Paranoia Agent – Episode 8

Paranoia Agent changed gears entirely this week, leaving Shonen Bat behind to tell a heartwarming story about suicide. This was definitely an unexpected choice, but the end result was wonderful – an almost self-contained vignette that basically established a small makeshift family, telling lots of great jokes in the process. It was witty and warm and endearingly awkward, pretty much nothing like Paranoia Agent as I’ve come to understand it. Apparently Satoshi Kon just had some loose ideas or something, and figured this was the place for them. Normally that’d be a problem narrative-wise, but this episode was so very good that I can’t complain, and Paranoia Agent’s spent so much time jumping between viewpoint characters already that it basically came off as a lighter but still vaguely coherent intermission piece. Fair enough, Paranoia Agent!

You can check out my full review at ANN, or my notes after the cut.

Paranoia Agent

Two people with the mascot backpacks meet in a square. Seems like they’re otaku doing a live meeting? Their conversation is conveyed through cutaways to chat room dialogue

Zebra, Fuyubachi, and Kamome. The girl is actually still a kid

Fuyubachi, the old man, is freaked out that Kamome is a child. This episode’s much lighter in tone than the usual show stuff, and covering totally new characters. Honestly, after the tension of the last two, I’m okay with that

Now they’re both running away. Complete with a silly comedy big band song

Oh, is this a suicide club?

The character animation’s a little wonky

Kamome throws a tantrum, but it’s… barely animated? Like, weirdly so

Fuyubachi thought she was an adult. The nature of online identity, generational divides again, but they’re arbitrary

Kamome just having a grand old time

They try to jump in front of a train, but of course someone beats them to it. This is a pretty great dark farce – the humor’s kind of dry, which works well

“So that’s how you end up looking if you get run over by a train”

“It’s hard to die, isn’t it?” “These are hard times.” I really like these three

The crows keep following them

Kamome doesn’t want to drown, because her clothes would get wet

The three of them are pretty adorable

“I wish I could have gone somewhere far away on a train”

And now a nice travel song and a perky wipe cut as they get on a train. I think this is the first wipe cut of the series, perfect for this episode’s campy tone

A slight hint of Fuyubachi’s sadness

So they create nooses up in a mountain

And of course the branch breaks and they go tumbling down the mountain

And we see Zebra was gay, and had a lover. More context

“Don’t leave me behind! I don’t want to be alone!” These characters are all extremely loveable

apparently the last member of their online group, FOX, was the Shonen Bat impersonator. Not surprising

And this also points to how everyone has their own story

“If he comes to people who are driven into a corner, he should have come to us long before now.” What else might that mean, Fuyubachi?

Oh my god, now they’re all chasing Shonen Bat so he’ll kill them. Amazing

I love how they use the classic Shonen Bat music to set up this joke

Fuyubachi has some kind of disease – when he doesn’t take his pill, he suffers vertigo and momentary delusions

10 thoughts on “Paranoia Agent – Episode 8

  1. I’m surprised you didn’t make note of it, but the big reveal at the end of the episode (when they jump into the picture) is that they’re all ghosts. That’s why they can’t die. If you watch carefully, you’ll see they don’t have any shadows. That also explains why the pills they overdosed on didn’t seem to work, they died when the building they were in was destroyed. You even see them lying on the ground stacked like corpses right afterwards.

  2. It was pretty hard to tell when the three of them met their end the 1st time I saw this, but upon rewatch I noticed that the three of them had shadows up until the bulldozer smashed through the wall.

    • ^Seems someone already brought this up. Not really much else to say then other then how this and the 10th episode make for some of the strongest vignettes I’ve seen in anime. I don’t quite agree that this works well as a standalone since some context is needed for at least a basic understanding of what Shonen Bat is (or what people think he is).

  3. I think it took me two watches to get the twist, while it took me more to understand the Kon’s sly joke about where the episode title was at the very end.

  4. This is my favorite episode out of Paranoia Agent and I even consider one of the best stand-alone episode anime out there. I was strongly disagree with you when you said last week that Satoshi Kon hated his characters; but this episode, plus couple episodes towards the end, Tokyo Godfathers and even the ending of Millennium Actress and Paprika give my heart warm every time. He did care for his characters, so to say he disliked his characters was a big understatement.

  5. and this episode makes me cringe all the time… There’s the whole thing beneath the surface here, and each watch deepens the story further. Satoshi Kon was genius.

  6. God damnit. I have to re-watch Paranoia Agent, entirely because of you. Thanks. (at least half-sincere)

  7. This is my absolute favourite episode! It’s simply delightful and has that Twilight Zone kind of ending that manages to be creepy and heartwarming at the same time. Strap for a ride now because next week’s episode is probably the craziest yet, and then we have Cnenabvn Ntrag: Fuvebonxb Rqvgvba (rot13’d for your safety from spoilers, if you care about that).

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