baseball bat bent dog-legged from smacking people.

But this story isn't as shallow as just a pair of cops trying to find a kid beating people with a bat. It operates on several levels, with each (surviving) victim coming away from his or her encounter with Bat Boy changed pyschologically and spiritually. This is a show about people fighting their own personal demons and problems. It's not even clear whether Bat Boy is hurting or actually helping them.

Like Satoshi Kon's other work, including Millenium Actress and Perfect Blue, Paranoia Agent doesn't always stick with reality as we know it. The show takes you inside the mental worlds of some of its characters, some of which bear little resemblance to how we normally see reality. In other words, there are times when you'll find yourself asking, "What the...?" That's not to suggest that it goes wandering off in the type of esoteric visual representations of armchair philosophy you'll find in some of the shows to which it has been compared, but rather deals with the psychology of its characters in unique ways. It isn't slow and ponderous. This isn't Lain.

The quality of the show is also everything you'd expect from Satoshi Kon. The animation is high-quality, and the voice acting and sound work are excellent (at least in the Japanese version that was televised; I haven't seen the English dubs yet). The real achievement, however, is in the writing and pacing. It doesn't assault you with weirdness right from the beginning, but builds it up layer by layer so that by the time things really get peculiar you've long since suspended your disbelief, but don't remember exactly where it happened. In fact, because the series has thirteen episodes to layer on the strangeness, it's perhaps actually easier to accept than something like Millenium Actress that just drops you into an alternate psychological reality without much preparation.

Definitely recommended if you liked Satoshi Kon's other work. Maybe recommended if you liked Lain, Boogiepop Phantom or perhaps the work of David Lynch, but also worth a try if you didn't like those titles. It all depends on why you liked or disliked them, because in the end this show stands on its own and defies direct comparisons.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.97)
169 Votes
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