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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Paranoia Agent Review

Rating: A-

Plot review:

As with Satoshi Kon's other works, Paranoia Agent examines the psyche of both the individual and that of society as a whole. His vehicle, the so called "shounen bat" provides an avenue for him to lob some social commentary while giving reasons for his characters' behavior. These commentaries range from those concerning paranoia, alienation from an intellectual product, the faddish attitude of commercialism and even gossip. The story itself is not merely a linear narrative of a serial assault case, but a multilateral examination of its cause and the subsequent effects of the case on humans, strangers and involved alike.

Though inventive, such criticism is hardly new. Kon is a one-trick pony. His works "Perfect Blue" and "Paprika" explore the very same things Paranoia Agent does, albeit to a lesser extent. It's always a critique of the human psyche.


Technical review:

The animation is sharp and is of higher quality than lesser shows, the colors are vivid and the art form changes according to the scenario. Though it may be suspected that the shift to superflat in the last episodes was more of a budget-related issue rather than an artistic one. Both the English and Japanese tracks are satisfactory, but the former seems overdone. Sometimes, you also need a little naivete in the voice of characters like Tsukiko.

Final Remarks:

Try this. You may not get it during the first time you watch this series, but a closer and deeper look may do a lot more good than you expect.

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