“Paranoia Agent” is a Japanese TV anime series created by the chief director Satoshi Kon, who had been known as the director of the anime films “Perfect Blue” (1997), “Millennium Actress” (2001), and “Tokyo Godfathers” (2003), produced by Madhouse, and aired on the satellite channel WOWOW in 2004.
It is a psychological suspense that deals with a social phenomenon caused by a series of phantom assaults as the subject matter, and depicts the darkness of mind in contemporary Japanese society with sardonic humor.
The original story by Satoshi Kon. Series composition by Seishi Minakami. Character design by Masashi Ando. Music by Susumu Hirasawa. Animation produced by Madhouse. The chief director is Satoshi Kon. 13 episodes.
Tukiko Sagi is a designer living in the City of Musashinominami in Tokyo, and working at a planning/design company named M&F in Shibuya. Though she has been famous as the creator of “Maromi”, a popular “healing” character like a dog, she cannot come up with an idea for her new work, and she feels overwhelmed by the people around her who are envious of her success, or expect too much from her.
One night, she is attacked by an unknown person on her way home. She gives the police a statement that a boy wearing golden Rollerblades attacked her with a dogleg metal bat. Two detectives in the local precinct, Keiichi Ikari and Mitsuhiro Maniwa start investigating the case.
Ikari suspects that she faked the case, but a variety of people, such as an elementary school boy, a university laboratory assistant, and a senior police officer working at a police box, are attacked one after another by the unidentified assailant called “Lil’ Slugger”.
Maniwa finds all the victims have in common that each one had been driven into a corner in each situation. Ikari and Maniwa try to seek the truth behind the case, but they cannot find any clues. The phantom of “Lil’ Slugger” starts spreading through the media and false rumors.
“Paranoia Agent” is a psychological suspense masterpiece that depicts a fight against a delusion as the defense mechanism to heal trauma, or as a gimmick to escape from reality.
The series incorporates a relay system in which a supporting character in an episode becomes the central character in the next episode.
The series contains three parts: the first part (from the 1st to the 7th episodes) is a mysterious story about a series of incidents related to “Lil’ Slugger”. The middle part (from the 8th to the 10th episodes) consists of side stories like interludes. The last part (from the 11th to the 13th episodes) is the concluding part of the main story.
The series is characterized by that it maintains its humorous tone throughout the whole series, though it deals with social issues, such as bullying in schools, illegal prostitution, double personality or dissociative identity disorder, crimes committed by cops, family breakdown, and Internet suicide pact.