Head-bending series in true Kon Satoshi style
I am a Kon Satoshi devotee. I never know quite where he is going to take me, and I rarely understand what happened even when I reach that destination, but it is always a hell of a ride.
“Paranoia Agent” is Kon’s first attempt at an ongoing series. The plot was stitched together out of left-over ideas he had from his feature films, like Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers, ideas that he liked but couldn’t figure out how to fit them into the various movies. Working with the extended length of a television series, Kon was able to explore and expand on all of these ideas, fitting them into an over-arching plot.
The series has an ensemble cast, each with a complete story arc. Sagi Tsukiko is a young female character designer who has created the wildly popular character Maromi. An introspective and lonely girl, Sagi is the first to encounter the phenomenon known as Shonen Bat, a roller-skating punk with a crocked golden baseball bat who strikes those who have come to a desperate point in their lives. Detectives Ikari Keiichi and Maniwa Mitsuhiro try to hunt down the attacker, but find themselves drawn into a mysterious world beyond understanding.
“Paranoia Agent” is very much a Kon Satoshi series, and if you like his stuff then you are going to love this. All of his favorite themes are on display such as duality (Chono Harumi is a girl with a split personality. One a nice, sweet office lady, the other an aggressive and sexy prostitute.), identity (Detective Maniwa gets drawn so far into the plot he loses himself to become the super-hero Radar Man), real vs. unreal (the character Maromi seems innocent enough at first…). It is nice that Kon had the extra length to play with all of these themes, and while some of the episodes seem like interludes every single second of screen time is worth watching.