Hmm, where to start….. Where the hell have I been for 2 years? My interest in blogging waned considerably after realizing the amount of effort it takes to write long extended posts weekly. Having to write essays for shows that may not have the depth for said length seemed like a waste of effort if the person behind them isn’t a good enough a writer. I will admit, I am not a writer cut out for episodic blogging. Once I realized this, it made more sense to increase the use of my Twitter if I felt like giving quick thoughts on moments from a weekly episode. So if you are interested in getting my thoughts on shows throughout the season, I highly recommend following me on Twitter
On to the topic at hand, I decided to give a go at Reverse Thieves Secret Santa Anime project a shot this year. The idea of someone choosing a show they think I might like sounded appealing. to me. My Secret Santa this year is Paranoia Agent, recommended by the talented writer Highway at Metanorn.
The way this story starts off surprised me in that for that first few episodes it focuses on a single character with each episode detailing their life before they each encounter “Shonen Bat”. Shonen Bat is an boy that goes around on roller blades hitting people on the head with a baseball bat causing serious physical damage. Before their encounter with Shonen Bat, the characters we see put themselves into a situation they can’t escape from in life.
For example, a tutor of an elementary school boy who has a call-girl side job wants to leave the life after receiving a proposal from a coworker. She seems to move on from her past only to see her past belongings back in her closet with her second persona berating her that she will never be able to abandon her previous life. This process happens a few times before the stress is too much for her and acts like a madman trying to run away from a character that doesn’t exist. Cue Shonen Bat who comes in and strikes the back of her head.
The best part about this first half of the series is how it uses animation to depict the emotional stress on these characters. As the characters start to lose themselves, their world becomes unstable breaking the rules of what is realistically possible. One example is that as a boy develops a seething rage toward a fellow classmate, his world becomes malleable with buildings/people constantly changing proportions and size. Anime has an advantage to tell stories in a way that couldn’t happen in any other medium. Paranoia Agent relishes in the fact that it’s an anime to tell its story using techniques I couldn’t have imagined
This series second half focuses on how to resolve this situation to prevent anymore incidents. I’m being vague for the sake of spoilers but the best way I can put it is it deals with how an idea can manifest itself into reality. This mix of supernatural, thriller, and oddly enough black comedy make Paranoia Agent a one of a kind series. The way Paranoia Agent explores characters is best described as a fine comb going through hair until it is prim and perfect. I would recommend this series to anyone that wants to see an examination of the human psyche