Paranoia Agent – Episode 13

Yeah, this is how you end a series. Paranoia Agent’s finale completely discarded any ambiguity regarding the reality-versus-fantasy questions of the series proper, instead just directly embracing its fantasy leanings in order to create one of the most dramatically satisfying conclusions I’ve ever seen. Pretty much everything in this finale was perfect, from the gorgeous, heartrending conclusion to Keichi’s arc to the thematically thunderous finale of Sagi’s story. This was the ambiguous but optimistic closer Paranoia Agent needed, broadcasting Kon’s anger and desire to make people embrace the hard knocks of life as loud as it possibly could. Kon fucking hates artifice, and through this finale, Paranoia Agent established itself as a screeching ode to truth and sincerity. God damn. What a great show.

You can check out my full writeup over at ANN, or my notes below!

Paranoia Agent

Keichi and Sagi walking through the dream world

“This is his town. The place where he can be happiest.”

“Shonen Bat will never come here” says a street vendor. Everyone stares at them

Great cross-cut back to the real world, where a black sludge is consuming everything

Swarming out of televisions, swarming over the people checking their phones, like the very first shot of the show

“Nothing matters.” Keichi’s given up on everything

And then Mitsuhiro breaks through on a TV screen

“The minds of the people who depended on Maromi emotionally have let Shonen Bat grow infinitely larger!”

Ah, it was because of Tsukiko’s carelessness that the dog died. There we go

And Keichi accepts the applause of the people for helping them ignore reality

And then ignores his wife’s presence, getting drunk instead

All the people here treat Sagi as a little girl, which was essentially her “escape” in the real world – a sense of dependency, not being relied on by anyone

Misae, Keichi’s wife, has broken into the fantasy. Her strength is bringing him back to reality, even as she lies in the hospital

Maromi wants her to go away

And now Sagi has been reduced to being his daughter, with the actual dog Maromi. Living out a fantasy of happiness

“That’s right, I wanted a daughter. I didn’t get along with my father. I thought it’d be sad to have a son just to be disliked by him, just like I did my dad.” Jeez this is a good moment

“A makeshift salvation is nothing but deception.” Ah, I see. We’re finally getting the full versions of those scenes, as hammer-hits waking Keichi back up to the reality he’d come to accept. This actually retroactively improves episode 11

“No matter how hard it is, don’t run away, and we’ll overcome it together!”

HOLY SHIT THIS FIRST HALF FINALE. The sound design is absolutely wonderous here – the tinkling music replaced by the steady tone of the flat heartbeat monitor, replaced as he says “who are you calling father” by that triumphant embracing reality music

“But this is your home!” “What are you talking about, you stupid dog? My home went away long ago. The reality is I have no place to call home!” And he firmly, defiantly embraces reality

His universe was made up of all Maromis. Now the real world is a disaster area

“Stop that, Maromi!” Tsukiko let you die!

The original Shonen Bat was created to make her seem like the victim when she accidentally let Maromi get hit by a car

“No matter how big you grow, you’re nothing but a deception!” he says, as he himself embraces the fantasy

Welp, now Maromi’s consumed by the Shonen Blobmonster, moaning at Sagi to run

“All this for a puppy. What kind of world do we live in?” lol Keichi

And everyone is swallowed up

Sagi sees her past self, and this time, she takes responsibility for her failure to help Maromi. A tragic little scene, preventing the birth of Shonen Bat

Shonen Bat is the villain all of us see in an unkind world, one who eventually takes responsibility for our actions away. He is a fiction, but he can become incredibly powerful if we let him, and if we grow dependent on the peace he brings

Keichi reaches the surface: “this is just like right after the way”

Tons of shots this episode that mirror the premier – the broken skyline, once ominous and impersonal

And now we’re getting more echoes of the first shots. The people crossing the street with the radio beneath

“Fmeow” is the new harmless soma character

And this time it’s a white-haired Mitsuhiro taking the old man’s place

5 thoughts on “Paranoia Agent – Episode 13

  1. I was always under the impression that Tsukiko let go of her dog because she was having (her first?) menstrual cramps. As a sort of “accepting the literal Pain of Adulthood” metaphor type thing.

    I’m glad to see you liked the show, though! Paranoia Agent was my favorite Kon work for a long time before I managed to find a copy of Millennium Actress.

    • Yeah, I’ve heard that explanation a few times now, and it makes total sense. That’s almost certainly what they were going for.

  2. Is there a reference for the term “soma character”? I can’t seem to find anything with Google.

    • Soma is the name of the drug used to keep the common people happy and complacent in Brave New World. I sometimes use it to describe any “opiate of the people”-style idea.

  3. Hello bobduh

    I was wondering about your thoughts about absurdism being a integral part of what each character expirence throughout the anime

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