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For a show that usually dealt in 30-foot vacuum cleaners with angry eyes and bald guys in off-color Piccolo costumes, Futari wa Pretty Cure sure threw in some creepiness from the villains. Kiriya infiltrating the school was bad enough, and Poisony's various disguises earned her a special place in Cartoon Hell (particularly when she impersonated Honoka very effectively, and was foiled only because she slightly misspoke and Nagisa caught it), but the worst of all—and the king of Paranoia Fuel — would have to be the three Seeds. The scenes of them remembering their real identities are quite disturbing, and serve to underscore the idea that, until that point, they thought they were ordinary people. Translated to kid language: Forget being attacked by monsters — you might be a monster.
7 Seeds: You're in a post-apocalyptic world, no idea how much time actually passed since you were cryogenically frozen to survive the disaster, you have to survive and you see ruins of cities or shelters. Is someone in there? Are they alive? Is there a chance that you can survive in this world?
Sociopathic Mad Scientist Mayuri Kurotsuchi reveals that he put spy-bacteria in one of the heroes. Think about that for a moment. A literal "bug" that can never be detected — no symptoms — and thus, can't be eliminated. He sees and hears everything the infected person does. And there's nothing that can be done about it.
The Big Bad has the power of complete hypnosis. What this means is that once someone has seen him release his sword, even once, he can completely control what they see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Think about that. You could just walk past the guy on the street one day... and from that moment, he has taken complete control of your mind, and you wouldn't even be able to tell. What's more, it has been shown repeatedly that the reader cannot see through his illusions unless he lets you. It would seem that anyone who reads the manga or watches the anime is already under his control. Does this world even exist? Does this wiki exist? Is this all an illusion created to further Aizen's plan? There is no way to know.
Aizen later claims that he's been watching Ichigo since the day he was born. Ichigo quickly goes Shut Up, Hannibal!, but he's rightfully unnerved. It turns out Aizen wasn't lying, he was there when Ichigo's parents met, and he's the reason they met in the first place.
The Shinigami are invisible to normal humans. They could be sitting next to you, watching what you do and deciding if you are a potential threat. They might be influencing your life their way to raise you the way they want. It's happened. Oh, and if you catch sight of them, they can modify your memories so that your closest friends might think you're crazy.
Congratulations! Hollows also fit the criteria above but they have no sapience and no cunning. No, they are Always Chaotic Evil and act on their instinct. An instinct to kill, that is. They could kill you in your sleep, taunt you, or stalk you without you knowing. Those Shinigami we mentioned? Oh, they're not that reliable. And you yourself might become one when you die due to some Shinigami not sending to Soul Society in time. Let's not go into Arrancar, shall we?
People affiliated with X-Cution. One of them, Shukuro Tsukishima, has the power of rewriting people's memories. You've been away for few hours... and once you come back home, you find your loved ones (sisters, friends, boss) all under his control. And you can't call him out on anything, lest your brainwashed loved ones may think YOU are the bad guy. Brrrrrrr! Nicely summed up here:
" Aizen made you think you lost your friend. Bookman actually takes your friends. Makes them do a lap dance. Then they ask you what's wrong while the tassels are spinning."
Ginjo claims that the Substitute Shinigami badge that Ukitake gave Ichigo was actually a device used to monitor him and suppress his powers, which would explain why Ichigo's powers fluctuate. Ukitake was the mastermind of a plot to use Ichigo as a pawn and then kill him if he steps out of line or outlives his usefulness. Even if Ginjo was lying, it's still very unsettling.
Guenael Lee is known as "The Vanishing Point", because he can instantly disappear from your sight and memory at will. He can be right next to you and you won't notice until he allows you to.
D.Gray-Man has Akuma. They are souls of the dead who wear the body of the person who asked the Millennium Earl to revive them. This means that anyone can be killed and worn by an Akuma, with no outward signs. Only Allen Walker can tell who's an Akuma and who isn't. To make matters worse, even the weakest ones are Immune to Bullets, and the stronger start the trip to Nigh Invulnerable.
The manga goes into this further when Allen's Akuma-sensing eye is injured and recovering (and thus temporarily not usable). He becomes incredibly paranoid about being attacked, not knowing just who would be an Akuma (and wearing the uniform of the Black Order, so that Akuma would know just by looking at him that he's their enemy). It's then pointed out to Allen that's exactly the kind of thing his allies in the order have to deal with all the time, since Allen is the only one able to see which are Akuma. Although later, when Allen's eye upgrades to allow his nearby allies to see what he sees, it's all but stated that said ability becomes Paranoia Fuel for others in the Black Order.
Another layer of Paranoia Fuel: every human has the potential to awaken as a Noah due to all humans carrying a bit of the blood of the original Noah.
Perfect Blue: enjoy the thought that many of your memories and experiences could actually be elaborate delusions.
Higurashi: When They Cry. Any of your friends could be suddenly possessed by the village's ancient death god and be overcome with a single-minded desire to kill you. Or worse, you could have a parasite that drives you insane, and forces you to kill your friends before doing yourself in.
Oh, and is your throat itching? And that's just Onikakushi.
Watanagashi is even worse. Here we have the main character perform an act that is considered a grievous crime against the local deity (sneaking into the Shrine's Tool Shed) by the townspeople. This is a day after finding out about a mysterious chain of deaths that have been happening annually for four years - which always occur on the very same night he is sneaking into the shrine (which, by the way, is stuffed to the brim with grotesque torture tools). This gets even worse towards the end of the arc; the perpetrator has been having conversations with someone he believes to be the girl who entered the Shrine with him... except she went missing the day after the crime was committed, and it was actually her twin sister (who he has reason to believe is behind the chain of deaths) he was talking to the whole time. The manga tops this royal Mind Screw off with this image.
Death Note: Your life can be ended at anytime just by having some Japanese god write your name in a notebook. Moreover, it's implied that this happens all the time. And any one of them can make it so you kill yourself. In fact, they can make you do almost anything they want for twenty-three days before you go. That doubt in the back of head, saying none of this is true? Are you sure that's what you think?
Uzumaki, anyone? In the room you are in right now, there are at least ten spirals ... wait, one in each ear, at least twenty on your fingers and toes, and untold billions in your DNA (plus the fact that you live on the edge of a galaxy-sized one)... Your brain is full of the things. Meaning that the Eldritch Abomination of the work could erase or outright control your mind at will. And it could, theoretically, do so without you or anyone else even noticing.
Claymore: Your parents, your siblings, your best friend who you've known forever, that guy/girl you secretly have a crush on...they could all be disguised Youma and you wouldn't even be able to tell until five seconds after it starts eating you.
The Stands have a lot of Paranoia Fuel potential. First off, they're invisible to muggles if they're not bound to something physical, so anyone without one is helpless. Second, a number of them have some truly paranoia-inducing powers. One is Hanged Man, who can kill you by attacking your reflection in any reflective surface. Mirrors, metallic car parts, coins, buttons, retinas...
Even Sailor Moon wasn't exempt from this. So there are all these really creepy villains drawn in this weird realistic style that want to steal your life force... and they can look just like anybody. To a 6-year-old, that is terrifying.
Watch the S or the Stars seasons of the anime, which are chock full of creepy scenes and Paranoia Fuel, especially Kaolinite's Daimons, which make inanimate objects turn against you and rip your heart (crystal) out of your chest, and you'll understand.
The Infinity Arc of the manga notes that and retaliates with its daimons that can hide/be incubated in any living thing (from cats to humans) without anyone noticing, and burst out said host as a boneless hideously misshappen thing with fangs as long as your hand.
If you watched Episode 2 of Thriller Restaurant, you better think twice before you order flounder for dinner again.
The first anime gives us Sloth, who can turn into water and kill people. Or spy on people. Or spy on people and then kill them.
In both versions, we have the true identity of Fuhrer King Bradley. He seems like a pretty cool guy, a wise, tough as nails war hero and all that...and then, his eyepatch falls off. And reveals an ouroborus tattoo etched on his eye. The leader of the country is a homunculus. To put it into perspective, it's pretty much like finding out that the president of the United States was a member of The Illuminati all along.
There's a manga series called The Horror Mansion that's a big anthology of short horror stories. After reading the story "Cursed Water," you will never want to scratch an itch ever again.
Code Geass provides Paranoia Fuel in the form of Mao, an insane mind-reader with the moral sensibilities of a six-year-old boy. He's Not Good with People, but if he takes any interest in you, he will dig through your head and read all your thoughts, and if he sees anything he doesn't approve of, he'll Mind Rape and kill you. Anytime he wants!Everybody has unpleasant thoughts or urges they may not even notice (including you). And if you have any real skeletons in your closet, may God help you!
How about the idea that your classmate is a terrorist that can make you do anything he wants, even if its against your very nature.
In Naruto, Zetsu can fuse with any natural surface and emerge from anywhere, completely untraceable, which means any place outdoors is dangerous. Later it turns out he can release a bunch of undetectable spores which grow into freakish duplicates of himself by clinging to people's bodies and leeching off their Life Energy and transform himself or one of his copies into an almost perfect copy of anyone he touches.
The Enigma of Amigara Fault. Human-shaped holes in the wall could unexpectedly and (for unexplained reasons) just show up one day on a cliffside after an earthquake. Odd enough right there. But, now you can't help but be utterly fascinated by these human-shaped holes. And, then you see one that looks exactly like you...And, you can't help but want to see what happens if you walk inside. Drr...Drr...
Ghost Stories: The whole series is full of paranoia fuel ghost stories, especially the one with the headless motorcyclist, for a specific reason... you'll understand it when you watch it completely. Just keep a scarf handy IRL.
Even if you do watch it in English, you're not immune. Sure the dialogue is more tongue-in-cheek, but the characteristics of the ghosts and the terror they cause remain largely intact.
In Karakuridouji Ultimo, the occupations of the Evil doji masters are startling. Among them are a music producer, a cute little girl, an elementary school teacher, a pro golfer, and the hero's best friend. They all look pretty normal, but they control supremely destructive robots that can blow up the entire world.
The pure good robot, Ultimo himself, is a fair source of it as well. He's probably just as destructive as the bad guys.
Paranoia Agent: Designed to produce as much of this fuel as possible, both in-universe and real life. Lil'Slugger is a fictional character that a girl blames her assault on. He turns out not to be real, but people keep using him as an excuse anyway. Just by believing in him, Lil' Slugger becomes real, and he feeds off excuses. Got a problem? Lil' Slugger will help, you wanted your head smashed in, right? Also, he can appear anywhere, at any time, and you can't stop him because he's not technically real.
Hellsing. It might not be that obvious, but this series is oozing with Paranoia Fuel. Consider its three prominent organizations:
The titular Hellsing organisation is surprisingly less paranoia-inducing, as their operations appear to be limited in Great Britain, but the sole fact that they can send someone like Alucard anywhere is quite scary.
To top it all off, it's a tough world for Muggles in this universe if they're not Badass Normal. If they catch a vampire's fancy and happen to be a virgin, the vampire is not above raping them before turning them into a ghoul, and it is implied that virgin blood is desirable and they might just end up as dinner. If you aren't a virgin and are turned, you become a mindless ghoul under the vampire's command and will go after any humans, including your loved ones, if not put out of your misery. Hope that the vampire who finds you isn't going on a bloody rampage and will just shoot you in the head instead of slowly crushing your head with their foot until it explodes from the pressure.
What Albert Maverick did to Barnaby in Tiger & Bunny is pure Paranoia Fuel for anyone who has ever been raised by foster parents. The people who (apparently) loved and cared for you? They're manipulative bastards who only ever saw you as a tool to fulfill their own agendas. And while people in Real Lifeprobably don't have Psychic Powers that rewrite memories, there are still plenty of ways to manipulate a child.
Mai-HiME doesn't trumpet it, but it's there if you look for it. How do you know someone is really all they seem? That alluring redhead?note Nao She wants your money, and not in the gold digger sense. That handsome chapnote Reito is (a vessel for) the Big Bad. That adorable choristernote Alyssa is a key figure of an Ancient Conspiracy. The goofy, somewhat dorky teachernote Ishigami is part of a conspiracy, and he's willing to cause the death of his bosses as well as virtually anyone who, whether wittingly or willingly, is in the way of his plan, except for the one person he needs in order to succeed. The kindly priest with an adopted daughternote Joseph and Miyu is actually an evil scientist and his Robot Girl creation. So on and so forth. Ironically, the Knowledge Broker/Mysterious Informant, traditionally a shady figure, is one of the most trustworthy people in the series.
And there's the idea that one of your friends might be a Magical Girl of some sort without your ever realizing it. If you're most important to them, you'll die if they're defeated, possibly without ever understanding why. If not, there's a possibility that they might snap and kill you for the sake of the person who is most important to them. Outside of the extreme cases, Yukino, one of the relatively well-adjusted Himes, once tried to kill Mai in response to a threat on her and her most important person Haruka's lives.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Witches are everywhere and they are responsible for suicides. Whats worse, they are completely invisible to normal humans until you wander into their lair, wherein you will be killed in a most horrific way. That friend of yours online that just killed herself? Could have been because of a witch. Wanna take that shortcut through the alleyway? Could walk right into a witch's lair. You are never safe.
Also, once the true nature of Kyubey comes out, the implications are nightmarish. He's working towards postponing an event that will happen after the Sun reaches its end, consumes the Earth and cools down. He's driven by logic, lacks emotions and is 100% dedicated to his goal no matter what. He was present on Earth for millennia. He's a sort of hive mind capable of creating new bodies out of thin air. His influence is such that his kind seems responsible for lifting humanity out of the stone age. And yet, this nightmarish entity has a quota to fulfill, suggesting he's relatively low ranked in his own race. Kyubey himself easily terrifies people. Think of what that says about his superiors. Alternatively, maybe his race found out that the heat death of the universe will be much sooner than we think. But their way of fixing it suggests very, very bad things for us in the name of the greater good.
The paranoia is driven further if you have a (read: younger sister, female cousin, younger female neighbor, younger female friend, girlfriend, etc.). Why have they suddenly become so distant and depressed lately, even though they've had their dreams come true? Why do they go out and then return home late at night with mysterious injuries? Here's why: They may have contracted with Kyubey or one of its "associates", which means that no matter what, that poor girl (or perhaps even you, if you're female and were either gullible or desperate enough to make a contract), will inevitably corrupt and become one of the aforementioned Witches.
Gen Urobuchi's follow-up work, Psycho-Pass is not much better in terms of safety. By about the 22nd century, people's minds can be quantified by the all-seeing authorities, which means they can detect "criminal tendencies" in everyone's mind. Perhaps even yours. If you're rated as a "latent criminal" but lucky, you might have an opportunity as a special police officer tasked with tracking down criminals. If you're unlucky, you're summarily executed by a futuristic gun that turns you into a Pink Mist. But Wait, There's More!! People's criminal tendencies can transfer to other people as well! So if, say, you're a woman and get raped by someone, your contact with him may get you eligible to be "misted" as well!
In Ghost in the Shell a talented hacker can hack peoples brains. What this means is they can control anything your brain controls; your muscles, your sensory organs, even your memories. So imagine going about your daily business and finding out that wife and kid you loved so much never existed, or that government agents or terrorists are spying on you using your own eyes and ears.
In the case of the behelits and the sacrificial ceremony, you aren't sacrificed because you are detested or hated (at least not entirely): you're sacrificed because you are considered to be the most beloved and cherished person to the behelit owner. The whole sacrificial rite can pretty much be summed up as the powers of love and friendship being drunk on terror.
And just to top it off, even after a person sacrifices one beloved person and becomes a nigh-invulnerable apostle, there might come a time where they are weakened and must renew their lives again with another sacrifice. So if your new BFF has this weirdegg-shaped stonelaying around, our best advice: RUN.
Another: you can't run, you can't hide. You can't take the elevator, you can't take the stairs. Because every little thing could quite possibly kill you, no matter what you do. The anime's oppressive atmosphere does not help this matter at all. Even worse is that the curse is not limited to the students of Class 3A but to family members related by two degrees of separation, so even if you make it out through the day w/o any incident you could make it home to find out that your parent or sibling has died or get a phone call saying one of them has been in an accident.
Yu-Gi-Oh!: A friendly game with a stranger suddenly turns into a fight for your life. And god have mercy on your soul should you decide to cheat or quit.
Deadman Wonderland: You've been flawlessly framed for mass-murder, to the point that your girlfriend's father, whom you've known for your whole life, has to be restrained from beating you to death on the spot to avenge her death. Ditto for the parents of your other 28 classmates. You're the only surviving witness to the crime, and no one believes you. Your lawyer is part of the frame-up. In prison, you are forced to fight for your life with the guards actively trying to kill you, while you have to earn enough money to buy medicated candies every three days to counteract the poison they're pumping into your neck, and they're not cheap, so you have no choice but to volunteer for deadly competitions in order to come up with the money. Your new girlfriend is a Forgotten Childhood Friend- forgotten because you repressed the memories of the cruel experiments you saw performed on her, but the truly horrifying part is that while this girl keeps saving your life, she is actually the one who committed the mass-murder you were framed for.
Attack on Titan: Say you live in a walled city. Outside are a race of man-eating giants who want nothing more than to exterminate all of humanity. But good thing the wall’s over three times higher than any known Titan... until one day the Colossal titan (even taller than the wall) arrives and smashes a hole in one of the perimeter walls. Titans flood in and wreck havoc. Okay, so you’ve escaped the massacre with your two best friends and the three of you are now training in the military. You’re going to kill every last one of those titans... only, wait, what? There’s spies? Okay, but you trust your squad, right? No way any of them could betray you, right? Yes, they can. Think you can spot them? Well, unless you feel like accusing your mentor, the resident Extreme Doormat, and the friggin' Team Dad...