Paranoia Agent – Episode 7

Oh jeez what a surprise another phenomenal episode of Paranoia Agent. This show is so consistently excellent that it’s kind of a hassle to think of new ways to praise it – it possesses an absurd mastery of tone that’s expressed both through its visual language and disgustingly well-composed sound design, it’s got a distinct personality and clearly defined goals, and it occupies a thematic space that’s largely unchallenged by other television anime. The show remains a little emotionally distant, but I’ve come to expect that; at this point, I’m kind of getting the impression that Satoshi Kon doesn’t actually like people, but certainly finds them very interesting. Which is lucky for all of us, because dear god, he sure is a talented storyteller – I know he didn’t directly storyboard all of these episodes, but between the overall tonal consistency and stylistic echoes like his heroes consistently waking from maybe-dreams into maybe-realities, it’s clear he’s poured blood and sweat into this entire production. Keep it up, Paranoia Agent. You are a friggin’ marvel.

You can check out my full writeup here, or my episode notes below!

Paranoia Agent

Power outage at the police station. The two officers sit in the light of a single candle, guarding Sagi

They hear about another attack, and the Chief looks down. Once again, the pattern he thought he saw is disrupted. He gets up to investigate, and the candle goes out

A man in a Lain-esque computer room

Love these establishing shots with foreground vegetation creating depth

“He came. Shonen Bat.”

In contrast to last episode’s constant noise and storm, this one is oversaturated – a deep blue sky contrasts with brightly lit ground, and there’s no noise at all. It’s dry heat, a strange peace

The Chief’s given up on connecting it all. “Our case is closed.” Even if he can’t find the true connection, he’ll make one

And Mitsuhiro sees the old man. He’s getting closer and closer to the actual “truth,” by truly engaging with the victims and leaving his mind open

And now the “shonen bat” suspect gets hit as well, as the Chief badgers him. Finally we have sound – static leaking into the background, prompting a transition back to the Lain-room

Shots of Taeko on a swing intercut with all of the victims. More screeching feedback

The boy confesses for real, saying he just attacked the boy and the officer. Mitsuhiro goes to see Chono

“Were you being troubled by personal issues before you were attacked? Maybe something that made you feel cornered?” Mitsuhiro’s figuring it out

All these close-up shots of the officers. They’re at their wits’ end

Oh, Taeko was officer Hirukawa’s daughter. Of course

Mitsuhiro reveals his findings. Hirukawa and the first boy were hit by a copycat, but the others were all on the verge of a breakdown

“An investigation must be undertaken scientifically, right?” The Chief clings to his methods, but they’re not working

“My detective’s instinct dried up long ago.” The chief’s out of his old-fashioned matches. Mitsuhiro lends him a lighter

The copycat’s alternate persona now speaking through the static to Mitsuhiro, telling him to “take him to the ancient master,” the old man

Mitsuhiro’s in some bizarre vision

The old man performing magic tricks for a cheering crowd

Mitsuhiro in a crowd of just that old man

Mitsuhiro finds the real old man

Mitsuhiro’s fully developed his theory, the theory of Shonen Bat as we the viewers known him. The chief tells him to take a vacation

Mitsuhiro realizes the copycat will be hit next. He rushes to save him, but Shonen Bat’s already killed him

The two officers are fired for negligence

Doing that constant waking trick Satoshi Kon likes so much

And of course, the man in the static room is Mitsuhiro himself

2 thoughts on “Paranoia Agent – Episode 7

  1. Given how this episode ends, I should let you know now that the next three episodes are essentially one-offs as they’re more detached from the main storyline than usual. Seems like Kon had a bunch of smaller ideas drifting around his head and an animated series gave him the opportunity to put them to paper, then to animation. From your general comments about the series, I’m predicting that the episode after those three will become your favorite.

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