Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Paranoia Agent Complete Box Series Box Set
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Running Time:325 mins
Audio: English and Japanese 2.0
Release Date: Out Now
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes

Tsukiko Sagi, a Character Designer leaves work one night and instead of getting the bus or train decides to walk. This is a bad move for her as she runs into a mysterious stranger who lashes out at her with a baseball bat.

In Hospital two police officers come to Tsukiko, creator of Muromi, her latest plushie creation, and when they ask her questions about the incident, she can only remember certain things and that he was a sixth-grade kid who wielded a golden baseball bat he clubbed her with that night.

One of them believes there was a similar case before to the one which happened recently, and the rumour running around the city is the story of a kid called Lil' slugger who travels the streets on inline skates with a baseball cap and crooked bat, but the cops just thought it was originally just a rumour and nothing more until now as Tsukiko was so vague in her answers.

When a second assault takes place, and it ends up being a guy trying to help the police, they know they have a serial attacker on their hands.

Paranoia Agent is an eerie and terrifying anime series that depicts society as it is in modern day Japan. It tells of the pressures of the young who grapple with the tradition in a modern society of change and new technology. But there is also the pressure of young people to conform in society, work extremely hard even before and after school and the stress it eventually causes.

This anime enlightens the viewer to several points of interest about Japan's less nice side. The depression through stress, mental illness which is not talked about in polite circles, suicide and paranoia in the everyday world which disturbingly causes a type of antisocial behaviour in people. Usually the young who commit violent acts to others, often without a reason. These types are known in Japan as Hikikomori who stay in their rooms and normally have no casual friends and spend their time on computers harbouring grudges against people secretly.

The character in this anime, Lil' Slugger, is shown only in silhouette at the beginning, and for good reason. He is seen wielding his crooked baseball bat at young Tsukiko Sagi, and it affects her life in this dark take far removed from the usual anime fare of school children and humorous fun prevalent in the genre. It is haunting in many places, as the characters in this are suffering in their own way as life is so fast paced, and having to understand what is going on in a strange and varied country as theirs.
The darkness of this series will make the viewer more eager to watch the whole thing through.

Bonus Material: Episode 1 storyboard (multi angle), Satoshi Kon Interview, Creditless Opening and Closing Japanese animations, Art Gallery, Audio Commentary by Satoshi Kon, Seishi Minakami and Satoki Toyoda (on all three episodes) create a superb viewing experience.

Verdict: A disturbing, noir piece. Thrilling in every way.

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