Paranoia Agent is a Japanese anime television series created by director Satoshi Kon and produced by Madhouse.
The brilliance of this anime begins from its title, Paranoia Agent as it fits the story perfectly. Paranoia Agent, any agent which is causing paranoid activities, usually involving mental conditions on an extreme point where it’s difficult to differentiate what is real and what is not.
So, the anime starts with a brilliant scene, with peoples lying and tricking others for one’s convenience. The main character of the anime, Tsukiko Sagi is a normal looking girl who is the creator of popular character Maromi.
Her popularity is shown as her own disadvantage as she is pressurized to create another character who can be as successful as Maromi. The cornered and frustrated Sagi is then attacked with a baseball bat by a young boy. The attacker is nowhere to be found and thus the story develops as the rumors about the attacker start to spread.
The anime is a whole ride to the insides of the world of insanity or paranoia.
The brilliance of this anime is that Tsukiko Sagi, the main character doesn’t appear in every episode but her influence is shown in every episode, the characters who have no relation with Sagi at all also, at last, connect to her.
Each episode in this anime introduces a new character, characters might be obsessed, greedy, suffering from identity crisis, cornered, frustrated, wanting to start a new life and the anime shows that all these characters have one thing common in them which is, that they are all attacked by the same attacker, who is now named as “Shonen Bat”.
But, that’s not the only common thing in them, another common thing in this attacked character is that they are cornered and they are not ready to accept the reality and are trying to run away from it.
The rumor about Shonen Bat keeps on growing, it’s funny how it gets exaggerated to the point that, people say that, Shonen Bat has golden eyes and can enter through walls.
Who is a shonen Bat and why does he attack people who are cornered? The Shonen Bat is everywhere but he is also nowhere.
Another brilliance of this anime is how it leaves so much of space for viewer’s interpretation but also gives viewers a new perspective of the situation.
But the main brilliance of the anime is its last episode where a mind of an insane is shown, people have come to a point where they can no longer differentiate if it’s reality or imagination. The guilt, guilt of lying, burdens of some hidden truths haunt people and they go paranoid. Insanity is contagious, every incident is an incident by Shonen Bat, every victim is the victim of Shonen Bat.
Is Shonen Bat a demon or is he just an excuse for people to run away from reality? Is Shonen Bat paranoid or is he a mere paranoia agent?
The brilliance of the anime Paranoia Agent is that Shonen Bat doesn’t exist, he is just a character like Maromi, created by Sagi and used by peoples for their own benefits. It’s all in the mind and Sagi is not a victim of Shonen Bat but of her own illusive mind which is mind-bending.
I believe everyone should watch this epic thriller anime, it’s a masterpiece, a true art since it’s not an anime you watch and forget, it’s an anime which haunts you and forces you to think.
An anime which scares you that you might be the next victim of Shonen Bat, after all, Shonen Bat doesn’t live among us, it lives inside us, in our minds.
I loved how delusional the anime was with hints all over here and there. Our mind is much more than we know and this anime clearly captures the psychology. This mind-bending work of Satoshi Kon is truly a piece of art.