This is a review written for Reverse Thieves’s Secret Santa event. I must wonder if Lostty wanted me to loathe myself or something during this season of high consumerism, recommending both Paranoia Agent and NHK ni Youkoso!. It was great, thanks.
By the beloved Satoshi Kon whose passing is still a recent memory, Paranoia Agent is a show I’ve had on my mental “to watch” list for a great number of years now, mostly in its reputation as one of those “DEEP” shows that were localized and dubbed for the US in the early 2000’s. It, and other examples of this like Serial Experiments Lain and Boogiepop Phantom, generally enjoy a very healthy reputation for being very purposefully off-kilter–experimental, even–at the risk alienating a more general audience. To prioritize your vision over marketability, is perhaps how one would describe it.
This is as opposed to other shows that can be said to have a vision, which are not quite so experimental and instead seek its thesis in lieu of much more conventional forms of entertainment, recent examples being anime such as Mawaru Penguindrum with its heavy plot suspense and cliffhangers or Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica‘s use of rock solid profit staples such as cute girls, popular voice actors, etc. Rather, shows such as Paranoia Agent and et al often seek to approach its issues in such an obtuse fashion to make a challenge and draw attention to itself, risking broad appeal. It’s an opportunity for putting a lot of unusual ideas to work but really does risk excess that’s ultimately not a good thing. Continue reading