Paranoia Agent

Paranoia AgentType: TV Series
Episode Count: 13
Genre: Psychological Drama/Thriller
Vintage: 2003

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review:
15 Jan 2007

Grade: A

Mindgames abound in this atypical crime-drama.

Plot Summary
Tsukiko Sagi is a designer under pressure from her company to come up with the next popular character after the pink dog Maromi that she has created has become a sensation in Japan. On her way home from work one day, she is attacked by an assailant known only as “Shonen Bat”, and soon a string of similar attacks are reported in the following days. Who is Shonen Bat and what links all of these attacks?

The Review
Paranoia Agent is one of those series where it takes a while to wrap your head around it all. This makes it somewhat difficult to explain, since seeing it is the best way to understand it.

The story begins linearly, as each victim’s story is presented along with their subsequent attack by Shonen Bat. The investigation is also followed as detectives attempt to find out who Shonen Bat is and capture him. However, after the victims’ stories are told, the series changes gears and becomes episodic, with unrelated stories that look at the Shonen Bat mystery from different outside perspectives. Since we never follow Shonen Bat firsthand, these episodes are the closest that the series gets to explaining who he is. This, of course, is the primary question that the series asks.

It’s not non-linear in the strict sense, but the story is ambiguous enough that there is no clear indication of how events are going to unfold. Equal parts mystery and psychological drama, Paranoia Agent will leave you asking as many questions as it answers.

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