Reviews: Paranoia Agent

Excellent, but Limited by the Format

Paranoia Agent is another great work by Satoshi Kon, and is definitely worth watching.

The animation is just as good as any of his other works, despite having the lower budget of a 13-episode anime. The pacing for individual episodes is fantastic, and the surreal elements are intriguing and help to intensify the overarching mystery. It has good visuals, good music, well-executed set ups and pay offs that make more sense on a second viewing.

However, when looking at the anime as a whole, some problems crop up. The show often takes the focus off of the main characters to show the supporting and minor casts' problems and eventual encounter with Lil' Slugger. Not to mention the three episodes before the climax, which feels like Filler. The lack of development for the major cast makes it hard to emotionally connect with them, and sometimes it feels like you know the supporting cast better just because previous episodes showed how they lived and behaved in their daily routine. Each episode doesn't string together very smoothly, so the progression of the plot feels bumpy.

Personally, I feel like these problems arise from the difference between writing for a two hour movie and a much longer anime series. If Paranoia Agent was a movie, the focus wouldn't be allowed to move as much, and the little we know about the characters would be enough to keep interest (compare to Kon's other works). In a movie, the entire film can go off of one set up, whereas in an anime series, each episode needs a new set up (or topic).

All-in-all, this is an excellent story that feels either too long or too short to properly accommodate the potential it has.

Proper character development was sorely missing.

The series seriously felt like it should have been about twice as long. The anthology format, with the repeated breaks away from the main characters, made it really hard to connect and feel some proper Character Development; personally, this was somewhat disappointing, as it would not allow to connect to the story on a deeper emotional level, despite the individual stories being superbly crafted. But, again, thatís just me.
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