Paranoia Agent – Episode 4

The paranoia continues, this time visiting trusty Officer Hirukawa. This was less of a mood-focused episode than the last couple, but gave us a better look at the police chief’s philosophy, which was a nice tradeoff. I also just loved Hirukawa’s ridiculous face. This show has extremely expressive character designs in general, and Hirukawa’s among the best of them – his bulbous nose, beady eyes, and utterly untrustworthy grin make for a perfect cartoon face that can squash and stretch into all sorts of absurd expressions. Hurray for Hirukawa’s silly face.

You can check out my ANN writeup over here or my notes below!

Paranoia Agent

A couple run across Harumi Chono in the street

Tsukiko Sagi getting knocked into the TV screens talking about her, how the attacker must be connected to her

“A Man’s Path”

Lots of focus on sign imagery at the start here – the hotel rates, the “A Man’s Path” movie billboard, this list of traffic injuries and fatalities

“There seems to be a connection, but it’s not helping our investigation.” We can never make sense of the threads, though it all seems like there’s a logic to it

“There has to be causality between these cases.”

The character’s facial designs are so expressive. Tsukiko has a frail and weak-boned look, this police officer looks like a frog

A long conversation between the police chief and the officer about the case, their family situations, and everything. Lots of great expression work here, well-used animation

This sequence is much more low-key and positive than most of what you see in this show. So far, this episode is more straightforward than another tone piece

Ah, so this cop is the one involved in Maria’s prostitution ring

Greedily pouring over prostitute’s profiles. “You have to call me DADDY”

“I just want to provide for my wife and child adequately”

Fire in his eyes as he watches his house come together

Nice percussion-heavy track here. Or just all percussion, really

He sees himself as a lone hero. A great sequence of him reading a comic book

And now his crime associate Handa’s big boss threatens him for two million yen, saying he’ll burn down the house otherwise

This repeated shot of the house centers the episode

So now he’s literally stealing from little old ladies

Makabe’s the upper boss

This staticky, dreamlike sequence is really something. The woman with the umbrella in the light

The contrast between the manly lines of his manga and him sneaking into people’s houses

“Mr. Hirukawa, do you know that your happiness was built upon someone else’s misfortune?”

And he totally loses the distance between his manga fantasy and his real-life robberies

“Why do people commit crimes?” “There are so many reasons…”

“But they may not have so many motives anymore.” Grappling with the idea the world may not make logical sense

“That’s the kind of generation we’re living in now.”

“I’m going to grab hold of this generation!” The chief could just as easily be the outdated manga hero

“Can’t somebody stop me?” Shonen Bat is the real hero, rescuing people from themselves. From a set of fears they don’t understand

But Hirukawa’s still on the drug, so he takes the hit and gets up. He beats Shonen Bat

So Shonen Bat is captured. He was just a boy after all