The story goes that after Satoshi Kon's movie triumvirate - Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers - there were a surplus of ideas and the desire to break from being locked into a two and half year development cycle for movies. So with the aid of Madhouse studios, Paranoia Agent was born. Demonstrating a familiar mix of reality bending, mind melting storytelling and a flair for the symbolic and layered, the series is a stunning achievement shifting from detective thriller to black comedy to erudite social commentary with jaw dropping ease. Challenging and subversive, this is everything a Satoshi Kon fan could want: a playground where he runs free; as bleakly funny just as it is darkly incisive there are some minor hiccups along the way but it is a powerhouse of a series that rightly deserves but never demands attention.
at its best when entirely irreverent and poking fun at everything from suicide to animation production, house wives to prostitution
When the designer of the horrendously popular Maromi character is attacked in a parking lot, the two police detectives assigned to her case are rightly sceptical. Several points don't add up, the least of which being the identity of the supposed attacker: a youth wielding a crooked baseball and gold in-line skates; but when a second then third attack come in quick succession, the phenomenon of Lil' Slugger begins to spread. All of the victims seem to have been at their wit's end in one way or another: a teaching assistant with dissociative identity disorder, a high achieving school pupil, a less-than-honest police officer - but when a culprit is found, the case begins to veer off on bizarre paths. Nothing is as it seems with Lil' Slugger and as his notoriety increases so does the ferocity of his attacks. The question is: can anything stop him?